Thursday, December 31, 2020

Last Post of 2020: New Year's Eve Sweater-Dress and Andromeda Flashback; The Village Pt. 2

Happy New Year's Eve, my dear friends and readers! This is my last post of the year, and what a heckuva year it's been. I'm focusing on looking forward, but we'll still be doing a Flashback on a fabulous pair of Fluevogs (sending the year out on a high note), and I'll be wrapping up my Christmas decorations with the final pictures of the now-populated village, complete with vampires, orcs and all kinds of fun folk. 

I dressed for New Year's Eve early in the day so that I could have enough light for pictures. I also flat-ironed my hair so that it would stay nice all night. 
I thought about really going over the top, but this dress so perfectly encompasses what I need right now. 

  • Dress - Opening Ceremony, thrifted; purchased here for $22.95
  • Shoes - Celestial Communication Andromeda, Fluevog; last worn here in March with plaid and peplum

It's 100% wool, and it's so soft and warm to wear. 
It's a sweater-dress, so it's comforting to me, like wearing a hug.

The pattern does all the work, and hides a multitude of chocolate sins junk food I have nothing to hide, dammit, I look GREAT (see? it's good for my mental health). 
The eye-boggling pattern represents this past year so well: all paths were winding and confusing at times, and I often felt overwhelmed. 
But the colours are good for me: aqua/turquoise for looking forward with positivity, away from the black that drags me down. 

And dammit, I'm going to put on a sexy dress, slap on some make-up (I'm wearing a LOT of turquoise eyeshadow!)...
...and a pair of heels and I'm going to make myself feel better. 
This year, it really hit home for me: Life is Short. Wear the Clothes. 

The stuff: 
These are one of the sexiest pair of shoes I own (I didn't wear these all day), and we'll be having a Flashback on them shortly. 

Heavy bling: 
I find comfort in the weight of heavy (clip-on) earrings, without worrying about having to wear a mask with them. 

  • Silver earrings - Brenda Schoenfeld, 1992, vintage mall
  • Fulvia Ring - Wendy Brandes
  • Poison ring - Karen's
  • Snake ring - 1986, BC Museum Gift Shop
  • Volcano ring - Mom's, vintage 70s

I also find comfort in wearing other women's jewelry, from my own home-grown vintage, to my mom's ring (dubbed the volcano ring, as it reminds me of a volcano from the side), to my dear Karen's ring, to the ring by my blogger pal, Wendy. 

Flashback: Celestial Communication Andromeda, Fluevog

Like many of my Fluevogs, these were bought for me by L on one of our anniversary trips to Fluevog in Vancouver, this time here in March 2017. They were brand new at the time, and so were full price at $439.00 (it took about 2 years for them to drop to the final sale price of $199.00). 
They are leather, and the main part is silver. 
I love the cutouts in the swooping black strap over the vamp. 

Note the little buckle, although I use a shoe horn to slip these on (I have narrow feet). 
The heels were 3D printed and have an actual split in them at the top and at the bottom heel. I'll have to pay for 4 heel-caps instead of two when I have to get them re-heeled! 

I wore them right away in March 2017 out for dinner. 
Yeti coat Flashback here. We went out for dinner and I walked several blocks. For a high heel, these are very comfortable. 

I wore them to work in April 2017.
They are shown off nicely by the skinny cropped polka dot pants. 

Jazzed up with pink and black in June 2017.
I haven't worn that skirt yet this season - it's due! Flashback here

You might recognize these ginormous pants from this February 2018 outfit, as I just wore them a couple of weeks ago.
That pink suede top was passed along. 

I also just wore this cashmere skirt, seen here in November 2018.
The shoes look quite different when they're worn with darker hosiery. 

Here they are with regular nylons in March 2019. 
My coworker Emily called me a "smokeshow" in this (I felt so cool). 

And this is the last time I wore them, in a "Wear Nice Clothes Around the House" post in March of 2020, near the start of the pandemic when I was figuring out how to navigate this new world. 

Mathy stuff: I don't wear these shoes that often because they are high, but they are so gorgeous I don't mind (plus, I didn't buy them, ha ha!). I'm at $54.88 per wear, but you know what? I'd pay $55.00 for these, wouldn't you? 

Do you have a favourite from those outfits? I kind of like them all! 

The Village - Part 2: Add the People, Tell the Stories

Here we go, my friends! The last of my long-hidden Christmas decorations! I'd like to thank you all for looking at them (as no one other than Nick, L and our cleaners have seen them), and for your fun comments. Yeah, I know, I have a lot - that's what I get for working in a year-round Christmas store for 11 years! - but  I'm so glad I decided to haul them out and set them up this year. It's been a balm for my soul. 

Here's the bar again, fully set up. As always, you can click any of the pictures to view them slide-show style and/or see them bigger.
The main part of the village is on the second/middle shelf, with the bottom shelf (above the drawers) being the arrival of the three magi, and the church battle. And the circus. I wanted tigers. 

Regarding the figures, they were painted by L and I. L has been painting since he was a kid, from the early 80s. I started painting figures after we met (around 1996), and quit around 2008 when I started blogging. 

Here we go on the village section, starting with the Bakery on the far left of the shelf.
You'll note the bent piece of hedge forming a front yard, plus trees and shrubberies deployed for visual interest. 

I put a Santa on the chimney, added a gold lamp post and the Post Box. 
There's a customer near the Bakery, and he's wondering what's going on. There's been a call for musicians at the Gazebo! Above, we see one fellow with his mandolin (and sword, he must be very excitable), and a lady with her horn, ready to blow (she also has a sword, but she seems much more rational). 

Here's what they're looking at. It's a jam session at the Gazebo, man! Tell your friends to bring their instruments! There's dancing too! 
Not everyone fit in the Gazebo, especially since that self-appointed conductor in the yellow is hogging the front, waving his staff and book about. Some people are so bossy. 

Three musicians crammed in the back. 
Two more mandolins and a bagpiper. Dude, you brought a bagpipe? I guess that's cool, it's Christmas, after all. Maybe let it rest for a song or two, though? 

Dancing girls twirl around. 
Spin until you fall down! It's super-fun! 

Inside the Gazebo, we have a lady with her harp, and an orc with his three drums. He must be in a marching band or something. That's a lot of drums. 
We have another harper and mandolin player squished in there too, plus some more musicians jamming along on the right side. 

That mandolin player looks slightly intimidated by the woman with the electric guitar. I hope she brought her own amp, and I hope there's an outlet! 
More trees, and another gold lamp post. 

Lots of folks came out and just enjoyed the music. The wizard just waved his hands around a lot (hey, he's wearing my new Phool vest!), and stared at the dancing girl in her short purple miniskirt. Dude, avert your eyes.
Tom Bombadil in his yellow boots must be grooving with his eyes closed, as he doesn't see the vampire Goth girl asking him to dance. 

This woman prefers to play along quietly on her mandolin near that round shrub. 
Aw, honey, you are good enough! Go on and join them! But you do you.

Next to the rave is the Town Square, home of the Christmas tree and the Town Hall (and the clock). 
There's another bendy hedge on the right, creating a lane beside it. 

What is all that noise? exclaims the woman in white (she must be the Mayor). 
Oh, it's just some folks having fun with their instruments, nothing to worry about - I'm sure they have a permit for an event of this size. 

Well, these fancy ladies, won't stand for all that hullaballoo, so they are going home in a huff! 
Also, they are not very happy about the Lady of the Evening who is talking to the Alderman. 

She's giving him a sample of her wares - boob flash! 
Now, you know you have to stick to Maiden Lane, Lucy, we've discussed this. The dude in the purple and white is getting an eyeful too. 

Elm Avenue, and this fellow seems concerned. 
Well, Badger, I think that is Peter in the green robe, but I can't be sure. 

These two people are having a lovely catch-up. 
Happy Yule to you as well, Fergus! I quite like your blue robes!

There's a bit of a ruckus going on at Overlook Drive (which was created so that we can access the light switch behind the bar). 
The giant bench is where visitors to the village have to check in. Looks like we have another musician (note his horn) in the yellow robe. Hey, I heard there was a party at the Gazebo! Also, I hope the Village Inn is ready for the three magi - they're just going past the graveyard.

Using a couple of the wall pieces, I made another street, adding the sign, and a few trees, one of the mini flower pots and more street lamps. 
Let's get back to this ruckus. That dude in the back looks ready to knock some skulls together. 

No, really, I'm here for the rave, see my horn? My assistant here has my passport. Daniel, put those bags down for a minute. 
Oh, sure, everything's in order, sir. We can't be too careful, though - I've heard that the vampires are back. 

Maiden Lane is bereft of Ladies of the Evening, but it's having its own little drama. 
We have your classic Romeo and Juliet situation here - the parents don't approve of those two crazy kids in the middle. Eleanor (in the yellow) is off to complain to her friends (the huffy bakery ladies) about that dancer/musician her son wants to marry. 
Maybe her husband will get along with Ahmed and Francesca, Angelica's parents. They certainly dress snazzy - that family looks way more fun. 

The Village Inn is always one of my favourite section. I used the holly corners and the other two sections of wall to build a courtyard. 
More trees deployed to give a sense of depth. 

At the entrance, we find the other Lady of the Evening, Julie, with her "friend" Alphonse (nice pink hat!), putting their names down for a table. 
Yes, it'll just be a few minutes. Please put on a mask, and provide your tracking info, and maintain distance from the other guests. Oh wait, this isn't the Real World - ha ha! Your friends are here and are waiting to spend the afternoon drinking and carousing! Join them! 

The lady in purple (that's a self-portrait I did many years ago, btw) is selling second-hand books at the entrance, and the bartender is polishing a glass. 
The server in red is taking her order over to one of the tables. 

We have two tables with food arrayed on them. 
Looks like a party...

But uh-oh, there's a vampire in the woods! 
Someone help that poor woman - she's bleeding! I'm sure one of our armed villagers took care of him, or at least sent to the church for help. Nothing to worry about! Anyone want another round of jalapeno poppers and beer?

Here's the full shelf - click to make it bigger. 
And now, the bottom shelf.

We'll start on the right side, with the church. 
Trees deployed to make a nice composition, along with two lamp posts. 

But what's going on here? 
Oh, thanks goodness - bring your hook and help me bash some vampires, Freddie! 

Hail, good fellows! Could you please assist us with your ninja and/or wizardly skills to rid us of the vampires. Please check in with Mother Superior Furiousa to see where she can use you.
Yeah, I've checked my books, Gerald, there definitely should not be vampires in the graveyard. Hmmm, although I think one of them ran off to the Village Inn. We should check in with them soon. 

Sister Mary of the Poky-Staff is barely holding them off! 
Sign me up! I'll just stow my bags and we'll get started. 

Arg, it's the sexy vampire woman again! She's so hard to resist. 
I swear, Sister Ellen, this thong is right up my bum. How can you fight with that long sword? Aren't you constantly nicking it on the gravestones? 

The dogs running around in the ruins are yapping away. 
That's because there's another vampire hiding behind that cross! 
Turn on the gate lights, it's getting dark! 

Father Ignatius, throw that potion of holy water! Quickly! 
Also, that white wolf doesn't look very friendly - throw it, man! Hurry! 

Open the gate, the Musketeers are here! 
Um, hello? Could you just open the...Aramis, go see what's going on. No, I'm going to wait here in case they open it. Okay, take Porthos with you, he's just going to bother me if he stays. Just go! 

Rar! I'm going to bite these do-gooders! 
That villager doesn't see the dude sneaking around in behind. 

Just wait till the moon comes out! 
Moonlight reveals all kinds of details!

There's a deer back there near the hedge, an eagle on the tree (on the right), and bird on the hedge. 
There's also an owl near the fence, and that's Radagast the Brown in the back, taking a little detour from Middle Earth to chill with his animal peeps. 

Everyone run, Wolverine is here! Ah! He'll kill us all with his adamantium claws! 
OH, not that Wolverine. You meant an actual wolverine. Well, just leave him be behind the woodpile, and mind your own business. 

Look a circus! Who doesn't love a circus? Let's stop and have a look, can't we stop, just for a bit? 
We have a crowd of bystanders here, ready to enjoy some people doing weird things. Also, TIGERS. 

The jester is juggling his flaming sticks! Woo, look at me, this is totally safe! 
The two strongmen ignore him and heave around boulders and do handstands. What a bunch of show-offs. They could use your help with the vampires in the village, you know. 

Welcome to my circus. Do not pet the tigers. 
Suzy is the keeper of the tigers. They are all treated like family and don't bite anyone (except for ill-behaved rude people). Also, don't swallow swords at home, kids! 

Everyone loves a circus. 
I'm sure they got loads of tips. People are so generous and supportive of the arts. 

Over at the woodpile, the introverted woodsman Bernard and his husband, Joe the blacksmith, chill out with their dog (which is a fox) and cat (which is a lynx). 
They keep to themselves mostly. You never know who's a vampire in this neighbourhood. 

Their friends Lynn and Arwen guard the covered bridge and warn the village of anyone coming to town. They also have a dog (it's a wolf) and sometimes come over for dinner. 
They enjoy playing Scrabble but really only go for Bernard's apple-blackberry pie (it's delicious - the key is lard in the crust). 

Their friend Kathleen is the first to meet one of the magi, Fahad, who's being carried by two of his friends, both of whom are paid fair wages and choose not to wear shirts, although they do like the matching pants. 
He brought his retinue and some treasure - he's heard that there are vampires, plus some needed improvements in the village (he's going to rescale the giant bench to real person size). 

I do love a man who's not afraid to admit he's lost, even when he has a map. 
Oh, sure, you can go this way, Fahad, you just took a wrong turn back in Toronto. 

The second magi, Beyonce, is confronted by the sad spectacle of beggars. She calls her besties over, Taylor and Ariana (they're twins), to help them. 
Bring my treasure box! 

But, my lady, we can't just give them money, says her red-robed advisor. That doesn't solve the root problem. 
Oh, for goodness' sake, Wendell, stay here with them and find out what they do need. Help them, by whatever means necessary. Money is no object.

She has a lot at her disposal, like camels.
Well, duh, it's Beyonce. Of course she has camels. 

The last magi is Joxter the mighty, who's brought his horse and a full treasure chest. 
We'll help too! Maybe we can afford a new building next year? 
Hm, yes, somewhere we can all be safe and sound. With no vampires! 

But until then, let's all go to the pub and get drunk with our friends! 
Drinks are on me! 

Well, there you go - that was fun! I remember why I enjoy the village so much. 

I'll be taking everything down over the next week, and I might be making some changes to what's actually displayed in our home on daily basis. I will for sure be leaving some of the lights up - fairy lights make me happy. 
"You know what makes me happy, Woman?"

A warm lap, the extra pillow, a ray of sunshine, kitty treats, tuna and hugs and cuddles with the Woman and the Man, right, Vizzini? 

Well, bud, I wish that for you for 2021. 
"I accept. now come snuggle with me - you look warm."

I'll see you on the other side, my friends. Here's to 2021 - may it exceed our expectations! 
Rock on, into infinity! 

Happy New Year!