Friday, December 25

A very merry Christmas


A very merry Christmas
I hope you're all enjoying the holidays. I have had an indulgent Christmas day, gorging myself on sweets and playing with my presents. I was tempted to run around the house with my new bag like Estelle Getty in Golden Girls. I also played plenty with my new-old toy plane. It has a terrible safety record, crash landing even into mince pies.

Sunday, December 13

I am Stef's utter lack of blogging

I have been one lazy blogger over the past month.

I've been wearing my orange wool skirt with the knife pleat, my green skirt with the angled light green stripes and my "I really can't be bothered at all" straight cut jeans skirt a lot. I have been wearing thick black woolly tights or net tights over another pair of tights. I have been wearing black thigh boots or wellies. I don't leave the house without my green crochet-looking beret or black beret with a black and white bow on it or my thick felt hat. It's getting cold out there and I have been eating too many sweets to dare wear my more tailored clothes. Now that's what I call Christmas. :-)

As soon as I am reluctant to leave my cosy shoebox-home when not absolutely necessary I have been spending a lot of time reading.Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk for instance. It's pretty gory at times, but then Palahniuk's books are generally descriptive to say the least. Bleak, surreal and brilliant.

Looking for a book cover to show here I came across vavoom of Wonder out of Land on Polivore. Her Sets are really worth a look but I am particularly taken with her Invisible Monsters collage. I think I might just have to get a Polivore account just so I can favourite all those sets. :-)
On the right is "Love Me" also by vavoom.

Thursday, November 19

Don't eat the face mask!

Don't eat the face mask!

As soon as I indulge in my wardrobe a lot I try to make up for this extravagance by keeping my bathroom shelves free of unnecessary Product.

I'll get tempted by pretty packaging and outrageous claims as much as the next girl. After all pearl-extract sure sounds glamorous. Maybe it will magically turn me into a supermodel like the airbrushed lady with the rictus grin on TV assures me. Then again, probably not.

When I see adverts for this season's recipe for eternal youth I can't help but picture the boardroom meeting that led to the creation of just that miracle cure for all our imperfections. Remember when some smart-ass decided we ought to be brushing our tongues as well as our teeth? Comedians Mitchell and Webb envisioned that glorious moment of marketing finesse something like this:


Sure, sometimes a bit of pretty packaging can act as a pick me up but the placebo effect wears off swiftly and buyer's remorse sets in as soon as I read the list of ingredients.

Recently I've been getting amusement out of listening to skin care adverts and translating their preposterous claims into plain English. It is no surprise these commercials fall foul of advertising standards so frequently:

Whatever it is, it is sure to make your skin "appear" younger and more luminous and how about that glorious "re-plumped effect"? When I hear the word "de creased" I can't help but imagine the model taking a steam-iron to her face until it is flat as a pancake.
It is not just the preposterous pseudo-science though, looking at the frequently employed "look, we are telling the truth, see with your own eyes" before and after shots puts a lemony smirk on my face: Sad uglified super-model is invariably lit to show every last imperfection and shot at an unflattering angle to boot. Proof of the brilliance of Super-beauty-miracle-extract shows her in bright, well controlled lighting and they've changed the lens to a focal-length more suited to portraiture in between shots of course. I am not even getting into the post-production on that modern-day medicine show.

That said, here goes my glamorous skin-care regime, for that revitalized "appearance" and that 10-years-younger "feel":

I have fairly sensitive skin, so I use the best kept secret since nano-shmano particles to wash my face in the morning: Water.
Face-scrub gets a look in as and when required (usually 2-3 times a week): The soft "feel" and re plumped "effect" stems from oatmeal "technology" mixed with warm water and a little bit of sugar.
Oatmeal also holds up as a face mask pretty well when I feel like pampering myself. Just mix with warm water, leave to stand for a couple of minutes and leave to dry on your face before washing off.
At £ 4.41 my daily moisturizer (Nivea Visage Oil-free facial moisturizer) is the most expensive part of my skin care.
Fleur of Diary of a Vintage Girl recommended cold cream and distilled Witch Hazel B.P. on her blog. I only use cold cream occasionally, but the latter has been my every-day cleanser for quite a while now. It sure "helps promote healthier skin".
I'll indulge in a fragrant body lotion occasionally, but generic baby lotion works just as well.

Adventures in Pseudoscience:
The sceptic's dictionary
Salto Sobrius on the scientific breakthrough of nanosphere complex
Article in the Scotsman by Fiona McCade
Bad Science

Tuesday, November 17

The Other One

I have been looking forward to taking some creepy Doppelganger images ever since I ordered fabrics on Etsy to use as backdrops. Here are some preliminary shots. Sadly no finals today, as soon as I was so eager to get going I paid no heed to the fact that I was dead knackered and looked it too, so rather than a creepy expression my face just looks melty (or maybe a bit of both?)
I think I will re shoot these on the weekend. I was thinking it might be nice to "hold my own hand" as well as doing the old clapping game.

I am really pleased with the cotton background though, it turned out to be everything I was hoping for.


A glimpse just at the edge of your vision, a harbinger of ill-health, bad luck or even death. Just plain creepy is what it is.

There are many variations on the Doppelganger mythos, my favourite being that the Doppelganger copies you, until gradually it transforms, turning into you. Sucking the very essence of your being into itself.
This concept used to fascinate and freak me out something chronic when I was little: I'd lie awake at night wondering if I was really myself or just a copy, so immersed I'd forgotten my true identity. I'd look in the mirror struggling to recognize myself, staring at the stranger staring right back at me.

This concludes this evening's creep-fest. Have sweet dreams you all! ;-)

Sunday, November 15

Make do and mend: The hardcore edition



Make do and mend:  
The hardcore edition
It was early one autumn morning. I was seven years old, standing on a chair brushing my teeth. Mom was doing her hair when she suddenly broke out in tears. The bathroom radio was to blame for her uncharacteristic outburst: The fall of the Berlin wall had just been broadcast.

My parents actually acquired visas to travel to the GDR in the early 80s, but I was too small to remember much of this visit to relalitves. Every Christmas the Dresdner's would send Stollen (yumm.. Dresdner Stollen just has to be the best) but when I was little parcels would also include cloths my great-cousine, one year my senior, no longer fitted. A pair of blue dungarees with red buttons used to be my favourite until I in turn grew out of them.

So this year, as another anniversary of that morning passed, I had a lazy little look around the web to see what I can find out about East German fashion.

"Sybille" a fashion magazine dubbed the "East-Vogue" really stuck out for me. I was particularly taken with the work of Sybylle Bergemann featured in the magazine (see some of her fashion photography here).

In print from 1956 to 1994 Sibylle was published two-monthly but due to limited availability of paper there were never quite enough copies printed to go around and the magazine was much sought after.

Editors had to take care to taylor content to the ideology of the regime. Blue jeans for instance were seen as an embodiment of capitalism. An issue was cancelled due to the inclusion of the devilish leg wear, but in 1978 the ministry for light industry finally gave in to popular demand and ordered one million Levis jeans from the USA. No where near enough to cover demand, long queues and even brawles over the coveted garment were feared. To avoid this, they were sold in the workplace during lunch breaks rather than in regular shops.

It wasn't only jeans though, the cloths pictured in magazines were not usually available in the shops, so women took to making their own. Even so, fabrics, buttons etc weren't easy to come by and there wasn't a lot to choose from. The GDR was actually a market leader in the building of textile machinery, but these were almost exclusively exported. Fashion inspiration, tips, patterns and instructions on how to re-use and dye fabrics, came from magazines such as Sibylle, but also "Praktische Mode" (Practical Fashion) and the quarterly magazine "Guter Rat" (Good Advice).

There is lots more info out there, but I thought I'd keep it short and sweet. For more Praktische Mode covers, pay the DDR Presseshop on eBay.de a visit.



Source:
KunstMachen-das Blog (in German, but with lots of photographs)
Ostkreuz Photography Agency (in German & English)
Mode in der DDR (German)
Zwischen Weltstadt und Isolation (German)
Jeans sind eine Einstellung und keine Hose (German)
Sibylle, die Zeitschrift fuer Mode und Kultur (German)
DDR Presseshop on eBay (GDR Fashion Mags on eBay.de)

Thursday, November 12

I assure you it 's a handbag

I assure you it 's a handbag.

For a while now I have been keeping my eyes open for a light blue bag.

At first I thought I wanted it to be a kelly style bag, but when I saw this "duck egg blue" overnight case I realized my search was at an end.

Trust me, it is just masquerading as a tiny suitcase, it really is a very large handbag (I bent reality to make it so, like that time I found a really cute nighty that looked like and soon transformed into a light summer dress).





You 'd never have guessed blue is one of my favourite colours, eh? To top off the colour madness I even cycled to the blue bus stop inbetween bouts of pouring rain (it 's been taged with small pink and purple scrawls since my last visit) . Once again I am the bus stop boxer..

Dress: Lipstick Vogue
Jacket: Topshop
Tights: Primark
Bag: Cooey via eBay (there are still more available)
Shoes: Vintage K's

By the way, the first lot of cotton backgrounds I ordered arrived this morning so I am ready for lots more rain now. won't faze me a bit (I am lying of course. I get well grumped up about the wet, cold weather. Chills you right down to the bones *brrrr*).

Wednesday, November 11

Hair: The hare-brained edition


Hair: The hare-brained edition 
or: a case of not at all simultaneous invention

Yesterday evening I earned the title of 'Inventor'.
Drum roll please - moments like this only come around once in a lifetime:

Let me introduce the Hair Zapper 3000 (there has to be a number at the end, right?). The other half was all for calling it the Zappy Cappy. Trust him to poke fun at this well thought out, easy to use, absolutely SAFE device. Ahem.

Right, I was slouching on the sofa at midnight with my wet hair in curlers: Beginning to get tired I grudgingly faced up to the fact it wouldn't dry in time for bed. Late of night in a terraced house with wafer-thin walls the hair-dryer was not an option, but I really didn't fancy sleeping in curlers either. That's when the solution hit me: An electric blanket for your head.

Shaped like a bath cap, the Hair Zapper 3000 plugs into the mains and leaves your hair to dry comfortably and silently. Available in four beautiful designs (Flower Meadow pictured above) you will soon be unable to remember how you ever lived without the Hair Zapper 3000 (no liability for memory loss). Contrary to what the brand name indicates, it will only rarely zap you. Not suitable for use near pace makers.

Introductory offer includes free hand-held generator so you can move about your home freely while your hair is set silently and comfortably. Don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity. Order now!

Shortly after finalzing my amazing product I experienced what many an inventor must dread when they hit the patent office: I honestly wasn't aware that the Hair Zapper 3000 already exists and is easily available. I am decades late.

Testimonials for a Soft Bonnet anyone? It looks a bit sci-fi to me, but hey, as soon as I invented it independently I guess I should give this a try :-)

Am I the only Inventor here or have you too got patent pending on the device of the future?

Saturday, November 7

Orange


When drizzle turned into heavy rain yesterday evening I half-heartedly packed my photo bits but expected a morning spent in bed rather than in the woods. I was rather surprised to find first rays of sunlight shining through the curtains when the other half left for work at dawn.

At last another visit to the Country Park.

After taking a few pictures I returned home for coffee and then set off into town for an eye check-up. I got all excited about a new clothing super-store: Primark. I promptly treated myself to a belt and cardigan (there is no such thing as too many cardis!).

It was only on leaving Primark that I noticed Emporium 61 right next door, a new charity shop I heard about online a while ago. I didn't realize they'd been up and running for three months already. It s just as well I only found out today, turns out it 's one of those places I find impossible to leave empty handed. All things orange came home with me: A space-hopper and a skirt.

By the way, I am on weardrobe now :-)

Above:
Jumper: Mom's
Skirt: Vintage from Emporium 61
Tights: somewhere in Austria
Shoes: Vintage
Spacehopper: Emporium 61



Right:
Jacket: H&M
Brooch: Etsy
Skirt: H&M via eBay
Mask: Found

Wednesday, November 4

It is happening again.

It is happening again
When Twin Peaks was first shown it was aired well past my bed time so naturally my curiosity was piqued immediately (oh the wonderful things that must be happening after children go to sleep!).

I never did get a glimpse of it though until a decade later, when I finally stilled my curiosity and watched the box set marathon-style. It has been on my list of favourites ever since with its unique cinematographic style, saturated colour, uncanny undertones (alright, probably there is no 'under' about it) and frequent depiction of dreams and nightmares. Lynch's work has inspired many an artist, Gregory Crewdson's highly staged and uncanny tableau of suburban America to name but one.

When I think of Twin Peaks the first thing that comes to mind is the cunning Audrey Horne, but she is not the only one dancing in the town of Twin Peaks and by far not the most eccentric character either. There is the Log Lady for instance, who Anja of Clever Nettle turned into this Halloween; Nadine on her quest for perfectly silent curtain track gliders and the caffeine fueled federal agent investigating the brutal murder of a local teenage girl isn't too well balanced himself. Lynch's own character, Gordon Cole is a personal favourite.

The film-noir aspects of the series are underlined by the darkly beautiful musical score, written by Angelo Badalamenti. Sadly there are also a few horrendous vocals amongst the mainly instrumental tracks. I guess even the old masters Incorporated small imperfections in their work so as not to mock god.

And what brought on this fan-fest? Well, my blog header of course. This week the dolls house is decked out in Twin Peaks references. The owls are not what they seem..

Sunday, November 1

Fading into the Background


I have gone royally backdrop crazy.

Now that the sun is going down by the time I get home from work and weekends are reserved for rain I am getting a little photo stir-crazy. But fear not for my sanity, I have found a solution:

It all started with Mom's dollhouse. The garish living room wallpaper is etched into my brain and I am forever dreaming of finding bold, beautiful patterns like that for my shots. Sometimes I do, but reliant on public transport when the push-bike just won't do my location scouting capabilities remain limited.

However, thanks to lots of fabric browsing from behind my computer screen I 'll be decking out my living room in cotton costumes this winter.



From top left: Doll house wallpaper, Garden Maze Olive from Midwest Modern by Amy Butler, Imperial Fans in Forrest from Nigella Home Decor by Amy Butler, Bunny Damask
Hushabye by Tula Pink, Pop Garden Sway by Heather Bailey.

Saturday, October 31

Halloween


Happy Halloween!

I was all set to take some shots today, but it 's been raining all morning and I am too precious about my new camera to dare dress it in a rain coat. So instead of heading to the woods I 'been sitting on my sofa eating the 'in case kids knock the door' chocolate. Trick or treating isn't very common over here, but this year I am prepared for all eventualities. That is, if I can keep myself from sitting here like jaba the hut for the rest of the day eating it all.

Have yourself a great weekend!

Jumper: Mom's
Skirt: H&M via eBay
Belt: Asda

Sunday, October 25

Mom's Doll House


When I was little I used to have a sky-scraper of a dolls house: Most levels were built by my Dad and housed a multitude of Sylvanian families, a school, grocery and Barbie (who lived in the cellar, where the walls were tall enough for her). I always used to love playing with the house, which back in the day, was taller than me.

My Mom's old doll house made up one of the level of my sky scraper.I never paid the decor much attention, preferring my Dad's architecture. The retired school teacher bear lived in it. I used to place him in his rocking chair where he would reminisce about his early years, back when he was a sea-fairing bear.

Some weeks ago I woke up with a detailed image of Mom's doll house in my mind. Not having given it a thought in years I was suddenly itching to take photos of it. One phone call and some trips to the attic later my parents reported successful retrieval of the garishly wall-papered abode. During my visit, the three of us worked our way through boxes and boxes of beautiful furniture until I found the grey-green sofas I had been looking for. The TV was a particularly pleasing find, as soon as I had forgotten all about it.

Holding the house:
Dress: Lipstick Vogue
Shoes: Clarks

Living room
Dress: RedDressShoppe (Stop Staring)

Kitchen
Hat: Laura Dols
Blouse: Oasis
Skirt: Market
Shoes: Office

Bathroom
Curlers and vintage 40s dress

Saturday, October 24

Austrian Hat


Hat: reclaimed childhood hat
Cardigan: Asda
Top: Allmighty
Skirt: H&M
Tights: eBay
Shoes: Clarks
Bag: Mom's

When I saw Solanah's Austrian hat I couldn't believe how elegant she made it look.

Up until her post I associated such traditional headgear with the following, and the following only:
  • Old men drinking warm beer
  • Mountaineering
  • Flocks of tourists
  • Old Heimatfilms.

I mentioned Vixen Vintage to my Mom while trying on half her hat collection (how could I not be reminded of that blog while trying on hat after hat?). Mom swiftly disappeared and returned with the hat pictured, which apparently was mine all along (snot-nosed evidence of ownership to the right). It 's been stored away for the last twenty-something years waiting for its rightful owner to return.

Wearing the hat in Austria was a little daunting with all the stares (and occasional snickers) but back in England the little grey hat has more than novelty value: The thick felt keeps my head dry in the unceasing drizzle.

Rabbit


Cardi: Asda
Dress & belt: H&M
Mask: somewhere in Amsterdam

Happy Saturday Morning to you all!

I have just returned from the woods where I spent the morning arranging dolls and turning into a rabbit. More of that later :-)

Monday, October 12

In the woods..

Part two: In the woods..

My Austria trip was very plesant.
Dad and I took photographs together;
Mom and I got lost in her wardrobe: I returned home with her mac and some hats.

I 've been dying to use car headlights to light a photograph. Not an easily obtained shot when your vehicle has paddles. My Dad and I drove out to the local woods one evening and took lots and lots of photos with his digital camera. I wore my new dress, which had only just arrived before the trip, Mom's mac and one of her numerous hats. Here is to Cindy Sherman's "Untitled Film Stills"





Hat: Mom's closet
Mac: Mom's closet
Dress: Lipstick Vogue
Gloves: eBay
Tights: eBay
Shoes: Clarks

Austrian weekend

Here is the first instalment of pictures taken on my family visit to Austria this weekend.

Lamp, my aunt's sugar cubes & and an old bottle of 4711

The three day trip consisted mainly of visits to relatives, coffee, cake, old photos, new photos and searching through doll house furniture (I'll do a post on that some time).

Sunday, September 27

Photo Booth

It was our second wedding anniversary a few days ago, but the other half and I chose to celebrate on Saturday instead so we could make a day of it.

We caught a train to London and squeezed into the fabled black & white photo booth. We had a blast, giggling away and pulling silly faces. I was getting all excited hearing the machinery whirr into action after the flash went off the last time and catching the slightest hint of fixer-smell. I had been looking forwards to our photo booth adventure but was really surprised at the good quality of the resulting photo strip: Well focused and great tonal range. Well worth a visit should you find yourself in London.

You can find directions on the photoautomat website. They also operate booths in some other Eropean cities.

Later we went on a quest for a pub with outdoor seating to make the most of the gorgeous weather. We munched on wedding cake (=Krispy Kremes) and eventually ended up in China Town for a dinner of mock-duck and mock-pork (mmm.. tasty pretend meat).

By the time we got back home we were bone tired and ready for a lazy Sunday.
Hope you're all having a great weekend too!


Jacket: Topshop
Dress: All-Mighty
Tights: eBay
Shoes: Vintage

Wednesday, September 23

Automat!

For a while now I have been quite envious of all the bloggers who have access to old-fashioned photo booths. I never could resist them but over the last decade the last few seem to have disappeared from my reach. However, my friend google says there is one waiting for me in London. Did you know there are places that hire them out for weddings etc. as well. How tempting is that?

Now for an excuse to catch a train to London..

Saturday, September 19

What Claudia Wore

It was the comparison to Randall Flagg that drew me in. No, that's a lie, I think it was the helvetica-loving annotation right in the header that did it.

The Baby-Sitters Club. Oh yikes. Just the sort of girlie, saccharine-sweet series that used to fill my secondary school library shelves (and teenage-me used to turn her mouth down and nose up at). Like it or not, eventually I'd read it anyway, just for something to do (and secretly enjoy every bit of it).

What Claudia Wore is giving me fits of teenage memories.. If I had a time machine and upon my travels encountered my teenage self, I 'd kick the gangling, bespectacled girl with the silly hair-cut and ridiculous cloths. Or maybe I'd just point and laugh, Nelson Muntz style.

I really didn't do myself any favours back then.
From the obligatory angst, over fits of misguided spirituality, to the heavy make-up (my eyes are small to begin with, but positively piggy under layers of eyeliner) I was a disaster zone. Taller than all the boys my age (they caught up a couple of years later) and still having bee-stings for breasts I secretly harboured fears I might be a hermaphrodite (who could blame the parents for keeping it a secret?). The cloths were worst though. Honestly, you just wouldn't believe the cloths. For example I had pairs of violent orange and green jeans, which I wore with a pair of Grandfather suspenders. Passers-by had to shield their eyes. There was one garment I used to practically live in though: A flowing ankle-lengh, see-through, empire-waist, patchwork (yes, I said patchwork) dress. Thinking back on it I can't help but see the similarity to Celia of The Virgin Suicides and her ruined wedding gown. I must have thought I was a character in a bodice ripper.

Anyway - if you ever feel like a bit of time travel with a twist: Go see what Claudia wore. The other half keeps getting distracted from his Bounty Hunt (gots to get paid) because this blog is causing me to laugh out loud like a lunatic.

Oh grandmother,..


Dress: Lipstick Vogue
Tights: eBay
Shoes: Office

I've been painting pictures of my ideal photo of this dress all week and little red riding hood kept on sneaking into my mind. I went to Milton Country Park and felt transported back to my childhood as soon as I left the path. I used to roam through the local woods and forests all the time, letting my imagination run wild and returning home at dusk covered in dirt.

Once upon a Saturday..


Hat: Accessorize
Jumper: Present
Skirt: Vintage
Tights: eBay
Shoes: Clarks
Suitcase: Sally's Army

After a year of stagnation I have finally updated my website. I added a small selection of my outfit posts from this blog here: After a Fashion

Wednesday, September 16

Hurray for basic sewing

You may remember a little while ago I had a whine about a badly ripped dress I couldn't bare to throw away. I came across it the other day, stuffed into a plastic bag at the back of my bedside table.

I was incredulous to find only a tiny rip in place of the black hole I remembered. A piece of iron-on mender and a few stitches later my favourite dress from two years ago is back on a hanger.


Dress: H&M
Tights: eBay
Mask: couldn't resist it in Amsterdam

Friday, September 11


Hi there!
Sorry to have gone quiet for so long, leaving the blog to collect theoretical dust and all.

I was busy losing some holiday-pastry-weight (the battle continues) and catching up at work. However, yesterday the dress on the right arrived in the mail so I just had to show you right away.
Besides, I'd been meaning to take a trip to the Moon via Photoshop for a while now.

It is cold out. There 's a crisp edge in the air and dusk draws in earlier and earlier every day. The mornings are misty and my hair is suffering the consequences: I start cycling with a full head of rag curls but by the time I reach work I resemble a scarecrow. I got myself one of those see-through plastic rain-hats only little old ladies wear with confidence, but am yet to summon the courage to use it. I think I am just about ready. Oh the joy of the changing seasons..

Hope you all have a relaxing weekend!

Dress: Lipstick Vogue (.com | Etsy)
I am definitely showing you lots more pictures of the dress when the rest of me isn't such a mess!

Friday, August 28

Amsterdam



We arrived back home yesterday after a sunny, confectionery fueled week in Amsterdam.

When we weren't sat people watching or reading in the numerous cafes dotted along the canals, exploring they city on foot with rare help from our map and dining on waffles and vlaamse frites with peanut sauce and mayo, I went to lots of vintage stores: Wini, Episode, Zipper, Lady Day, 1953 Retro en Chic and Laura Dols as well as wandering through Waterloo Market.

Here are my two favourites:

1953 Retro en Chic on Staalstraat is a lovely little shop.

The small space is covered in beautiful garments, shoes, bags and other bits and bobs. I spent quite a while taking it all in while the other half relaxed outside the cafe opposit. It was a 'look only' store for me with all the items of interest well out of my price range.


The gorgeous clothing and accessories available at Laura Dols on Wolvenstraat have been divided between two stores along the same street. The prices vary but as you can guess they are generally a little on the steep side.

I fell for a little red hat (already having bought a red skirt on the market) and put it on right away. I nearly lost it to the river Amstel when a gust of wind blew it right off my head. I finally caught up with it not half a meter from the water's edge.

I took three pairs of shoes to Amsterdam, only one of which were flats so after a first day turning my feet to lumps of raw meat I packed up the heels and wore only my little red t-bars. The other item in constant use was my green cardigan. With two primary colours for starts I went even brighter adding pink, teal, purple and blue tights.

Friday, August 14

Top Mode Dress #2





Finally some pictures of my Top Mode
40s dress.

I am starting to get used to my new look now, no longer surprised at the be-fringed one in the mirror.

My rag curling abilities are improving, so the results are less erratic all the time. That said, I think the breeze blowing through my hair masks the short comings of my curls in the pictures.

I am rather enjoying how well the fringe suits BIG hair accessories, bows and topper/tilt hats. I have tried a few on yesterday and I'll definitely have to keep my eyes peeled for head wear from now on.

Dress: The Old Chemist Antique Shop
Tights: eBay
Shoes: Ark Vintage

Wednesday, August 12

Fringe

So I finally have the fringe I decided on a couple of weeks ago. It is such a big difference I am compelled to stare in every mirror I pass (and other reflective surfaces too). The feeling of unfamiliarity is so overwhelming I still can't quite decide whether the cut suits me or not.
Either way, I am quite enjoying the novelty of it all.

Below are before and after pics as well as a photo of 3 or 4 year old me with fringe the first.

Saturday, August 8

Top Mode Dress

Yesterday I went to The Old Chemist Antique Shop. I try to keep myself from going there too often because it is one of those places you never leave empty handed.

I am glad I went yesterday, because there was a 40s shirt-dress waiting for me inside. It was love on first sight and I found myself clutching the hanger as if somebody was going to try and rip it from me any second.

It is my first dress older than myself and I must admit I am in awe at wearing something that has been around more than twice as long as I have.

I have three more working days to go and then I am off work for a little while, so last thing Wednesday I am getting my long awaited hair cut and as of Thursday I expect to go photo mad. Can't wait to show you the dress properly :-)

Thursday, August 6

Linzer Kuchen


In October I am going to spend a weekend visiting my parents in Austria. This trip is long overdue, seeing as I haven't been in 'the old country' in nearly two years.

The postcard above (from 1924) shows my home town. The house on the card is where my parents live and was my home for the first 18 years of my life.

I am looking forward to copious amounts of cakes and pastries, so on that note:

Here is my recipe for Linzer Kuchen as my Grandma and Mom make it.
The amounts given will make three cakes (or four if you use small baking tins).
They will keep for approx. one week and can be frozen.



Variations:
You can substitute the walnuts with hazelnuts, almonds or pecans and rum works just as well as schnaps. As for jam anything with a bit of sourness to it will do (cranberry sauce works really well).


It is a really simple cake to make but kneading that dough will do wonders for your arm muscles, not to mention crushing so many nuts (I can't get a hold of pre-ground walnuts ANYWHERE in this town).

Sunday, August 2

Butterflies

Metal screetches as girders move in the breeze. Broken glass crunches underfoot. Echoes, pidgeons cooing inside the hollow buildings. Butterflies, so many butterflies, flitting from flower to flower amidst the debris.

My way home from the cemetery took me past some disused college buildings torn down in part last year. I usually look at the locked gates wishing I could just bound over them and go inside to explore the derelict leftovers hidden behind it.

Today the gates were open.
I cycled home as fast as I could, changed and fetched the Blue Lady.

Blue Lady Mask: Paper mache and oil colour
Dress: H&M
Belt: Asda
Tights: eBay
Shoes: Clarks

Mister Careless



I have always had a soft spot for the Mill Road Cemetery.

Blackberries grow along the brick fence and crickets chirp in the tall grass. People walk their dogs, relax on their lunch break or even go mushroom picking.

Most of the graves are so old they are crumbling away, the inscriptions having become illegible long ago.

Finding Mister Careless' gravestone did make me smile though. What an excellent surname.

While I took pictures a lady bug landed on me. Good luck is mine. :-)

Hat: H&M
Top: Oasis
Skirt: Oasis
Tights: eBay
Shoes: Clarks
Bag: eBay

Saturday, August 1

Neat stitches

No outfit post today. I was much too knackered to get out of bed early.

Instead I finally started re-hemming my skirt. I am making a real effort to keep the stitches neat (head about two inches from garment, tongue sticking out, brow creased) but the results make me wish for a machine even more.
I am nowhere near finished and I have already added a new 'must have' to the house of my dreams: Space for a sewing table (in addition to a garage to be turned into a studio, large kitchen, large garden and a real shower, not just a plug into the bathtub affair).

Of course acquiring a machine wouldn't make me any better at sewing, but some illogical corner of my brain keeps insisting that once I have a machine Poof! I will suddenly turn into queen of needlework.

To the right is my sewing box. While I suck at using the equipment inside it, I do like the look of my little Russian doll collage or decoupage (such a grand sounding word for a bit of cut and paste).

I am going to cut an old pillow to shreds now. It is time to try out rag curls tonight.

Thursday, July 30

Cro-Magnon Woman

When it comes to my hair I go through adventurous periods. They usually end in a big mistake followed by the eternal wait for my hair to grow. Just occasionally though I get it right for a change and feel happy to stick with a style for a while.

Getting a hair cut has always been synonymous with getting my teeth pulled (a scene from Marathon Man comes to mind) although I am actually more relaxed when visiting the dentist than watching tufts of hair drift to the floor all around me.

When I left Austria I was shocked to find that no qualifications are required to open a hair salon in England. Panicked I stopped having regular hair cuts and went to the hair dresser only during sporadic visits to my parents. At uni my fear of hair dressers was supplemented by reluctance to spend money for a quick trim, so in a fit of temporary madness I bought a pair of scissors and decided to cut myself a fringe.

I am too vein to show you the result. It pales in the light of the dead, broken mess I had already created at this point by home-dying my hair black. Suffice to say, when I finally did decide to seek refuge at the hairdresser's they refused to touch the stuff. The fringe grew out eventually and this spring I finally found a hair dresser I trust but don't have to get into a plane to visit. I was over the moon to have a proper hair cut again, but as I was bound to, I got bored with it eventually.

The other day I looked in the mirror and found the elephant woman staring back at me.
I am fully aware that I have quite a normal forehead, but on close inspection in unfavourable lighting I have noticed some dents up there which initially reminded me of a duck but what the other half teasingly referred to with a big grin as 'cro-magnon woman'.


I'd been toying with the thought of another try at a fringe for a while, but that settled it. I called the hair dresser's for an appointment. In two weeks time I am going to say farewell to the stone ages and hope to hell I am not making a big mistake. Oh well, if so, it'll grow eventually.




Fringespiration
Quite a number of bloggers on my reading list sport enviable bangs:
Anja of Clever Nettle, Marie of Lemondrop Vintage, Rhiannon of Liebe Marlene Vintage, Natalija of Natalija creates and Solanah of Vixen Vintage

Tuesday, July 28

Nevermore


Edgar rotates in his grave as I bemoan the loss of my liquid foundation.
Quoth the Raven 'Discontinued'.

Five years ago, when I started uni I decided to go natural and stopped using any make-up at all. Half way through my third and final year I changed my mind, lost the 15 kilo I had piled on in the previous two and got drawn in by the prettily displayed products at a Benefit counter. I've been using the stuff ever since.

To say I am not particularly adventurous choosing cosmetics is an understatement, in fact I am prone to stock piling my favourites.

Benefit 's a bit dear, but I don't mind, because you're shown how to use it and thus get a free trial run. It looks quite natural on me, not caked on and lasts for donkey's years. That last point is why I only just found out that my foundation was discontinued half a year ago. My favourite lipstick (called 'nice knickers') is still available, but my eyeshadow (my date 's my brother) also sleeps with the fishes. At least the loss of my somewhat disconcertingly named eye-shadow is not going to affect me for a while, thanks to an eBay purchase which should last me for at least a year, if not two.

I don't know about you guys but once I've found cosmetics I like I am quite happy to stick with them for ever and ever. I am a little miffed that I'll have to go through the whole trial and error process of finding a product I am happy with all over again.

I think I'll stop assaulting Mr. Poe now. Any recommendations for a fairly sheer liquid foundation to suit a dry-skinned pasty face who wishes to hide a couple of red areas would be much appreciated :-)



♥ Brow war-paint (browzings)

♥ Brow rain-proofer (she laq)

♥ "You look pale. Are you sick?"
unnecessary concern preventer (Dandelion)

♥ Lippy (Benefit: Nice Knickers &
Maybelline: Passion Red)

♥ Mascara (Maybelline Define-a-lash)