Sunday, February 27

Dusty



We 've just crossed the 10 Celsius/50 Fahrenheit hurdle on the way to spring :D Look, no boots! I've been living in boots for the past few weeks unwilling to relinquish the extra leg warmth ;)



My new ride now goes by Dusty owing to its dusty green colour which is not entirely unlike the shade of my favourite pair of tights (which I am waring underneath the pair you see before you - it is warming up but it 's still awful cold. Alright, alright: I am chicken.)



The weather has been pretty soggy. What is good for the plant life sure isn't pleasant for the outfit blogger. I can't wait to see some green shoots though :)

The lack of sunlight reminds me of an article in yeseterday's local news: You'd think rickets was a thing of the past but here in Cambridgeshire it is on the rise thanks to over-anxious parents who smother their children in sunblock. You couldn't make it up.



When I wore this to work on Friday a couple of colleagues said I looked like I was about to break into a Lindy Hop which I thought was rather sweet. For the record, I only know one kind of dancing: Shaking my body about spasmodically interspersed with some jumping (jump up, jump up and get down - right?). I've heard about these things called co-ordinaton and grace and I sure hope they are overrated. ;) Once upon a time they tried to teach me to waltz at school. Embarrassing times.
Sitcom worthy. :D

Have a most excellent Sunday you all!

beret: eBay
coat: Supermarket
cardi: some shop 9 years ago
scarf: ex Mom's
dress: modcloth
belt: H&M last year
skirt: modcloth
Shoes: vintage K's

Friday, February 25

Monkeying around

Guess what, the mysterious Monk of Hello, Monkeyface interviewed me for her series self-caught! :)
Head right on over and join us at hers!


image from we all float here and previous planning


inspiring image by Tiffany Egbert of Kittenpaws and geeking out over a Supayana dress by Yana Gorbulsky


initial doodle and final from weirdo in the woods


outfit on a "Muddy Tuesday" some time ago

All images from my rather messy sketchbook/scrapbook
What can I say? I am a lazy sketcher. Stick figures will do :)

You still here? Well, linkedy link link! ;D

Wednesday, February 23

A Curious Green

I recently discovered A Curious Fancy. The blog author (who's style is adorable) occasionally uses Jesus Green (a local park) as a backdrop for her gorgeous outfit posts. Well, you know how it is - I've had that Green dominate my thoughts on outfit post ever since.





On Saturday I headed right over. I can't say seeing if I could spot her didn't cross my mind but then she doesn't actually live here in Cambridge, she just comes to visit her boyfriend quite frequently :)

Jesus Green is a pretty awesome outfit location :) While I haven't come here in a while I have used it for photos before here and here.



In autumn and spring the green often floods. The year I first moved here I took some photos when the avenue of trees looked like a lake. Those reflections were too beautiful to pass up, so I snapped away with a swiftly purchased single use camera :)





In other news, I have (un)Chosen One by Lia Ices stuck in my head on perma-repeat. Check out the video 1:17 min in - Such pretty dresses and I am now stoked to do a fake twin image throwing knifes at myself.

Also Franca suggested my Kasperle post for link love with a twist :) Thanks Franca! Here are the twisted links for the week:

Center Sage – We’re on the right track: Kristy ElĂ©na of Full Time Fabulous submitted this beautiful post because “really great outfit posts are so inspirational and when I look at these photos I am completely transported into another place. I feel strength of character, challenging the unknown, independence, adventure, journey — I adore it.”

The Citizen Rosebud – Let Your Light Shine: Beauty at 40: Brooke of Center Sage submitted this truly heartwarming post because it is “an inspirational tribute to not only Bella’s friend, but to confident and beautiful women everywhere. Bella herself is a prime example of the inner and outer beauty that this post radiates.”

The Compassion Fashion Project – Support Charlotte Fairchild’s Fashion Wraps for a Cause: This wonderful post was submitted by Stephanie of The-Loudmouth. She picked this as her favorite post of the week because “the Compassion Fashion Project is an awesome blog that features companies and individuals who use their design skills for good. This entry details Charlotte, the founder of a non-profit called Fear Thou Not. She makes pretty scarves, wraps and ponchos for domestic violence survivors!”

Diversions –Oh Kasperle!: Sometimes posts touch us in unexpected ways. “In this post, Stef shares childhood memories of Kasperle, a wooden hand puppet common in the Germanophone world. It’s a memory I share and the her post made me feel intensely nostalgic. I think others will love this post too, even if they have never heard of Kasperle!,” said Franca of Oranges and Apples.

Dramatis Personae – Finance & the Fashion Blogger: the Culture of Credit Cards: Eboni Ife’ of The Fashionista Next Door decided to share this post for a number of great reasons. She says “I was a sociology major so it’s no surprise that things like this intrigue me. I find it interesting that what we (US citizens) perceive as normal (using a credit card at McDonald’s) is totally crazy in other countries. My husband is French and I thought it was just his family. I had no idea that financial conservatism was a cultural thing.”

For Those About to Shop – Eating Disorders Awareness Week: I wish I had posted this list last week so this particular entry had been a bit more timely. Regardless, the content is just as valuable today! Mrs. Bossa of Mrs. Bossa Does the Do picked this piece because “this thought-provoking post had a refreshing and realistic take on how we need to reassess our relationship with our bodies.”

her waise choice – A Sliver of Masculinity: Casee Marie of The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower selected this post because “Jen of HWC has a way of revolutionizing an outfit post. More than just wearing clothes, she gets into the essence of fashion and reminds her reader of the art behind dressing. I’m always inspired by both her photos and the accompanying written content, but this post in particular had me looking at my closet with renewed creativity every day this week.”

Lizabellys – I am a Queen: “I picked the post just because from my internet browsing from the week this one was the post that stood out the most. It brought back some fond memories but also raised some fantastic points about self esteem issues.” – Arash Mazinani

Oranges and Apples – My Name is Franca and I am a Feminist: The love Bella Q of The Citizen Rosebud feels for this post runs deeper than just this one entry. She selected this post because she “loved Franca’s post on being a Feminist, and the conversation’s she and Mrs. Bossa are getting started regarding Feministas: fashion lovers, and Feminists.”

Passionated – Be Happy, Not Tomorrow, Now: This one is my pick for the week. Sometimes a post touches us because of its simple message. This one challenge us to love OURSELVES and not let the naysayers bring us down. No one can knock us down unless we let them.

Statements in Fashion – Big…..Bigger…. Better: My Weight Loss Journey: Marissa of The Well-Appointed Catwalk decided to submit this post because it touched her emotionally. “Collette’s honesty is an inspiration. This completely blew me away,” she says.

submit a post for inclusion in the next edition | code to share links on your blog
 
Beret: eBay
Coat: Tulle via Ruche
Cowl: DIY
Cardi: Lana Moden Salzburg
Blouse: new look years ago
Belt: eBay
Skirt: vintage via etsy
Boots: eBay

Monday, February 21

Vehicular Monday



Behold! Our car and a first look at my new bike as well.



I am looking forward to pimping my ride: Spoke beads are a given but I am undecided on the wire basket. My old wicker one wouldn't fit, so I am thinking of either spray painting this one in a light blue or covering it in vinyl/oilcloth - something with a bold pattern. :)



The weather has been dreary all weekend so getting outfit shots was rather a struggle. I was already drafting a "blog posts suspended" message in my mind but in the end I got a good loot after all so it 's business as usual here at Diversions. I can't wait for the days to get longer so I can take pictures during the week again rather than re-wearing everything on the weekend :)

Other than my photo marathon I've been mostly watching TV. True Blood  and Boardwalk Empire are on Fridays and Saturdays respectively, so where the husband and I used to constantly yell "Sookieeee!" at each other Bill Compton style this has now been superseded by a resounding "Nuckyyyy!" in the same tone :D
No spoilers please you guys, I am not far into either season just yet but am enjoying both famously ;)

Hope you all have a most excellent week :)

Coat: Tulle via Ruche
Beret: eBay
Cowl: DIY
Cardi: modcloth
Cardi clips: etsy
Top: All-Mighty
Skirt: H&M years ago
Belt: eBay
Boots: eBay

Saturday, February 19

Jellybean dinner

I've been sitting here staring at the screen wrecking my brain for some witty post title. Something snappy, catchy, maybe even poignant. Insert tumbleweed here.

Lacking inspiration I settled for the obvious. I am on a sugar high :) I like the pear ones best. They are AWESOME. I am currently finding the word awesome pretty awesome too. It is funny how I get hooked on words sometimes. Something I've never said before I start throwing it around like there is no tomorrow. Everything is excellent, neat, brilliant, now: Awesome.
Semantics. Curious and curiouser.











And guess what: Whoopie pies were for breakfast. I am gonna have a massive sugar hang-over tomorrow. :D

The photos are from last Saturday by the way - hence the Setico swan song :) Turns out prices for old-fashioned bikes have doubled over the past few years. They are currently "in" and I guess pricing has been adjusted upwards to reflect this. Not an amount of money I am willing to spend on wheels. Bleh!

I did find a 1980s Raleigh Caprice in good nick though - what I'd think of as an old ladie's bike. Metallic green. Just my cup of tea :) It is awful rainy today but I'll show you soon :)

Hat: ex Mom's
Sweater: Supermarket
Cardi: Charity shop
Dress: Echoo
Skirt: modcloth
Boots: eBay

Thursday, February 17

Red car, yellow car

So this whole closet count has been looming over me recently. I know some girls have a lot more garments than me but I also know there are lots of girls out there who's closet rail doesn't groan quite like mine. I wanted to know how much I had accumulated since channeling my consumerist longings into garments but on the other hand I really, really didn't want to know at all. In the end the dork in me won out.

At long last. I counted.







Including the laundry bin and what I am wearing right now but excluding undergarments and hoisery I have:

*drumroll please*
10 skirts
25 tops of which 17 are blouse-esque and one is a genuine t-shirt
11 cardigans (what gives - not so long ago there were only three!)
9 sweaters
a whopping 24 dresses including my wedding dirndl (Next Dressember I must have a go!)
2 pairs of trousers one of which is suitable for sports
7 coats/jackets 

Also,
I have 23 scarfs Awesomeness :D Before Mom's donation last December I think I had five.
17 pieces of headwear, mostly berets
8 bags/purses and
I did a shoe stock take a while back.

but hey, who 's counting? ;)


Hat: ex Mom's
Necklace: Present
Dress: H&M some years ago
Cardi: modcloth
Boots: eBay

Tuesday, February 15

Vegetablist

Behold! Last week's midweek comfortables :)



I was one sore vegetabalist when I finally thought to check the ingredients of the yogurt I was greedily spooning into my gob. Why is it so many manufacturers will insist on dying their foods using crushed beetles? It seems to be the number one colourant to create a strawberry look. I am assuming even for carnivores crushed beetles can't be a desirable ingredient. Check your label: If it contains cochineal, Crimson Lake, Natural Red #40, C.I. 75470, or E120 you're munching beetles. They're used in cosmetics too.





I was just reminded of my recent veggie blunder as soon as I am posing in front of a mahusive Donner kebab painting here. :) If you've been veggie for a while you'll know the odd accidental meat intake is inevitable no matter how vigilant you are. It 's best not too worry about it. I was just a little grumpy because I rather enjoyed Activia prior to my creepy crawly discovery. :D Back to Greek yogurt with honey. Yum :)



Beret: eBay
Coat: Supermarket
Top: All-Mighty years ago
Cardi: H&M
Skirt: H&M a long time ago
Boots: eBay

Sunday, February 13

Alas, poor Yorick



Purple Haze broke down, next there was Ickle. Ickle begot Ribbid begot Blue (all stolen). Blue begot this here Setico. Alas, poor Setico! It 's knackered.









I've had this one for over three years. I think that's the longest I've ever had a bike since moving to England. Ickle I had for the shortest time: A glorious 1930s Falcon it was thieved within 72 hours. Don't let anybody tell you a D-lock is hard to break. I've lost my keys many a time so I know from experience: You can get it open in one hit if you aim a hammer right. Never mind bolt cutters.

I am told bikes stolen in Cambridge are usually resold in Oxford. Then when they once again are crammed into the back of a white van they are driven right back to Cambridge. Not that I am still sore about Ickle or anything ;)

Anyway, it 's time for a "new" bike so I wanted to make sure I had some pictures of old Setico first. I have none of Ickle, Ribbid or Blue - which is a shame as soon as those were all classics. I'll show you my new ride as soon as I've found one that 's right for me :)



It 's funny how some dresses just make you want to twirl. I feel all twirly in this one :)

I wore this on Wednesday and was inordinately surprised to see Louise in the same dress when I was browsing blogs. I did a little double take looking down myself. Yep, that is what I am wearing. Louise really wore it a couple of days before me, but that is still a pretty cool coincidence. :D

Beret: eBay
Dress: Tulle via Time Enough for Drums
Skirt: modcloth
Scarf: ex Mom's
Cardi: Charity shop
Boots: eBay

Friday, February 11

Not if but when



When I passed my test everybody told me driving was synonymous with freedom. I could see the truth in that but I really wasn't feeling it. The day after fetching my brand new license I moved to England. Cambridge to be exact, a city with so many one way streets you can cross it quicker peddling leisurely on your pushbike than driving. And that 's just what I've been doing for the past ten years. Rain or shine :)





Just recently though, as I pile my groceries into my bike basket or when I am balancing my tripod on top of the very same I've been finding myself wishing for three pedals rather than two. Clutch, break and gas.

  
The Fenlands seen through a smudgy train window. Dreary for sure but I love those wide open skies.

Last weekend the other half and I bought our very first car. It was a friend's before and another friend's before that. So it feels a little like those wheels have been part of our extended family for a while already.

We took a four hour train journey out, spent a great weekend with the car's previous owner and returned on the motorway in just two.

The freedom thing? I finally get it now.
We're not even that far from the seaside you know :)

Warbonnet: Borrowed for photo
Cardi: Charity shop
Dress: modcloth
Beret: eBay
Crochet blouse: vintage (clevernettle)
Skirt: H&M years ago

Wednesday, February 9

Oh Kasperle!



When I was little my Mom had a secret weapon when it came to making me listen. If I was being particularly precocious and stubborn she'd slip a certain gentleman over her hand and I would melt in the face of my very first love: Kasperle.

Kasperl is the German equivalent to Mister Punch. This wooden Kasperle above is an original Hohensteiner puppet. Max Jacob's Hohnsteiner Kasper, the style of Kasperl Theatre recognized in the German speaking area today, differs from earlier forms of Punch and Judy shows in that the Hohensteiner Kasperl's stories were moral tales. Where earlier incarnations of Punch would go about beating Judy and the police man and generally acting like a man on a rampage, the Kasperle I fell in love with knew good from bad.

You could root for Kasperle (and holler when once again he didn't realize the Baddy was right behind him!) and if my wooden Love attached to Mom's arm told me I bloody well listened.



My Grandma used to live in Hohenstein and during the war she would spend her spare time playing for the wounded. Later she worked in the troupe's workshop painting the puppets' wooden faces.



In all I have three Hohensteiner puppets. There is Kasperle who lives on my bookshelf while Grandma and the Witch call Austria their home. They're at my parents place :)

All three were my Dad's before me. In fact, the first of the two images below was taken the day he was given the puppets. :)







I took the below photo as part of the series Dark Territory some years ago. You get a full view of our man in it:

Monday, February 7

Be like the squirrel

"When problems overwhelm, us and sadness smothers us, where do we find the will and the courage to continue? Well, the answer may come in the caring voice of a friend, a chance encounter with a book, or from a personal faith. For Janet help came from her faith, but it also came from a squirrel."

from the intro to Little Acorns by The White Stripes





Every time I put on my new acornucopia dress I find myself mouthing the words to that song or screeching my favourite nonsense line: oh oh uh uh oh
yes, I call the made up words nonsense because "the problems hiding in your curls" makes such complete and utter sense. ;) So yeah, short story long: I got me that acorn dress :)





I can think of a million ways to wear this comfy number but I figured for starters I'd go for the easy option and not even belt it. I really like the loose fit (size down you guys - believe it or not: I did!) Who could resist acorn print?



Thanks for your lovely comments on Saturday's post :) There were some great questions which I'll do my darndest to answer in some further photo tuts in the near future.

Have a great start to the week you all!

Hat: ex Mom's
Dress: acornucopia dress from modcloth (thanks Mama)
Cardi: charity shop
Shoes: eBay

Saturday, February 5

Quantum entangled outfit blogging

As you guys know all my outfit photos are self-portraits. Every once in a while I'll call on my husband or my Dad to assist with an awkward angle or a shoot in a crowded area but usually it is just me and my tripod (private pile). Having hundreds of self-portraits under my belt I figured I'd give you my two cents on the technicalities of being an outfit blogger at once behind and in front of the camera



Whatever camera you use, in my book there are two pieces of essential kit you absolutely require:

Skylight, UV or any old filter at all
It doesn't actually matter whether you get one or the other because you're not getting this for some fancy-schmantzi effect. You need this to keep your camera safe.

Already got a filter screwed on each of your lenses? Fantastic. But if not: Don't make your lens go to work naked any longer! A filter won't cost the world but they are invaluable. Granted, if you throw your camera from a height not even a filter will keep it from smashing to pieces but it will dramatically increase your chances of retrieving an intact lens after a small tumble. Also, it'll cost you a pittance to swap the filter when you scratch it while your lens remains safe behind it.

A sturdy tripod
This is the one piece of kit you mustn't be stingy about. Don't get a lightweight. They're for the dogs when it comes to self portraiture. You want a heavy one. Plastic doesn't cut it when you leave your camera's side in a breeze. Make sure the head has a good safety catch that will grip your camera tight no matter which way the wind blows.

When you set up extend the thickest, sturdiest legs first, then the thinner ones if you need extra height. Only use the extending centre column of your tripod if you need to go higher yet. Your centre of gravity is going to be so high when you use this extension that your tripod is going to be much more prone to keel over. When you do use it hang something heavy from your tripod to be safe. Your handbag should do - those things usually weigh a ton ;)

There are lots of different tripods to choose from. Private Pile is a Manfrotto 190XPROB with an 804RC2 head. There are many like him, but this one is mine ;)




OK. You got your kit, here are some tips when it comes to image making:

Frame for the background. Unless I am taking a picture in front a solid block of colour I always choose my frame primarily for the landscape or cityscape.

Remember to check the corners of your frame for naughty chair legs and pick up that stray coke can unless you actually want it in shot. It 's a drag but it 's worth it getting rid of those eye sores.

As you peek through the viewfinder decide where you're going to fit within the frame and how you will pose. Sometimes I try to echo a shape in frame or balance a strong shape in the background by mirroring it/turning it on its head.  (I know, I know, most the time I just do my signature "Lot's wife" ;))

This may sound silly but remember that you'll be obscuring part of the frame. When you're standing right in front of a street light it might end up looking like it is growing out of your head. Sometimes I forget I am not see through and accidentally stand in front of the most elaborate part of a mural. Doh!

Consider colours. You guys know how much fun I have blending into backgrounds or sometimes sticking out like a sore thumb instead. Give it a whirl: Think of your background as an extension of your outfit and see where it takes you :)

Chart your eyes path across the image. When entering a shop most people will look at the display on their right first. When viewing an image the first thing your eyes are drawn to is usually the lightest spot. So if you have a very bright out of focus area in the background be aware that we're all going to stare at that first and our eyes are going to keep on drifting away from your outfit and back to that spot. Ask yourself where your eyes are drawn to first and what path they take as your gaze moves through the image.

Review and reshoot. I usually end up sounding like a nut mumbling instructions to myself as I review the first few shots: "Move one step to the left" I instruct. "Stand up straight, don't pull such a sour face" I grumble. Reshoot. Review again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

And most importantly: 
Don't rush :) Take your time and don't let the bemused passers by distract you. Or do, if you like a natter ;) I am a loner at heart so I have little advice on spectators other than this: No matter how flustered you feel at this attention, try and act confident about what you're doing. Don't be apologetic about being an outfit blogger. There is no shame in it. I know most of us feel otherwise sometimes but don't let such private woes affect how you present yourself. You're a blogger. Proud envoy of the interwebs. Just like lolcats. (See how I ruined a perfectly good power talk at the last minute there? You get my point though, right?)


Post production
It 's hard to get the frame just perfect when you're taking your own images. Don't be afraid to crop your photographs.
Can't tell if you got the right crop? Close your eyes and then look at the image afresh. Chart your eyes path across the image again (yeah. I know. Call me Ms Repetition). If you don't like where your eyes are drawn, try a different crop.


Full frame image on the left, final crop on the right: I cropped this image because the door frame on the far left kept drawing my eye (see the yellowish posters?). I also cropped a wafer-thin slice off the far right because I found a dark area at the bottom corner distracting. When looking at the image on the left my eyes kept pinging from left to right - the crop on the right feels a lot calmer to me.

Ensure each image you choose has something different to offer. A different angle, a change in distance, a variation in background. Repetition is the mother of all yawns. I know I break this rule sometimes :) but I really, really shouldn't.

Load time might also be worth a consideration when it comes to editing. Check out your blog statistics to see what speed your readership connect at. Will the majority load ten images in a flash or do they make a cup of tea (and drink it too) while they wait for just four of your pics to load? Use this data to decide on a maximum number of images to display in each of your posts (and how many posts to display per page).

Photo editing software is your friend. You can see details of the corrections I make to my final images prior to posting here.


Is there anything you swear by regarding your blog photographs?

Images used are outtakes from previous posts. (In Draft, After Lucybelle & Rubik's Cube)