Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Adventure Day! A Careful Trip to Mom's

Some days I miss being around people at work, and other times  I quite enjoy the leisurely feel that a mid-week day off brings. Today I had a very careful adventure - I took the bus to Mom's house for a visit. 

This calls for a special outfit, of course, and includes something I have owned for over twenty years and only worn once in an outfit. Once!

  • Top - Mr. Mort, vintage 60s, vintage store c. 1996; once worn here in October 2011 with a skull scarf
  • Trousers - Soaked in Luxury; first worn here in March with an orange blazer
  • Shoes - Sam Edelman, thrifted; last seen here in August 2019 with an amazing skirt
  • Cardigan (below) - Kenzo, consignment; last worn here (2nd outfit) in November 2019 for Book Club at Caro's

I won't keep you in suspense (hee) - it's the top! It's a cream sailor style top, with detachable silk organza bow. It buttons up the front.

I had it  in my "vintage/archive" section in the hallway coat closet for years, and when I cleaned that out last year, I packed this top into my spring/summer stuff, to force myself to wear it. Why was it archived? I maybe wore it once, back in the late 90s!

I had to remind myself, "Things aren't special just because they're old - they have to make me happy when I WEAR THEM." I emphasize that because unless I am hanging onto something purely for a sentimental reason (like my mom's mink-collar coat, or one of my dad's sweaters), I try to wear everything I own, at least every few years, even the vintage stuff.
And seriously? This top? So cute! Look at that sailor flap on the back!

I thought the leopard cropped trousers worked well with the black and cream of the top.
Plus, pockets! Their wrinkling did not bother me too much, and I was happy with how comfy they were for hanging out in.
Although it went up to 15 degrees today, I wanted to be ready for chilly breezes so I wore this long black cardigan.
I love the collar of the top over the cardigan. I felt vaguely pilgrim-ish, or perhaps like a Pierrot?

The cardi is a nice thick cotton blend, and the front is longer than the back, with deep pockets.
The cuffs say "KENZO Paris" in rubberized ink and have white stripes.

This ended up being just right. I did some walking, some sitting and some bus-riding in this outfit and was perfectly comfortable.

Y'all will forgive my digression on this top - as I said, it's just been sitting unworn in a closet, so I took a really good look at it. I bought this for $5.00 at a vintage store downtown that was around in the mid-90s to early 00s. Many of the older vintage garments, shoes and hats I own are from that store.
I got a kick out of the post I wrote when I first wore this in an outfit, back in October 2011 (here), because I created the outfit as a result of one of my readers putting it to me as an outfit challenge - and it's Lorena, of My Every Day Wear (link here)! She'd remembered it from here, in May 2010 (10 years ago!!), when I modeled it as part of my "Never Seen" series of things I didn't regularly wear. Lorena is my oldest blog-friend - we officially go back 10 years, honey! She is still posting all these years later!

As for dating this, I am fairly sure by the style that it's from the mid-60s. It has a very Barbra Streisand-ish vibe about it (as I noted when I originally modeled it), as she wore a sailor top that she designed herself! to perform at the Cocoanut Grove club in August-September 1963 (link here, 'cause I love). This was likely one of many "homage to" or knock-off versions of a sailor look after Barbra's.

My top is by Mr. Mort - look at that awesome label.
According to the Vintage Fashion Guild, this is from the 60s (link here). There are no other tags or labels on it anywhere, so I'm guessing on the fabrics, but I'm pretty good at it after all these years.

I think the weave is a silk-cotton blend - it has a light sheen and slubs in it, and it wrinkles a bit. You can see the weave here. It has good weight to it; it's not a light blouse.
The silk chiffon black bow has squared off snaps under the collar, so you can remove it completely. The top also has two snaps keeping the top of the row of front buttons done up, a nice detail.

It's definitely quality. The top is fully-lined, and the main fabric is backed with a layer of muslin. So much beautiful detailing.
Also note the reinforced thread holding the lining to the top layer (upper right). I am definitely going to style this up more often!

The stuff:
I had to wear walking shoes - why not be stylish? These are leather - I love the little ball studs.

Steel bling:
Actually, only the solid cuff is steel.

  • Cuff - thrifted
  • Cage cuff - Bauxo
  • Silver/onyx ring - Tocarra, vintage fair
  • Shield ring - Nine West
  • Earrings - Glee

Following the successful distance visit with Nick and Karen on the weekend, and after talking to Mom and making sure we'd be keeping a safe distance, I planned a trip to go visit her at home.
"Yes, yes, leave me in peace, Woman."

That painting is by my Mom - it was featured in the juried Sooke Art Show several years ago. I love it - it's one of my favourites by her.

Vizzini, are you going to miss me?
"I'll miss your warm lap."

I bet he spent the day sleeping in the sun.

Today is the first time I've taken a bus since the pandemic lockdown.
All the buses are currently free, and you have to enter by the rear door. Most of them have the driver's area taped off. None of the buses I was on had more than 8 people on at a time. For long stretches, I was the only passenger.

Downtown is deserted in areas that are normally busy. This street would be lined with cars, and have a ton of traffic on it.
The bridal store is open by appointment, but everything else is closed. I love these old buildings - the orange one has remnants of the ads painted on the side from the early 1900s.

Waiting for my connecting bus to take me to Mom's place. She lives north of the city, near the area I grew up in.
That dude totally spied me taking this picture. The Hotel Rialto is a heritage building and it's gorgeous inside (also a solid restaurant). The building with the clock tower is City Hall, also heritage.

Partway out of town, the bus stopped near one of my favourite buildings in town, Tang's Pagoda. It's currently a cannabis store (hello, I am from Canada), a Thai masseuse and an electronics repair shop. The home behind it, which is partially obscured by the shop facades, is actually an Edwardian heritage home (read about it here).
When I mentioned to Mom that I'd passed by here, she reminisced about it when it was Tang's Pagoda, a clothing shop owned by Jack and Bessie Tang, where she and her sister (my aunt Marion) got fashionable new coats with swing cuts, and fur collars, including one that her mother lengthened in the sleeves and hem with the addition of some faux leopard. Sounds very snazzy!

I found some info on the Tangs here and Jack's obituary here (he sounded like a lovely man). Mom remembers that it was one of the few places where you could get kids clothes in the late 40s/early 50s - check it out, I found their opening ad here from 1947!

Another bump of nostalgia as we went past Panama Flats, a wetland/agricultural park (good for birding, here).

Panama Flats- you took the picture from close to where Gram’s parents [that would be Mom's grandparents] bought property when they emigrated in 1912. They bought it in the summer time and when they drove out to show their friends, they couldn’t find it. The property was covered by water. Mom and Aunt Lil [my Gram's sister] owned the property until the 1960’s when they sold it to Saanich on condition it stayed a flood plain. 

Well, how cool is that? My family helped this become a park!
I have memories of my family (Mom, Dad, me and my brother Dave) going ice skating here in December some time in the 70s, with the headlights of our VW van pointing on the ice and we skated in the dark for what felt like hours...and then lost all of our skateguards in the grasses! This was a much less populated area then, practically the country!

Although it's built up a lot more now, there are still farms all over the place. I found a sheep farm!
After I got off the bus, I had to walk about a kilometer to Mom's, through some of this rural region.

Big sheep.
 Little sheep!
 So cute!

I had the path mostly to myself.
 As I climbed the hill, I could see the mountains of Washington State to the south.
And a bunch of abandoned cars in a yard. Stay classy.

The wild Easter lilies were out.
The baseball fields were empty.
 I saw some groundskeepers, and a security guy, plus a few people on bikes.

And then I was at Mom's!
She kept the garage door open so that I could dash through and use her second bathroom. I didn't touch anything, but it was a long trip to get to her house (close to an hour), and I couldn't hold it.

The tulips are out just as the daffodils are fading.
Mom pointed out some of the plants that were originally from her childhood home - her dad always took his favourites, and she also brought some from my childhood home. I loved seeing the coral bells!
 Mom put "real clothes" on for me - even real shoes! So proud of her!
 We sat out in the sun on her back deck  - she'd washed everything down for me.

I peeked inside the sliding door to her art studio.
Recognize this top one? I took the picture it's based on (here).
Mom does lovely pictures of nature - I am a fan of the minis, including her necklaces. A painting as a necklace! It's wearable art!
Works in progress, and various paintings from different eras. The bottom one (black frame) was done here (last picture), when we spent the day painting at the Coast Collective in July 2013.

Oh, gosh, this is Grandad's old chair.

Grandad’s chair was a gov[ernment] castoff [Victoria is the capital of the province; lots of government industry here - S.]. They were cleaning out an office and had the chairs on the curb to take to the dump. Your dad found it and immediately phoned grandad [Mom's dad] to come pick it up. The habit of grabbing cast-offs was called rabbitting. The fireplace lights and tiles in the Lavender house basement were also acquired this way. Shortly after that they opened store to sell their excess.

The Lavender house is the house I lived in from 1971-2? to when I moved out in 1986. We had the most insane 70s stone fireplace you ever saw.
Aw! Memories.

I also had flashbacks over these two pictures. The one on the left is rather anachronistic, but it's such a classic piece. It's a sheet of copper that's been etched/exposed from the surrounding black paint. Love the vintage frame. 1950s?


The Chinese painting was done in 1958. I was in grade 8. I chose this design because I had a dance costume just like it. My teacher was Mrs Palmer- the only teacher who ever thought I had some art ability. 

Well, way to go, Mrs. Palmer! I totally nailed the era.
I'm embarrassed to admit...I made the dogwood picture on the right! We did it in art back in oh...1975? Grade 4? The dogwood flowers and leaves are clay - the yellow centers of the flowers were created with a garlic press. My elementary school had a huge art room, including a kiln, so we did a lot of pottery - it was the 70s!

I stitched the "stem" on burlap, which was then wrapped and taped? glued? to cardboard and then put in this frame. Oh, lordy. I can't believe Mom still has that - she reminded me that I wrote something about her looking beautiful at my Aunt Lois' wedding on the back, so it's likely this was a Mother's Day gift.

I also spied this painting of our old dog Schultz, a schnauzer.
This is based on a photo that was taken in a mobile photo studio that parked in our driveway (also some time in the 70s) and did family pictures. Of course we included the dog! Mom painted this for her dad (my grandad, he of the chair above), as he loved Schultz. I'm guessing she reclaimed it when he died in 1997. I think the trophies are for stamps - we are a stamp collecting family.

Since we couldn't actually be together, I set the camera timer and ran behind Mom on the lawn.
Looking badass in her Kate Spade sunnies.

I was facing this tree, which was filled with all kinds of birds - I also saw a little lizard!
This is a Pileated Woodpecker! (proof here).

I admired the neighbour's tulips.
 Very pretty.

And after a couple of hours, it was time to go.
It was wonderful to catch up in person!

As I was leaving, Mom spotted something in the garden.
"Curses, the Paparazzi has spotted me."

It's Rodney! I've heard many stories of him. He belongs to another house, and Mom often visited with him.
"Oh, my reputation has preceded me? Very well, you make take my picture."

As I strolled back towards the park and to the bus stop, I saw this gorgeous vintage car.
Wow, what a great colour.

And further down the block, this gent cruised by.
Thank you to the communications worker from Telus!

I wonder if this gent owns the blue car too?

Vizzini was ecstatic to see me when I got home.
"What? You were gone?"

He was lethargic and his fur was soft and warm, from sitting in the sun. We've moved his post out onto the deck now that the nice weather seems inclined to stick around.
"Thanks. I guess I'll keep you."

I hope you enjoyed my little adventure!


  1. That top! So deliciously feminine and it works perfectly with these trousers. Superb.

  2. I loved joining you for a visit to your Mum's! You look so much like her and obviously inherited her artistic talent by the way you put outfits together. Her studio is fabulous and I love your Grandpa's captain's chair.
    How cool are those vintage cars, Rodney (and the woodpecker!)
    Loving Downtown's architecture, what grand buildings and a perfectly blue sky to show them off.
    Your Mr Mort top is wonderful, such an iconic 1960s design and perfect with those snazzy trousers.
    I Vizzini loved giving you a good sniffing when you got back! xxx

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Vix! I loved being able to capture some of her studio. It was a lovely day, seeing all kinds of things. Our downtown architecture is amazing - I love those old buildings. I'm glad I dug this top out. Ha, yes, Vizzini must always investigate!

  3. What a beautiful trip to join you on. Thank you so much for letting us peek in. I even enjoyed the bus ride. Your mom is artistically gifted, you've inherited her visual awareness and style big time. The Mr Mort top is so sweet and I think it could be a real wardrobe workhorse. Easy to gussy up a plainer skirt or trousers with.? I'm so guilty of "keeping" vintage clothes for "good". What are we all waiting for? Today is good enough! Anyway, regards to your mom. She looks healthy and happy. My mom is more than 2km away so we'll have to talk on the phone. We not permitted further travel at the moment. Meet ups afterwards are going to be spectacular! Have a lovely day, Sheila.

    1. Thank you, Juliana! Mom's art is amazing, isn't it? I love how calming it feels to look at it. Yes, I agree on the top - I would love it with a full skirt too! And I've been guilty of the "what are you saving it for?" trap! Aw, sorry you can't travel at all - I'm so glad Mom's in the same city. Happy week to you, my dear!

  4. You twenty something shirt is so lovely and I like the big bow. How cool you had it for such a long time. I agree about the importance of clothes being actually worn, I'm like that too, I'm not a collector, I like to wear the items that I have. The leopard pants you paired it with look fab. I like wide trousers, they are more comfy and somehow more fun. The black cardigan is nice too.

    So nice that you got to visit your mother even from a distance it must have been nice to see her. I didn't know your mother was an artist- and such a gifted one. Her paintings are so beautiful...how nice she makes wearable art too. A painted necklace is a fab gift. I made a couple of those in my days too. I don't really have art supplies with me now, but I think I have a couple of watercolour pencils so I might use them and try to paint something.

    1. The big bow fills my heart with delight, Ivana! I'm so glad I pulled it out to wear this season. I love the trousers too - so fun.

      I know, it was lovely to see her in person, even if it was from a distance. Yes, Mom's always done art - we grew up doing it too. I'm happy to hear this has inspired you to do some painting!

  5. What a lovely post Sheila, and how fab to see your old neighbourhood, your old house and your mum's amazing paintings and art work - and yours!

    Your mum looks very elegant and I loved her shoes and jumper.

    Your vintage blouse screams sailor blouse to me and it looked real quality - just like you! I'm so glad you got to wear again and what could be a more special occasion to wear it than going to visit your mum?

    1. Thank you, Vronni! I never lived in this house - just Mom and Dad - but I'm really happy I recorded some of Mom's home. Isn't her art fabulous?

      She will love reading all these comments. :) Hi, Mom!

      Yes, it's a total sailor blouse - I'm looking forward to wearing it with my JP Gaultier sailor pants! This was the perfect occasion to debut it.

  6. What a fun top! It's so good you could give it another wear, but it's the leopard print pants I like the most!

    It's good you got to go visit your mum as well. She is such a talented artist! it's so hard doing social distancing, and I really miss my parents but with the kids it's safest not to go see them. They are also telling us we should stay in our own suburbs and not drive too far - plus the mayor where my parents and sister live has official said people from Brisbane aren't welcome there any more so video calls it is until things change!

    1. Thanks, Mica! I love the trousers too - they're neutral colours...but the pattern is anything but!

      She really is, and I've really missed seeing her. I can understand with kids that you don't want to risk it - I hardly see anyone other than L. We've had communities here too that have said, "We don't want you! Stay home!" Fortunately, we can still travel within the city here.

  7. Thank you for the road trip! I'm especially appreciative of the sunshine and blooms - we just had a dusting of snow overnight (yikes!).

    Thank you for also sharing your mom's gallery. I very much like her work and I can see that she didn't just pass on her pretty face, but also her creative genes! Lucky girl!

    I was loving the Mr. Mort sailor collar blouse and the wonderful leopard pants and then you added the cardigan and ... zowie! The perfect finishing touch.

    Enjoy your lovely sunshine and keep well.

    1. Thanks so much, Nana! Yikes! Snow?? Sending some warm weather and sunshine over to you, stat!

      I'm glad you enjoyed seeing Mom's studio - she will be so chuffed at all these nice comments. I know, good genes!

      Aw, thank you - I felt very inspired and proud of myself when I thought of the cardi!

      Thanks so much, Nana! I hope your week is going well.

  8. Your Mr. Mort vintage top is gorgeous. That label is too cute. And I love that the bow is detachable and that it closes with two snaps at the top. I have several tops and jackets which have that. I loved joining you on your trip to your Mom. It's almost surreal having public transport mostly to oneself, and to see normally busy town centres practically deserted. My office is right next to Antwerp's busiest shopping streets, and even after all these weeks, I still find it weird to look down and see only a handful of people walking or cycling. The story of Tang's Pagoda is fascinating, and how wonderful is that opening ad! And I'm really admiring your Mom's paintings. What a talented lady she is. That painting in your lounge is incredible. And your granddad's old chair is the office chair of my dreams! xxx

    1. Thanks, Ann! I was thinking of you and Vix when I did the detail shots! I love the details on well-constructed clothing.

      I'm glad you enjoyed my little jaunt - it was so weird on the bus! And seeing all the empty streets downtown was definitely an eye-opener, and I've been limited to my immediate work area, drugstore, grocery store and home, mostly. I was so excited to find that info on Tang's Pagoda - especially that ad.

      Mom is going to be so full of herself with all these compliments on her art, ha ha! But yes, she is really talented. I'm so proud to have that painting of her.

  9. Love the blouse, naturally. It's a super fun style. So glad you were able to visit your mom. My sister and I are roommates so I see her every day and I see my parents maybe once or twice a week, but that's it. Such a strange time!

    Your mother's artwork is lovely. She is very talented and imaginative. And I love your dogwood flowers!

    Thank you for such a delightful tour! <3 Carissa

    1. Thank you so much, Carissa! That's cool that you have your sister - I miss my brother too. It's been so bizarre.

      She will greatly appreciate your kind words, thank you. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  10. Oooh, SAILOR top! I have an utter delight for sailor clothing! I am envious!
    Sooo nice for you to see your Mum. I'm glad you were able to see each other safely. Her art is wonderful (as was your piece!) - what a talented Mummy!!!
    I've not seen my family at all- I do miss them! Today, we went for a 15mile cycle ride around the country lanes near us. It was SO good to go somewhere else and it was so nice to be able to cycle safely and barely see any cars or cyclists! We also managed to buy fresh asparagus from an honesty box outside a farm- CBC and I both cycled home with bunches of asparagus bulging out of our cycling pockets at the back of our jerseys! It looked really funny!

    1. Isn't it lovely, Kezzie?

      Thank you! She is a very talented artist. It was so good to see her after all these weeks. How lovely that you got to go on a long bike ride, and even get fresh asparagus!

  11. Love the fancy sailor outfit! I find outwear challenging with those kinds of tops but the cardigan looks great with it. It kinda veers you away from fancy sailor territory into fancy painter territory, both excellent looks. :)
    So nice that you could find a way to visit your mom. Her artwork is great, so talented- thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, so much, Ashley! Yes, I agree - I used to just throw on any old jacket, but now I have "expectations" for having a coordinated piece of outerwear! I was really pleased with how well the cardi went with this outfit.

      I know, it was just so cool to see her. Glad you enjoyed it.

  12. The Mr. Mort blouse is super cute, and so well-made! They really don't make them like that anymore, at least not for mass consumption. It works perfectly with those pants.

    Thanks for taking us along on your visit to your Mom. I wish I could do that with mine, but she lives in another city. How nice that she has a studio in her house, and her paintings are lovely!

    1. They really don't, do they, Shelley? I loved wearing it - it will be worn again!

      Glad you enjoyed it - I'm so glad I went, and I'm lucky she lives relatively close. Thank you - she will love the compliment!

  13. What a lovely trip to your mother! And what a artist she is! It looks like a beautiful area where she lives. And indeed a fabulous car, the blue one!

    1. Thank you, Nancy, I'm happy you enjoyed it! It's a lovely area we live in; we're very fortunate. I love cool cars.

  14. A picture, as the classic saying states, is worth a thousand words and the touching image of you and your sweet mom several feet apart in the same shot says an unending amount about the world we're experiencing right now.

    I really hope that both of you are doing as well as can be at the moment and that you have a serene second half of April.

    Autumn Zenith 🎃 Witchcrafted Life

    1. I love that one, thank you! It took a bit of testing to get the perspective right - I'm really two meters behind Mom.

      We're doing good here - I hope you guys get some warm weather soon! Thank you, Autumn!

  15. I love your outfit, especially that top with that big removable bow.
    Your adventure photos were fun to go through and read about. You saw so many things. My faves were the sheep and the cat resting amongst the greenery..
    It's nice to see your Mom and her room full of art and memories.


    1. Thanks so much, Elaine! Isn't it a cool top? And I've had it FOREVER and hardly worn it at all. Tsk, what was I thinking?

      I'm glad you liked it. I think the picture of Rodney the cat hiding in the grass is my favourite. It just makes me laugh.

      Mom says hi! I loved being able to take pictures of her studio. Will call you soon!

  16. Shiela, I can’t see the first 5 photos for some reason. But, oh the vintage top is special, isn’t it?

    I do love a good wander around the countryside. The sheep are so cute.

    And I adore your mum and her art studio. I didn’t know your mum was an artist. I love that beach shot and the one of the bird.

    A painting as a necklace! What an incredible idea, I’ve never heard of that before! X

    1. Thanks for letting me know, Jess - I've re-added them, and they seem to be working. Yes, such a special top!

      Me too - being in nature is so beneficial. Isn't Mom awesome? She's very talented!

  17. Lovely outfit and such a quality top, love its shape and details and the cute sailor style!, glad that you rediscovered it!. And it goes nicely with your trousers and the jacket, so I think it's a fab ensemble, you look elegant and cool!
    Love to have a look at these buildings and landscapes, it's amazing to see the places where other people live!. Your mom looks really fabulous and talented and I'm glad that you could visit her and enjoy the sunshine!.

    1. Just reading your post about the cheap fast fashion, and my mind went right to this top, which I knew you'd appreciate. Thank you, Monica!

      I know, it's so neat to see the environment here, city and country. I am so proud of Mom's work - she loved the visit and all the attention from this post!

  18. Another cute outfit Sheila! Thanks for the tour out to your Mom's. It looked like a beautiful day out for you. You and your mother are so much alike. Loved her sunglasses too!

    1. Thanks, Anna! It was a highlight of the past couple of months, for sure. I get some of my style from her!

  19. Oh I certainly smiled at seeing that old blog post and comment :) And seeing that gorgeous sailor top looks as good es ever!
    What a trip to go to your mom's place. I am curious as of why the area you passed by is called Panama flats.

    1. I know, I did too! Isn't that awesome?

      It was an adventure, for sure! I have no idea! I looked around online, but there is no mention of it. It seems to have been named that for nearly 150 years, though.


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