Month: April 2010

Winter 01

I’m going through a bad bad fashion period.  I hate everything in the shops.  I even flicked through a magazine at the hairdresser the other day and hated everything in that.  It all appears to be a head-on collision between blonde hair-red lips-blackblackblack 90s thing, Big Audio Dynamite bowler hats, and some dregs from the late 80s with those bloody YSL tapered pants thrown in for good measure.  Yes it was cool when a couple of people did it on The Sartorialist and Garance, but come on, pleated and tapered pants went out of style for a reason.  So, I have been despairing for inspiration.  Style.com wasn’t cutting it, ditto Style Bakery, and even the local street fashion has gone off.  Imagine my delight when I was watching a documentary today on WWII, about women working, and found a delightful wide-legged pant and skivvy arrangement on a woman working as a postal worker.  I wish I could find a photo for you.  I didn’t want to waste any time so hopped on Polyvore to get something down before it left my head.

Winter 10
It’s a little bit 70s in some ways, but they had to derive their looks from somewhere too.  And it’s inspiring in a way, because without those women taking up work while the men fought in the war, none of us would enjoy the privilege of being able to choose our own path today.  Perhaps it would have happened eventually but I don’t think nearly as fast.  When the men came back, the women refused to return to being housewives.  It’s hard to believe that was only 65 years ago.

I’m proud to get my inspiration from these women, in more ways than one.
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A public service announcement.

I feel I have to comment after seeing a clip on TV about ‘eco-friendly’ bamboo fabric and how soft it is.  As something of a textile-nerd, nothing makes me more annoyed than seeing myths about certain fabric perpetuated.  Let us not speak of my blood boiling when I hear someone say “oh I like satin but not silk” (or vice versa)..  Which brings me to my point.

Rayon, viscose, tencel, modal and goodness knows what else they’re calling it these days are all the same thing.  They’re all also made from trees, from wood cellulose.  Some older kinds may not be, but by and large, all those fabrics come from tree wood, but naturalista’s, don’t get excited – they are completely unrecognisable from the wood from which they came.  It would be like getting excited over the water used in the production of your plastic water bottle.  Rayon is heavily chemically processed and is classed a semi-synthetic.  True, that means it’s semi-natural, and is quite a good fabric, but never mistake it for a natural fibre.

Now repeat after me, bamboo fabric is rayon. It’s rayon using a different wood-chip.  A bamboo-chip.  It is no more natural than that plastic water bottle, and it’s only claim to being eco-friendly is in the fact that it’s made from a highly renewable resource.  But it is not, by any stretch, a natural fibre.  Mind you it is more biodegradable than cotton, but I’ll save cotton for another rant (being one of my least-favourite) fibres.

That said, I’m not a naturalista – I love viscose, it’s versatile, when made well extremely drapeable, and great in humid weather.  There appears to be a lean by people towards ‘natural’ fibres, without an appreciation of the processing and resources required to produce them.  I wholeheartedly blame marketing and it is up to us, the consumer, to educate ourselves, even if that means bursting the bubble of artificial ideals.

Arty photos of my jacket and all you can eat meat.

Mr G txted me today and asked if I wanted to go out to an impromptu dinner with him and his workmate.  I’d had another one of those uni days that involved not sitting down for six hours (I’m not kidding), and no food between 6am and 2am.  The impromptu dinner was in the form of an all you can eat meat style at what I can only guess was a Spanish place because it was called La Parillada.

This was the perfect opportunity to wear my newly refashioned jacket, so I took a bunch of arty shots before I left.  They’re only arty because I found it really really hard to photograph it well.

I’m really pleased with how it came out.  I wore a solid silver heart pendant my Mum bought me in Vietnam.  The jeweller did all sorts of copies of famous pieces – I’m glad she didn’t buy me any fake Tiffany’s.  Apparently this is a replica of a Georg Jensen piece but I don’t mind because it’s not recognisable as anything.   I found it vaguely reminiscent of dog-tags which fit in with the militaristic vibe without being too literal.  I don’t have a nice Communist bob so pinned it all back into a bun and channeled some sort of efficient female Major in the army meets Russian ballerina.  I do like how Benefit Moonbeam photographs, that was a nice surprise.

Dinner really was all you can eat meat.  When you finished one platter, you could request another.  We only made it through two between the three of us, and that was a damn fair effort.

The sauces were tomato, mild, medium, and very hot.  Mr G’s workmate and I got stuck into the very hot like there was no tomorrow.

Basic yes – but you just cannot get better accompaniments to all that meat.  We had such a good time – I think it’s important to remember to do this stuff, especially when your career is running you ragged.  I completely forgot about my day and just stuffed myself silly.  But I suppose now it’s time to get back on the portion control and running bandwagon.  I don’t mind either, but sometimes it’s just wonderful to through caution to the wind and eat up a storm.

Thrifty jacket refashion.

I don’t really shop at Witchery because I’m too petite for their long clothes, but I did see this jacket and love it recently, because I’m a sucker for military styling.

I don’t have $229 to spend on a jacket (and if I did I wouldn’t buy it from Witchery anyway, I’d be on The Outnet pretty quick), but I did have an old military jacket that I’d bought from Dotti about 3 years ago.

Then I found a seller on Ebay that sold sequinned appliques.

They are just gorgeous!  After that I sourced some fabric glue – it’s important to buy proper fabric glue and not rely on PVA – when you wash the garment, PVA will peel off.  So then I glued them on, and had to weigh them down for four hours until they were done.

Et voila!  The applique’s were about $3 each, and the glue was $4.  A wardrobe update for $10 isn’t bad at all.

Decluttering Monday.

My decision to embrace Autumn went full speed ahead today.  We got rid of our old bed (Snooze very nicely collects it from you), and while I was downstairs, I came across this lamp with a note attached saying it worked great and to please take, so I did.

I love it immensely.  There was a dilemma over whether to put it over the bed, or put it over the guestbed, and then Mr G cleverly pointed out that we can move it when guests come.

This is the guest bed.  Ikea are full of geniuses – the whole row of drawers pulls out to form a king size bed.  Perfect for people like me who live in apartments that aren’t quite a studio, aren’t quite a 1 bedder.  It would be a 1 bedder if I had a fourth wall.  But that’s the living-the-converted-warehouse-dream for you.  I’m a bit over the dream.  The guest bed has never looked this good before.  Everything is a bit pastel-y in my place right now, but currently all of our bedlinen was gifted by very nice people, and I can’t complain.

Speaking of gifts, Mr G’s sister made us this as an engagement present.  I love it.  The light in here is dreadful due to the end of summer, so it didn’t photograph as nicely as it looks!

I know I posted about these before, but I do love things in gilt frames.  And they look so pretty!

If Socrates were alive today, we would no doubt be sharing decluttering tips.

Mr G got right into the spirit of things and decluttered the fruit bowl of ageing bananas.

It’s taken all day, and there’s a huge pile in the hallway, but the first proper 2010 declutter is almost over.  Except for under the kitchen sink.  Let’s not talk about it!

Embracing Autumn.

My sister and I moaned for a good hour tonight on the phone about the loss of summer, mangoes, and how we were terrible at dressing trans-seasonally because no matter how hard you try, you always end up too hot or too cold.  Then Mr G and I went to dinner at a local Greek tavern that we’d never tried in spite of living here for four years.  I wore my best mourning clothes (that is, I changed into some black stacked wedges, and put a short grey trench on and changed my Friends necklace to a silver heart one my Mum gave me), which were an exercise in monochrome that reflected my mood.

Behind the curtained door in the Greek tavern though, was warmth, Greek music, friendly staff, and a lovely menu.  On the table was wine and keftedes and veal with eggplant and potatoes and bread.  It was warm, the food was tomatoey and meaty and minty, I felt parented by it.  I didn’t take photos, it was empty in there tonight and they were so lovely I didn’t want them to think I was a food critic!

Dessert was baklava and when they came out with complimentary dessert wine, I decided it was time to get over myself and embrace autumn.

First I had to google “embracing autumn” because for all my good intentions, I wasn’t entirely sure how this would go, and then I came up with a few things.

  1. Greek food.  Greek food is all about embracing autumn.  It is warm and homey but without the heaviness or expectation of big meaty stews that typify winter.  I am fragile people, I am not yet ready for winter.  A stew would be rushing me.
  2. Cardi-coats.  I’ve been planning to make one for ages – I have the fabric, I even have a mockup done.  Tomorrow may be the day.  A coat again would be rushing me, but a knit coat would ease me into things.
  3. Reading books in a warm blanket with hot tea.  It’s not quite that cold yet but I am willing to be progressive and avant-garde.  I just need to learn how to relax enough to read a book without feeling guilty about the many things I should be doing.
  4. Apples – it’s the beginning of the season!
  5. Reorganizing your home.  I spend a lot more time indoors in winter, I should have a hardcore tidy and declutter in preparation for it!

There’s also a 6 and that is that I really need to buy some clothes.  Guess whose local St Vinnies is having 50% off tomorrow!

Goodbye summer.

My walk in the harsh autumn light and cold breeze made me feel sad for summer.  I was married this summer, I went to Tahiti for my honeymoon, I did two placements, one here, and one in Cambodia.  I ate many mangoes.  I discovered Cambodian mangoes.  It was one of the best summers I’ve ever had.  I think I wore black today because I’m truly in mourning.  Also because I’m from Melbourne and when we can’t be bothered or don’t know what to wear, we wear black.

Last spring, excited about the impending warmth, I made my 09/10 summer dress.  I don’t get to make clothes much these days, and average about 2 garments a year!

It wasn’t a thrifty fabric choice – it was $50, but well worth it because I wore it all summer.  It was my official resort wear for Bora Bora, especially at dinner time.  Say what you like about rayon – when it’s done well (blended with cotton at a heavy weight), it looks beautiful.  It was Vogue 8469 if you’re wondering.

Mr G took this photo as I was getting ready for dinner at the resort.  The shoes were a thrifty $20 from the Mileno Warehouse sale – they always have 5 pairs for $100 – great if you go with a friend.  They’re a bright turquoise leather with a stacked wedge.

I miss summer.