Friday, December 13, 2013

The Drama of the Gifted Child

Not really a post about being especially super smart but about giving and receiving gifts, and aren't we all a bit like children around the holidays?

This year the holidays reflect my experience with the shifts in the way I want to live.  I'm still investigating where this shift comes from but without a real need to answer the question.  I'm willing to go with it and see where it leads me.

In years past I've given my parents a rather detailed list of what I'd like for Christmas.  Remember what I said about all of us being children around the holidays?  Yes, I like presents.  There, I've said it (and I know that I have some class privilege here).  However, there's that shift, also mentioned above, and I've become less directive.  But here's the rub - we all want what we want, but usually we expect our loved ones to psychically know what that is (or to have paid attention when hints were dropped).  I'd resorted to the make/model/manufacturer list, but it eliminated the other thing I love about presents (yes, I love gifts) - the element of surprise, the personal element of the individual who chose the gift.

For my birthday, the ladyfriend toured through my Etsy favourites with me (she'd originally given me a budget, but I wanted her to choose) and picked out this amazing treesizeverse backpack -
Sure, it was in my favourites, but I'd kind of forgotten about it, and I wouldn't have pointed to it as an option because it was a little pricey.  However, she found it and talked about how happy she'd be if I had it.  I can't wait to use it.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Last Day of School

Sweater:  Interweave Knits pattern knit by yours, truly in Cascade yarn
Skirt:  McCall's (?) pattern, sewn by me
Boots:  La Naturalista
Tights:  Hue

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: First Day & Last Day

Contrary to my usual ways, I wore the same dress to the first class as to the last class (using it as an example).
 Dress:  Alabama Chanin pattern made by me!
T-shirt:  Mossimo
Tights:  No label
Boots:  La Canadienne

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Two Ways to Look at It


Sweater:  Knit by me; pattern from Knit Wear Fall 2012; yarn - Nature Spun Touche Teal
Shirt:  Theory
Skirt:  Tan Jay (?) (thrifted)
Boots:  212
Tights (not seen):  Wolford

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Nesting & Refining

I'm in two familiar states again - nesting and refining.  The nesting was necessary after a three or so week period where I was up late (like 4:45am late) on more than one occasion and other obligations messed with my sleep schedule.  Plus, it's the last few weeks of classes, and it can get crazy.  So this weekend I mended (which is also part of the refining state) and cooked - a lot.  Tonight it's Chicken Tortilla soup from the The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.  Good "oh-my-the-first-storm-of-the-season-is-coming-but-it-won't-be-nearly-as-epic-as-advertised" soup.  Damn, if we were snowed in...how amazing would that be?

The refining state is where I go back to thinking about the way I live, what I need, and why I'm bored with my closet (might not seem philosophically linked to you, but it is - trust me).  The refinement stage encompasses different elements at different times but almost always has to do with getting my life to more closely match my values and desires.  Don't underestimate the importance of desire.  I believe that if your values and desires are complimentary, it can transform your life.  I don't know that for sure, but I believe it.

Wow.  I sound like some new agey life coach.  When do I get my own TV show?

Meanwhile, back on the couch (unintentional psychiatry joke)...I'm knitting the Carnaby skirt, which I'm really excited about.  It's a little bit of a risk, knitting a little skirt for myself.  I say "little" because it'll fall mid-thigh or so, and that's little for me.  But I'm also happy to be making something for my own wardrobe.  Little by little I'm putting things I've made into rotation and slowly weeding out the items that no longer work for me. (Okay, if one of my students wrote this paragraph, I'd have put a box around every "little" in it; pointing out the repetition of the word.  But I'm off duty.)

I could go on about the things I'm hoping to make soon*, but that's not where my attention is at the moment.  It seems that I'm also going through a bit of a "hippie/dress-me-in-jersey/oooh-that-looks-comfy" phase.  Frankly, I'm just a little concerned - am I losing my style?  Is it morphing?  Is this the real me?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Mending Impulses

I've been experiencing a bit of a sewing urge and mending seemed like the best thing for what little time I have free at the moment.

I don't know how long I've had this J. Peterman nightshirt (yes, that J. Peterman), but I think it's at least ten years.  I love it, but it's started to show its age.  In fact, the description says it's made of cotton flannel, and there's nothing flannel about it now.  While the ladyfriend suggested I just buy another one, I thought I'd repair it instead.  Besides, it's made in China, and I'm looking for alternatives to that.

Some time ago I saw a beautifully patched Japanese farmer's coat at the Textile Museum in Toronto.  I loved how it was patch upon patch, which spoke not only to the thriftiness of the owner (or owner's spouse) but also to the care and attention they believed the item deserved.
Patched Japanese Farmer's Jacket
Another patched jacket
So I started fixing the nightshirt.  Here were the most pressing issues:

A tear in the sleeve
 Frayed cuffs
 Little holes at the bottom of the front placket
First I ironed the sleeve.  I put this in here because in the past I would never have bothered to iron it, but I had picked up Mend It Better by Kristin M. Roach at the library (love, love, love the library), and that's the first thing she suggested.

Then I whip stitched the edges of the tear and cut away the excess threads.
I had bought a stack of fat eighths at the workroom in Toronto awhile ago, ostensibly to make a gift for some kids, but that never happened.  So I chose one and made a patch, ironing the raw edges under.  I used a whip stitch to sew it in place.
Then I tackled the cuffs.  While Ms. Roach didn't have a section on this, I knew that making bias tape and sewing it to the cuffs would probably be the best option for me although I don't know why I thought making bias tape at home (with few real sewing supplies around) would be a breeze.  It wasn't bad actually, but next time I'd make it a little wider.  For some reason I thought 1/4 inch would be good.  Nonetheless, with a little running stitch and patience I got 'em done.

Finally, the little holes.  For these I decided embroidery would be best.  It's clear that I'm a little rusty despite my super cute (if I may say so myself) sampler I made awhile back.
I'm excited to continue to extend the life of this and other items I have.  It just feels so right.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Still Life with Bike

Hat:  Amy Downs
Turtleneck:  Neiman Marcus
Skirt:  Bellanatur
Tights:  Wolford
Shoes:  La Canadienne
Bike:  Dahon Curve (thrifted!)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: My Mind is Elsewhere

Top:  Kedem Sasson
Skirt:  Banana Republic
Tights (not seen):  Wolford
Boots (not on):  La Canadienne

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Trying to Look the Part

Suit:  Gormont (thrifted)
Top:  Rowan pattern/Kidsilk Haze knit by me
Stockings:  Wool - brand unknown
Shoes:  Isaac Mizrahi

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Today's Birthday Suit

Sweater:   Valerie Stevens
Skirt:  Comme des Garcons
Stockings:  Wolford
Shoes:  La Canadienne

Monday, November 4, 2013

What Did You Do This Weekend?

I passed both my firearms and hunter education courses this weekend.  I can now get a Possession and Acquisition License for firearms as well as my hunting license.  Whoo-hoo!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Nothing (No Classes - Hurrah!)

Open your door to some beasties; you'll never know what they might bring you!  Happy All Hallows' Eve, Samhain, Halloween - whichever you celebrate (or ignore), enjoy the night!



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: All Hands on Deck

Top:  Saint James
Skirt:  Comme des Garcons
Boots:  La Canadienne
Tights (not seen):  Wolford

Friday, October 25, 2013

Retail Therapy Etsy Style

I'm in the mood to shop.  There, I said it, but I'm also in a rather cheap state, so currently my retail therapy is consisting of finding things I might like to own but may not fork over the dollars for right this minute.  But soon, I hope.

My attention is on leggings right now; they seem like a relatively low-cost way to get something new and surprising into my wardrobe.  Note - I would NEVER EVER EVER wear leggings as pants.  It is a look that I abhor.  I could go on, but suffice it to say, many women do not know the meaning of "opaque," much to their detriment.
Hot Air Balloon Leggings from Carouselink
Mint Beetle Leggings from ZIBtextile
I'd really like to put together a post of all the cool things I've found on Etsy.  This is a start.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Come Into My Office

Yep, that's my desk, and no, I didn't choose the painting above it.
Dress:  Homma (mom-me-down)
Hat:  Christine Bec
Tights:  Wolford
Shoes:  Robert Clergerie (ebay)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Soup's On

It's soup season, and I spent Monday fortifying my stock supply.

I used my pressure canner (what I call the time machine since it looks a little like it came from the '60s TV show Lost in Space) to make it shelf stable.  For you pressure canner users, I used 10lbs of pressure for 20 minutes.  Works like a charm.  I'm over freezing stock in glass jars.  Lately, even when filled with an inch or so of headroom, I get cracks.  A little frozen flat in ziploc bags isn't bad, but I have more shelf space than freezer space.

Danger!  Danger, Will Robinson!
Respect the pressure canner, and it will be your best friend.

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Demonstration, Not Riot

 Jumper:  Cabbages & Roses
Shirt:  Moschino (thrifted)
Tights:  Hue
Shoes:  Lulu Guinness
Glasses (readers):  Eyebobs (Velvet Underground)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: The View From Here

Dress:  Ralph Lauren
Tights:  No label, guessing Hue
Boots (not seen): La Canadienne
Glasses:  Eyebobs (Passion Nut frame)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Look Into the Camera

 Dress:  Emmelle
Tights:  Wolford
Boots:  La Canadienne
Cat:  Gwendolyn

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Chameleon-Like?

Top:  J. Morgan Puett
Skirt:  Junya Watanabe
Tights:  DKNY
Boots:  Aquaitalia

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Really, I Had Been Thinking About Pattern

Dress:  Piazza Sempione
Jacket:  Gucci (Mom-me-down)
Scarf:  Hermes
Tights:  Wolford
Boots:  Blundstone

Friday, October 4, 2013

Having One of Those Days

I can't tell if it's because I managed to get nine hours of sleep the other night or the crazy shift from Indian Summer to October rain or the fact that I still haven't been able to finish unpacking (from recent trips, from Europe, from reno), but I am having the hardest time doing much of anything today.  (Full disclosure: I did revise a syllabus, making six weeks into five, and edited some work for a friend this morning, but after I couldn't find my goggles to go swimming, it was all over.)

I've tried a little virtual retail therapy - only dreaming, not charging.
Shearling and leather clog boots in patent lime?  Maybe purple?  Violet?

I also had a little actual retail therapy - a wicker basket for my folding bike - but I won't get it for another month.
Cherry stain, not the pinkwash or whitewash.  I went classic with this one (although now I'm wondering whether I should've ordered the smaller one...)

I'm going to marshal my energies and make the Cook's Illustrated Best French Onion Soup.  It's about my speed for the day - hours of onions cooking in the oven.   But it's hard to get going when Gwendolyn is conked out on my lap.  It'd be a shame to move her now.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Past Tense

Forgot the camera cable, so yesterday's outfit comes to you today.
Yes, I like to be in the kitchen
Dress:  Yohji Yamamoto
Hat:  No label (gift)
Stockings (not visible, but have little dots on them):  Wolford
Shoes (in hand):  Ralph Lauren

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Yes, I Have to Work

Dress:  Junya Watanabe (Saks)
Tights:  Wolford
Shoes:  Trippen (ebay)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Animal Attraction

One of the things we looked forward to after our travels was getting some new animal companionship in the house.  It's been a little over two years since Max died, and we've definitely noticed the absence.  So we went on the Ladybird Sanctuary site and found these two new loves of our lives:  Mulberry (the white one aka Berry White) and Gwendolyn (aka Taco).


They're great cats, bonded to each other (despite different litters), and just so sweet to have around.  They're also great playmates, often combining grooming and fighting.
Not entirely sure what's going on with the video, but it works in slow motion, I guess.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mother-Daughter Communication

Let's dispense with the "it's been so long, blah, blah, blah" and go straight into what the biannual mother-daughter bonding shop looks like.

First, I meet my mother at the train station.

The guy behind me had what looked like aluminum foil hair.
Then we head to Bergdorf Goodman for lunch and a bit of browsing.  We pretty much share the same thing for lunch each time:  the Gotham salad (always) and the tea sandwiches.  I have to say, the tea sandwiches were a bit underseasoned and underwhelming this time.  Sometimes we have the deviled eggs, but mine are better (really).

Mom peruses the racks

The 2nd floor shoe department at BG
Other than some make-up (Hourglass primer, powder, and brush* and my favourite Kevyn Aucoin mascara), we found nothing at Bergdorf's.  I really like the department store, but I have to say, their designer collections were a bit meh this time.

We pause outside before moving onto Saks.
Saks seems to have a larger selection of designers, and they carry both Comme des Garcons and Junya Watanabe (BG doesn't have CdG anymore) as well as a lot of smaller, less established designers, which makes it fun to look around.
Shopping is hungry work, so we have a snack at Saks, sharing a piece of cake and the cheese plate.
Forgot to take the picture before we dove in

Looking down on 5th avenue from the restaurant; interestingly, the Bergdorf cafe we go to is in the basement.
My mother insists on taking a picture of me, and I insist on making some kind of face.
Then I take my mom back to the train station where I wait with her until she boards her train.  Yes, it's an indulgent day, but it happens only twice a year and always in New York (when I'm there to work Coterie).  It's just us sharing our love of style and beautiful things.  We have a common language and don't have to explain why something catches our eye.  It's a great mother-daughter shorthand.

*Note for Hourglass - if you're going to sell a brush to use specifically with a powder, it should fit inside the compact.  Just saying.