Thursday, December 31, 2015

Week Off Wrap-Up: Some Shopping

This is my last post of 2015! Time to reflect on some things? Nah, maybe just amuse myself. 
It was the year of purple hair for me! Other outstanding fun things included the 40+ Blogger Meet-Up, getting into Zentangling and reading a lot - all things that made me feel good and helped me stay sane. Oh, and clothes too - lots of shopping!

Making fans for my loved ones has been a really fun exercise this year. This is one that I made for Mom (guess what her name is!) for Christmas (more pics way down below if you're interested).
Although the Literary Stylings seem to have disappeared, I fulfilled my goal in 2015 to "Read More Books Than I Did Last Year." I read 34 books this year, up 2 from my record of 32 in 2014. That was a hugely fun and fulfilling goal, so I'm going to aim to "Meet or Beat" that for 2016. Making time for books is never a problem!

I have been thoroughly enjoying my days off this week, being solitary and introspective, recharging my batteries. Shopping is a zen experience for me, so on Tuesday, off I went for a wee shop.
I've enjoyed sleeping in an hour or two; however, this means sunshine on the stairs!

  • Sweater - Kenneth Cole Reaction, consignment; last seen here sweating in June
  • Skirt - Danier Leather, thrifted; first worn here in November vibing on the 70s
  • Shoes - Down to Earth Hadfield, Fluevog; last seen here for November shopping in Sidney

I strolled down to The Velvet Crease consignment store - they had a sale on! 20% off everything, with 50% off red dot tags. Gotta love a second-hand store that puts on a sale! I'm happy to spend it there.
Easy on-easy off clothes.

Although it's been sunny out all week, it's been brrrrr! cold!
I went for fashion vs. warmth. A fuzzy coat would have been nice, but after acquiring bags of goodies at The Velvet Crease followed by a stop at the liquor store for a dozen mini bottles of bubbly, I was sweating carrying it all home. Lighter is better if you're walking a long ways and lugging bags!

The stuff:
These are quickly turning into one of my favourite pairs of shoes. How did I live before floral Oxfords?

Nature bling:
These wood earrings are fun.

  • Scarf - Ralph Lauren, consignment
  • Earrings - Plum

And I did indeed have good luck shopping. 
Sandals out of season! These are mis-sized, marked a size 10 but fit like a 9. Including the discount, they were $20.80.

Not a mark of wear!
These are by JustFab, which is one of those online shoe businesses. I don't expect them to last forever, but they'll be nice for a couple of summers.

I waffled over these rust-red velvet (wait, did you catch that? VELVET) trousers.
They are probably late 90s/early aughts, and are by Plum, made in Canada. They are mid-waisted, and a straight leg, with a split on the inside ankle. They were only $17.60 including the discount, so I figured, "What the heck?"

Also in the pure insanity category: my new white shirt.
It's not technically white. The base is stretchy black netting, and the white part is cotton ribbon sewn into these bizarre geometric patterns.

It feels very "Tron."
It's by Cartise and was $24.00.

I go through denim skirt phases. I buy a whole bunch, then get rid of all of them. Rinse, repeat. I currently only have one denim skirt (this one), so time for my cycle to repeat.
"It would be better with a loose thread."
This is a lovely swooshy skirt, with a high waist and a big front slit - and pockets! Its label has been removed; it was $21.60.

This suit was the only red dot 50% off item I found. I paid $22.50 for it.
It's gorgeously made; really thick material, lovely lining.

Check it out.
It has a slight vintage vibe, but I think someone made this for herself. On the lining are faint lines from the stenciling tool.

There is no label or any evidence of a label. The only clue is the clasp on the skirt.
What? A Playboy bunny? What weirdness is this? Henceforth, this shall be my Playboy suit.

On Wednesday, I hosted my 3 nieces at our place, along with my mom.
We met up with L at a restaurant near his work for lunch and did our presents with my side of the family.

  • Blouse - no label/handmade, vintage late 70s/early 80s, thirfted; first worn here in November with vintage suede
  • Dress - Danier, consignment; last seen here in a grey mood in March
  • Booties - Sopranos Angelina, Fluevog; first worn here with mustard and black early this month

This is the last wearing of this blouse. Although I adore the style, the fabric and the quality, it has little pokey bits (I think from the interfacing around the neck) that are scratchy. I fidgeted all day in this. Gone!
I expressed doubts about keeping this dress last time I wore it, but I still love it. Staying...for now.

The stuff:
I liked the booties with the tops turned down this time!

  • Ring - gift from Cindy
  • Earrings - Glee 

Mom always finds me fun things for Christmas!
Let's go, Panthers, let's go! I'll wear this for Ulty in the spring.

Brush pens!
These are so fun to use! I love the extra colours Mom picked out for me.

Some awesome jewelry.
A Pandora bracelet, and Nordic Artistic Creations copper earrings. The necklace is Mom's, the last piece my dad bought for her on their cruise to Alaska just before he died in 1997. It's hematite (aka "Alaska Black Diamond" and is heavy (and cold, when I first put it on!).

And now, here we are, on the last day of the year.
A lovely sleep-in, then a stroll in the chilly sunny crisp day, down to the grocery store for some goodies for New Year's Eve.

  • Dress - no label, vintage 70s, thrifted; last worn here in March with copper
  • Boots - 1883 Lucchesse, consignment; last seen here earlier this month with my picador skirt

My favourite walking boots, and another favourite dress.
I look like an elf.
Got my tunes, got my bowler hat and my furry scarf.

The stuff:
Pops of red everywhere!

  • Earrings - Tania Gleave

If you're interested, here are the "in progress" of Mom's fan.
My theme was "all the things I got from you" for Mom. We've been going to the theatre together forever - our first play was "Nurse Jane Goes to Hawaii", so I included a ticket stub from that (based on a Led Zepplin ticket). Cat pawprints for our mutual love of kitties. The artist's palette from all the art I learned over the years from Mom - plus my love of colour! And stamp perforations - gawd, much as I'd love to forget it, I was hugely into stamps as a kid, did the junior stamp club thing, won exhibitions, etc.

I started with a fine pencil outline (above), then inked in the main features.
An arc of pawprints, with the Hawaii theme/ticket on one side and the palette on the other.

The ticket. Not a bit of it is accurate, except that we saw that play at the Royal Theatre.
We might have sat in the balcony, but I honestly don't remember. It was probably around 1980.

A session of ink-work.
I only have small fans left, so this one went quite quickly. I also worked on it for long stretches during football games.

I used my new Zentangle book to get ideas for tangling with felt pens.
The yellow was nearly invisible when I was working on it!
I like how the ticket looks.

Another chunk of work done.
A leafy border coming out of the paintbrush, some florals behind the palette, and some colouring done on the lower border and on the name.
The last session was more colouring.
I used a grey felt pen to do some shading.

A light pattern in the background.
And more contouring to make the letters pop.

A bit of shading around the tree and the ticket.
And there we go, all done. 
I hope you like it, Mom! 

Well, my friends, time to sign off on 2015. Wishing all of you a rocking journey in 2016!
"I'll be watching you."
I'm off for a quick nap, then getting ready for a small New Year's Eve shindig at our place tonight.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Bigass Holiday Weekend Wrap-Up: Emerald Sketch, Christmas, Travel, Shopping and Cat Pictures

Hey! Check this out! I have been immortalized in another one of Anne M. Bray's (of SpyGirl!) fabulous sketches! This one is for "Emerald" and she's featured me in my glorious green dress that I wore for my work Christmas party last month. We might be seeing this dress again soon! 
Thank you so much, Anne! I am so honoured to have a sketch! 
Okay, are you ready for lots of pictures? It's been a busy extended weekend of holiday and travel and shopping! 

First, a very Merry Christmas from me and Vizzini. 
"This is so undignified, woman!"
And a very Happy New Year from L, me and the cat.
"I told you, no more pictures!"
On Thursday morning, Christmas Eve, L and I packed all of our gear into a rental mini-van and drove up-Island to Courtenay-Comox and took the ferry to Powell River, a small logging town on the Sunshine Coast.

This is my travel outfit - I wore the same thing each way, all day on Christmas Eve and most of the day on Boxing Day for the return trip.
Comfy layers, but still a bit funky. The purple hair was funky enough for Powell River - I forgot how much people stare at my hair.

  • Dress - Kensie, consignment; last seen here in November for our shopping trip to Sidney
  • T-shirt underneath - Calvin Klein, not tracked (I only wear it around the house at home)
  • Boots - Indigo by Clarks; last worn here in November with a leopard 70s vibe

This was very dressy for PR standards.
The boots were fine for the little bit of walking I did.

Vizzini watched me getting ready.
"Wait, is that your backpack? Are you going somewhere?"
Snuggle time!
He always loves a cuddle. Um, not.

My outerwear:
The weather was supposed to be quite cold, so my thick Unsafe Ocelot and all my fur and woolly accoutrements.

I always take a bunch of pictures of Vizzini before we leave so that I can look at them when/if I miss the cat.
"Maybe Santa will bring me a new mousie."
 He did get new stuffed toys, but they are for supervised play only.
"A live bird would be nice too."
He can't be trusted around most things.

I swapped out my teal dress for this striped one for Christmas day.
L and I stayed at a hotel this year, as his mom downsized to an apartment. Fortunately, the hotel was a) right across from her place and b) a pretty nice hotel. You never know in PR.

  • Dress - Jacob, thrifted; last seen here (3rd outfit) in October for my birthday week

The stuff:
I don't like traveling with much stuff. I'm a minimalist when I travel.

  • Belt - Aldo, thrifted
  • Earrings - 5th anniversary gift from L

At home I'm a maximalist. I'm not sure how that happened.

Road trip! I always like to share pictures of where I live, for the readers who aren't familiar with Canada's west coast. I live on an island! A really big one, Vancouver Island (here, for a visual) - not to be confused with Vancouver the city, which is on the mainland. We live in Victoria, on the southern tip of the island. It takes us about 3 hours to drive to the ferry at Comox.

We started out in Victoria with sunny skies.
But low-hanging fog/clouds on the early part of the Malahat.

The Malahat is a narrow stretch of highway cut out of solid rock, with cliff faces on one side, and a drop-off of hundreds of feet to the ocean inlet on the other side.
The traffic wasn't too bad going up. Lots of fog still.

The moss-laden trees as we passed Goldstream Provincial Park.
At the top of the Malahat, looking back down to Victoria.
My house is under those clouds somewhere.

Streaky clouds as we zoom past the summit.
This is one of my favourite parts of the drive, and it's in the first half-hour. When we pass this coming home, I know I'm nearly there.
Bright sun!

Now we're past Duncan, a small-ish town.
That's the Somenos Marsh, a bird sanctuary.

My favourite big-handed gnome! I caught this shot on the way up.
You know what they say about gnomes with big hands...

More trees, more highway, past Nanaimo now...
Uh-oh, I see snow on those mountains up ahead.

Yup, we have snow on the ground here.
Nearly at Courtenay.

We stopped for gas in Comox and I took a picture of a classic local scene.
A giant truck loaded with snowmobiles! I have never seen snowmobiles in Victoria.

We made it to the ferry docks in plenty of time.
Ahoy! It's the mighty Queen of Burnaby!

No tree up on the top deck this year.
I'm just happy to make the ferry.
All aboard!

This was a very full run, but we got there early, so we loaded early.
Three lanes of cars on each side, plus the overhead extra ramps.

Now, leave the car and go above-decks to chill for an hour and a half while we cross to PR.
I always like to review where I've been.
Back there. I was back there, on the island.

Now I'm here, in the forward lounge, where we both read and listened to our headphones.
I liked the Christmas tree that the ferry staff had put up
We also recycle on the ferry
It's a tree that's a dress!

Sailing over, it's getting dark - nearly 4pm.
The walk on passengers literally walk off the ferry from the same exit as the cars.

We checked into the hotel and went to L's mom's place.
I spotted the nearly full moon out her windows, just above the tree line and the nearby shopping mall.

Louise's little table-top tree.
Perfect! And look at all those presents!

We had dinner with Louise, then met up with our friend Kelly for drinks. In the morning, L and I did our stockings. This is what I got!
I got:

  • A new coffee mug
  • A bunch of fancy mini vodkas
  • Lots of chocolates
  • Adele's new album
  • Graphic novels and books
  • Tea
  • A new Zentangle book 
My big gifts were under the tree, opened at his Mom's place. 

L had a necklace picked out for me in a vintage/consignment store we both like to visit, but didn't want to spend money on a piece I wouldn't like. I checked it out with him, disliked his selection, but spotted both of these awesome necklaces and fell in love.

I have been looking for a bigass turquoise necklace for forever! The largest bead is about 2 inches long, and this weighs a ton. This was $195.00. 

I also got this fabulous rock crystal necklace. 
This one was $95.00. These were in the same case (so consigned by the same person), and are likely handmade (they have the same clasp). They are both really heavy/chunky and not to everyone's taste, I know. Good thing I like gaudy, oversized, "look at me!" pieces, heh heh.

Christmas day was fine - the usual. We were up early to catch the first ferry home on Boxing Day. 
There she is - the mighty Queen of Burnaby, ready to take us home!

After our Sunshine Breakfast, we were ready to zoom back down-island home.
The weather had other ideas.

Yikes! It's not looking good in Courtenay!
What is this white stuff on the road?

Thank goodness, it cleared up north of Nanaimo, and aside from a few rain pockets, it was smooth and clear (although cloudy) all the way home.
I like that big tree on the side of the road.

Hey, did you figure out what they say about a gnome with large hands?
He wears large gloves!
Did you think I was going to say something else? Get your minds out of the gutter!

I like this bridge just outside of Duncan.
Low-lying clouds and rainy vistas.
At the top of the Malahat already!
Way more traffic coming down than going up.

These mountains with the snow on them are actually in Washington State, to the south of us.
And home!

L and I hung out on Saturday night and spent time with Vizzini. On Sunday, I headed to town to get groceries, have lunch with Elaine and do a little thrifty shopping.
Trying-on clothes.

  • Sweater - Le Chateau, thrifted; last worn here for Valentine's Day in February
  • Dress - Danier, thrifted; last seen here in November with ruffles and brocade
  • Booties - Dirty Laundry, thrifted; last worn here a week ago to finish up my holiday shopping

It was rainy and chilly all day.
 Even with my outerwear layers, I was happy to get home and warm up again.
"Peace out, yo!"
The lovely ladies of Roberta's Hats steamed out the lumps and bumps in my hat for me. Thanks, ladies!

The stuff:
These boots are the best for wet weather.

I have had good luck with jackets in the past few days! Elaine and I checked out Flavour Upstairs.
This jacket was really not my style, but something about the Hawaiian print, the quilting, the cute bomber-jacket styling...
It's by Vero Moda in Blue and was $19.99. I like the orange contrast piping on the zipper.

I really love this black sparkly coat.
This is by Club Monaco, and it's incredibly well-cut and well-made.
A slight bell sleeve with a touch of bubble hem - note the sparkly texture of the fabric. This was on sale for $22.95.

It had a thread hanging down when I was taking the picture.
"What ho! What is this little tasty tidbit?"
The thread was removed.

We also stopped in at Heart's Content in Fan Tan Alley, where I found these black lace anklets.
They were $10.95 and are by Pamela Mann. I'm not sure how I'm going to wear them yet.

Today, L and I went for brunch, then braved a few stores. His mom gave us each some money to buy ourselves "something nice".
Sparkly, yet low-key.

  • Lurex top - no label, thrifted; first seen here in November when our trees fell down
  • Skirt - Strawberry Jill, thrifted; first worn here in September with ruffles and lace (and these same boots)
  • Boots - Mini Babycakes, Fluevog; last seen here (2nd outfit) in November with plaid

I liked this outfit. I would wear this to work.
We spent the afternoon in "normal" stores - it was a little crazy since today counted as the Boxing Day stat holiday for a lot of people (L included).

Outerwear? Outer-there!
This coat was a little thin to be wearing with a sleeveless top, but I had my fuzzy scarf and gloves.

I went to Dots while L shopped for CDs. Although I don't shop there anymore (I prefer second-hand), since the money wasn't mine, I figure Louise (or her money) can shop wherever she likes.

I scoped out the super-cheap clearance section. What! Another faux-fur crazy jacket?
In pale grey with skinny cuffs? Um, yes, take my money. This is by Kimchi Blue and was $9.99.

I also really liked this kimono-style jacket in a soft grey-lavender shade.
It's by Urban Renewal and was made in the US from recycled vintage fabrics.

Check out the groovy fabric.
This jacket was on clearance for $4.99.

L needed some new clothes, so we went to the Guess store (they are funky enough for him). I spotted this cool floral draped blazer in the extra-50%-off clearance section.
I really liked it, so he bought it for me (aw!). It was $45.00.
I love those giant roses, and the touches of turquoise and yellow. I am thinking of all the cool things I have that will go with this.

And you, my friends and readers? How was your Christmas? Did you get anything cool?

I will be back later on this week! I have a few adventures planned for my week off, as well as a fab New Year's party.