Wednesday 28 November 2012

Doom and Gloom

Despite the post title and the miserable weather, I am feeling far less doom-laden than last Sunday.

 All I needed was some sleep, a spot of chazzing, and a self-administered metaphorical kick up the backside, and I feel right as rain.

Of which there has been plenty.

My lovely friend Amber asked in this post whether her readers were wearing anything with particular associations yesterday, as she sported her chicken skirt, a rallying call to health for her one of her beloved hens.

I commented that I was wearing this outfit.

Its significance?

The paisley maxi skirt was bought from a vintage fair around the time I started this blog. It featured in an early blog post and remains one of my favourite items of clothing.

The suede jerkin was a recent gift from darling Lucy, who started out as a blog buddy, but who has become a real life texting, emailing, meeting-up-in-person friend.

Lucy suggested a fitting post title might be Jerkin Off. I wanted to use this so badly but feared it would result in some unsuitable traffic to my blog...

 Jerkin Never Off might be more appropriate, I've worn it 3 days in a row!

The clutch bag and the enamel brooch on the hat are gifts from my yet-to-meet friend Joni, but as she wrote on the card she enclosed in the parcel, one day we shall meet!

And because I would never have used the word jerkin before I knew her (I would probably have said long waistcoat, but jerkin is so much better), gorgeous Vix's influence is in the mix too.

Yeah, you'd better hold onto your hat, influences and inspirations from fellow bloggers are everywhere!

An Amber-style leg shot proves the point.

1970s Co-op Crimplene maxi skirt - vintage fair
1960s suede jerkin - gift from Lucy
Knit top, bangles and hat - charity shops
Boots - Ebay 
Clutch bag and brooch - gifts from Joni

While we are talking influences, the Rolling Stones' new single, Doom and Gloom, has been getting tons of airplay on Radio 2 (station of choice these days...) and I like it.

It sounds like Rocks by Primal Scream.

Which in turn sounds like Jumping Jack Flash.

I don't particularly mind songs reminding me of other songs, it becomes a big musical puzzle of influence and homage. Or plagiarism, depending on your view! 

What you do you think?

Who are your influences?




Monday 26 November 2012

A festive fair and fabulous friends

Where would a blogger be without puns, song lyrics or alliteration for post title inspiration?

This was last Friday's outfit, described as "Bavarian" by the lollipop lady. 
Not sure about that!
But it was reasonably practical for setting up ready for the school's festive fair on Saturday.

Predictably, there were mutterings about the name Festive Fair
"Can't we call it Christmas any more then? It's political correctness gone mad!"
Actually, it was just because the graphic designer mum who does our posters found it easier to fit the word festive into her design than the word Christmas. 
No political correctness here, just a love of alliteration and an eye for a good poster layout!

1980s dress - Ebay
Waistcoat, bangle, necklace, tights - charity shops
Boots - retail (sale) 2 or 3 years ago

The fair was suitably festive, despite it being in November. Leave it until December, and the number of Christmas fairs, markets and other events makes for a very crowded schedule.

Clockwise, l-r; Gorgeous handmade goods galore, Tracey and her vintage cake stands, henna tattoos, Elodie and her stall.

Santa's grotto (before Santa arrived!)
My friend Joanne and I wrapped most of those fake presents piled up - the kids got some chocolate and a photo with Santa. (See here for last year's debate about suitable grotto gifts, and the perils of PTA membership. And to see me looking crazed in a wig, always good for a laugh...)

More perils - low winter sunshine!

Eldest did sterling work on the tombola - that's my girl!

The event went OK, despite not being as busy as last year. We made a pretty creditable £1300. 
After a hilariously tipsy session round at my mate's house counting up the takings (a lesson learnt - prosecco and accountancy are not good bedfellows), I woke up on Sunday with a thick head and a heavy heart and that flat post-event, post-booze feeling.

Do you know what I mean? 
Do you ever question the point of what you do?
I am starting to treat the organisation of these school events as my job (since I no longer have a paid one) and feeling responsible for the outcomes. 
Which is spoiling the fun of it a bit.
I think I need to stop grouching and start laughing again, don't you?

This parcel of joy cheered me up considerably!
My lovely friend Lucy, Poet of Pontypridd, sent me a fabulous vintage suede jerkin, a pretty blue dress, a great belt and funky chain, and sweeties!
Oh, and a mug with cats on, but that's in the dishwasher...

And my gorgeous bloggy twin Joni sent me a second original calligram, this time of a cat (excuse the glare, it still has the cellophane on it), and some fabulous jewellery as well as the wonderful clutch bag she offered to give away a while ago on her blog. I was cheeky enough to claim it! Won't it go perfectly with that jerkin?


See? Blogging really does make life better!
Thank you, Lucy and Joni.
Linking up with Patti and all the other Visible Monday ladies!
I am horribly behind with my blog commenting, but plan to rectify that situation, starting now!

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Give us bread, but give us roses

So I have been pondering a question - public art or public services?

In the summer, we made our annual visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where modern and contemporary sculptures are displayed in beautiful parkland. You can wander among the sheep,  the Henry Moores and other pieces, get up close and touch them, and there are changing displays and exhibitions.

It's a great place to go with kids, plenty of space for running and cavorting, and interesting quirky art to stimulate their imaginations.

I love it there.

Wearing my recycled sari skirt, a gift from darling Vix.

So here are some pics from the summer, to give you an idea of what's on offer.

We were all completely fascinated by the giant sexy rabbit ladies!

I thought Krista would like the pink shed!

The sculpture of the woman (above right, with my girls) is a Henry Moore called Draped Seated Woman, and very lovely she is too.

Henry Moore's sculpture Draped Seated Woman

Moore sold her to London City Council in the 1960s for below her value, with the intention that she should be on public display in a deprived area, and she lived in Tower Hamlets until the 1990s, when vandalism and the demolition of the estate where she was situated prompted her move to Yorkshire, Moore's home county.

Tower Hamlets now want her back, and it has been decided that the sculpture, worth up to an estimated £20m, will be sold to offset some of the council's budget cuts which will effect public services in this poor area of London.

There are numerous articles online which tell the story, including this one.

So back to my question - art or services? Sculpture or social housing?

I don't know the answer. My head says money to help vulnerable people matters more. My heart feels sad. I want there to be the funding and the will to provide both. Is that naive?

What do you think?

Is it frivolous to show you what I was wearing today?

Well, maybe. 

But I think it's possible to be an intelligent, thinking woman and still appreciate a new frock, don't you?

Late 1970s-early 80s dress - Ebay
Blue top, belt, boots, bangles, wool hat and silk scarf - charity shopped

Life would be considerably poorer without creativity, artistic expression, and giant lady bunnies.


Monday 19 November 2012

Last of the fuchsia

How was your weekend?

Hope you all had a good one.

I did some Christmas shopping, and met Santa.

And the girls were inspired by Neil Armstrong!

Littlest is quite the Space Cadet.

Today, I have taken inspiration from the very last of the fuchsia hanging on in the garden against the wind and the cold.

Love these colours!

1970s maxi dress - gift from Rock Goddess Helga
Boots - community fair
Cardigan - retail, at least 5 years old
Cape - flea market
Bangles, necklace - charity shopped.
Flowers pins - retail (sale)
I went to a little secondhand/vintage sale on Sunday, rather more in hope than expectation, but it proved to be great. I did some more gift shopping (for the vintage lovers on my list) and found some beautiful dresses.

The 1970s panne velvet maxi dress with the awesome angel sleeves is probably a keeper. I wish I could fit into the Kati at Laura Phillips floral/crochet number, but sadly it is too small, so to Ebay she must go. Same goes for the amazing purple high neck maxi.

The delightful woman I bought these from was selling all sorts of wonderful 1960-70s clothes which had all been her mother's. She remembered her mum wearing them, the Kati dress had been worn to several family weddings. 
And this was only half of the stuff her mother had kept, which now has to be disposed of. 
I will keep my eyes peeled for her next sale, and take more cash!

I'm chilly today, these cape sleeves are all well and good but they don't keep the wind out.

Linking up with on-the-move Patti again at Visible Monday.


Thursday 15 November 2012

Doing it for themselves

I am loving all the expressions of sisterhood and solidarity around at the moment.
How fabulous that so many of you subscribe to the view that since we have all get dressed in the morning, let's do it with creativity, style and individuality.

Sarah and Melanie have kicked off an epic adventure, The Travelling Yellow Skirt Freak Show, which has many of us keen to be involved.
There are connections being made, friendships developing, conversations happening, we are sharing our inspirational ideas. 

Gifts from blog buddies can be so much more than material objects.
After I got dressed this morning (you know, after the hours of preparation and planning and titivating and effort that goes into this activity every morning...) I realised I was channelling my dear friend and inspirational blogger Vix, and her fabulous description of her own style, Rolling Stones groupie!

I emailed to tell her so. 
It's not stealing if you tell, it's homage, darling.

Dreaming dreamy steamy dreams of being in the south of France with Mick and Keith and Gram Parsons et al in 1971...

On the school run, I shared the Look of the Day with the crossing lady, and had 3 people ask me where I was going "looking all posh."

South of France, 1971, hanging with The Stones and Gram, obviously...

Sometimes the blogging gifts are tangible, and that's pretty bloody great too.
Look what arrived in the post from Seattle!

My very own Joni James original!

I am on the hunt for a frame now. 

Thank you, Joni, I am more than delighted. I am art!

Here's some photographic evidence of why my clothes are always heavily accessorised by cat hair. 
Well, could you resist a cuddle with that ball of fluffy gorgeousness?

Clockhouse patchwork jacket - Ebay
1960s French-made Tricosa maxi skirt - Matlock Antiques Centre
InWear top, 1970s scarf, assorted bangles - charity shopped
Boots - community fair
Belt - retail
1970s felt hat - Chesterfield flea market
Black sparkly bangle - gift from the Goddess Helga

I had a lovely compliment from an elderly lady in a charity shop today. She was looking beautiful and extremely stylish, wearing a funky houndstooth trilby and a smart suit, and she said she liked my jacket. I replied that I thought she looked fabulous, and she told me she was 90 years old, and still enjoying her clothes, having had a lifelong love affair with fashion. 

If I can live as long, or thereabouts, and look half as amazing, and have half her joie de vivre, I will be a happy woman.
Rock on, Sisters!



Wednesday 14 November 2012

An outfit a day...

...keeps boredom at bay.

I have mentioned before that our lovely school crossing lady always likes to see what I am wearing and discuss my possible sources of inspiration. 
Or at least what my outfit reminds her of, whether it is actually what I had in mind or not!

Monday's was 1970s Street Walker. Sadly no photographic evidence, but it consisted of a short dress, over-the-knee boots and my patchwork jacket.

I know you can picture it, if you try.

Yesterday's was 1980s Animal!

These photos were taken after school at about 3.45pm.
In the time it took me to take my jacket off and rearrange myself, the light changed... this. 
Winter is going to be a photography challenge.

1980s leopard print dress - Ebay
1980s wool jacket - vintage shop
Boots, also 80s - Second to None
1970s scarf - jumble sale
Belt - retail (sale) 

On to today.

French school girl recruited to work for the Resistance.

You see it, don't you?

I will say this only once...

Velvet jacket, Gap skater skirt, sheer purple blouse, leggings, waistcoat and bangle - charity shopped
Beret - gift
Boots - as before

Is it just me (and the Lollipop Lady) who like to name their outfits? 

Surely not!

Apart from my daily outfit analysis while crossing the road at school, the other regular comment I receive while doing the school run is I don't know how you have time to get dressed up every morning.

 I am pretty sure it doesn't take me any longer to put on my clothes than it does anyone else.
A skirt and top, or a dress and a cardigan, are no more complex items than jeans and a hoodie.
I can throw on a cape or a faux fur in the time it takes to don a black anorak (ubiquitous at school, along with denim and trainers or fake Uggs.)

So I presume what the real meaning behind this question/statement is Why are you dressed up and why do you choose those clothes?

Isn't it obvious?

I can be a 1980s Animal, or A French Resistance recruit.

In an ordinary northern city, on a dull midweek day, doing mundane tasks, without anyone's permission or approval, I can be anyone, do anything.
In my imagination at least.

And because when I reach in my wardrobe, my hands meet a wild variety of colours, prints, styles, eras, fabrics, textures. Not just a repetitive uniform of conformity.

We all get dressed in the morning.  Why not enjoy it?