Monday, December 21, 2020

A Pop of Cheer; Grey Woolly Boot Flashback; and Big Tree: Noah's Ark, Birds and Straw

Whew, I made it! Today/Monday was a totally dead day at work - I cleared a few things up ready for the New Year, but mostly I just wandered around the office, chatting with the few people who were there.

I found it hard to muster up enough energy for a full-on Holiday Outfit, so just a wee pop of red cheer today, but I do have a big Flashback on my grey woolly boots. I've also got more (yes, more!) Christmas decorations to share off the Big Tree: my Noah's ark collection, some birds and a small assortment of animals made of straw.

Outfit time! My pop of red cheer is this lovely 100% cashmere skirt. 
As it's the solstice, it's dark when I leave for work, and dark when I walk home. Today, we had SNOW! It's very wet snow, and it's mostly slushy and slippery, but snow! We only get snow here maybe 2 times a year, if at all. Not all of Canada is covered in snow all the time! (Just most of it).

  • Sweater - Nor; last seen here (2nd outfit) in March with ORANGE LEATHER SHORTS (sorry, they made me do that)
  • Turtleneck - Jacob, thrifted; last worn here in November, layered under a dress
  • Skirt - John Laing for N. Peal, vintage, vintage fair; last seen here in December 2019 with pink and denim
  • Boots - Prepare Volunteer , Fluevog; last worn here in January on an office snow day
  • Coat - Mallia, consignment; last seen here (2nd outfit) bundled up for outdoors Book Club in November

I needed softness, no sharp edges, all sweater-y things. This grey open-knit sweater is layered over a black sparkly turtleneck top. 
I added the necklace at the last minute, groping for it in my jewelry box in the dark while L and Vizzini snored away, and I'm glad I did. I needed a mid-chestal region focus.

The skirt is vintage and is so thick and soft and warm. 
I've never seen a cashmere skirt before, so when I found this at a vintage fair a few years ago for only $23.95, I grabbed it. 

Masked up - this is a dark red one, all rose petals. 
I only spoke with maybe four people all day, including popping down to give my courier a package for shipment - brrr! I was happy to get back up to my nice warm office. 

It was raining this morning when I left home - I'd heard there would be snow at higher elevations (we are at sea level) up-Island, so I geared up appropriately. I'm really happy I wore this baby alpaca/wool coat - it was toasty warm.
I'd hoped that my gloves/hat/scarf would be sufficient like this, but I ended up having to wrap my silk scarf around my head and knot it at the back to keep my hair dry, and my face warm. 

Like this! 
I was just a pair of glasses peeking out from under my hat, once I had my mask on!

  • Hat - vintage, thrifted, Vancouver
  • Scarf - Elaine Gold, vintage
  • Leather/cashmere gloves - Roeckl, consignment

The stuff: 
I do not wear my good shoes out in rainy or snowy weather - I wear my Doc Martens. These wooly boots have been with me for several years; we will have a Flashback on them shortly. 

Sparkly bling: 
Holy hand grenades, it's an alien! This is such a funky necklace. 

  • Necklace - All Saints, gift from Dominique
  • Silver/gold cuff - JPL, vintage fair
  • Fang bangle - Alexis Bittar, consignment, Sidney
  • Ear-balls - Swarovski, consignment
  • Silver/crystal ring - Soul Flower
  • Silver/lapis lazuli ring - Wendy Brandes

My coworker Milo gave me this mug today - aw! 
Merry Christmas, Milo! Only the finest hot chocolate shall be drunk from this! 

Flashback: Prepare Volunteer Grey Wool Fluevog Boots

I bought these boots on final sale from Fluevog online here in July 2012 for $199.99 (they also came in a reddish leather and black leather). They are the Prepare Volunteer boots, although I've misidentified them as Prepare Steady and Prepare Guides over the years. It's hard remembering all those names! 
Like all of the shoes in the Prepare Family, these are cork inside (squooshy) and a hidden platform - the heel is really only an inch at the most. Due to this, they are extremely easy for walking. They are leather covered in WOOL, however, so I don't wear them in the rain, ever. They're starting to get worn - they were attacked by moths a few years ago, but they still look pretty good. 

Although I bought them in July 2012, I didn't wear them until December 2012, as I was in the middle of my 30 For 30 For 12 capsule. I saved them until December (my colours were black, grey, blue, pink, red, purple and shiny!) so they went perfectly. 

Are you ready? I've worn these a LOT, so see if you can guess how many times. 

I wore them nine times in December 2012, which was the most of any footwear during any of the 12 capsules I did that year. 
This was my first wearing of them, along with this groovy half-skull skirt from Smoking Lily. 

I gave this wrap coat thing to Vero a few years ago. 
I had that dress for ages before I gave it away (Vizzini chewed the ties off the cuffs). I recently saw the same dress at the Velvet Crease and I was temped to re-buy it - it's a total jammy dress - should I??

I used to try to use my camera's flash for the stair pictures - this is why I don't.
Flash! Ah! I look terrified. 

With a glass of wine, ready to go to the theatre with my mom and my family. 
I loved that purple silk skirt - it had silver chairs silkscreened on it, but the waist was so big I had to pin it or it would fall off. 

Some purple and turquoise. 
I'm having deja vu on all these old pieces of clothing. Most of these are looooong gone. 

Remember when we all wore waterfall cardigans? 
"I do - they look dated now."

I gave that sequined tank top to Yvonne, who looks stunning in it. I do still have that blue skirt, though! 

Still in December 2012, and there's that skirt and the waterfall cardi again. 
I still have that belt. 

This was an outfit that was meant to be covered by a coat. 
My old leather cuffs make an appearance. 

And this is the last outfit from the December 2012 capsule. 
My hair underwent quite a change that month, getting noticeably lighter! 

And here I am in February 2013, as a blonde! 
Pairing up the boots with some Smoking Lily stuff - I was REALLY into them for a while. I still have that obi. 

This was a dinner and board games outfit from April 2013. 
I'm showing off my cat socks that I wore in the house. 

I did a Monochromania week in September 2013 - this is the all-grey outfit. 
I still have the jewelry! 

I wore this to the big Vintage Expo at the Crystal Gardens with L, also in September 2013. 
That was a lovely vintage wool skirt, but it was just too big of a swath of black. 

I wore the boots with this vintage suede fringed skirt a couple of times, this time in November 2013. 
I miss that skirt, but Vizzini wreaked havoc on the fringe, eating large chunks of it. 

I also miss this skull cardigan from March 2014. 
It was a Plum find, and ended up getting fuzzed out after a few years of wear. 

An early attempt at pattern-mixing, here also in March 2014. 
I might still have the belt. 

With my studded-shoulder sweatshirt again in April 2014. 
I think I still have that yellow wool skirt. I need to wear some more yellow soon. 

A fun look with a men's tie, in October 2014. 
Jacket Flashback here

Chartreuse and grey is an unusual colour combination. This was in November 2014. 
I'm wearing the same grey tights today - they have lasted really well. Dress Flashback here

Another outfit where the clothes were mostly obscured by a coat (my teal Desigual one, if you were wondering. 
This was in December 2014. That's one of my cashmere sweaters that I tend to go through: they're great, then they get moth-holes, then I wear them around the house. That was a snakeskin-printed leather skirt that now lives in Yvonne's closet. 

Ooh, weekend hair, I remember that! This was in February 2015. 
Still have that necklace!

Preparing to go shopping, also in February 2015, but first a cuddle with Vizzini. 
"That's as it should be."

I'll be doing a Flashback on that Dolce & Gabbana skirt at some point. 

This outfit was from May 2015. 
Blouse Flashback here

I like this casual outfit from September 2015. I wore that sweater around the house for a couple of years. 
The wrap wool skirt unfortunately gaped open all the time, so off to the donate pile it went. 

Another outfit from September 2015, that was also layered under a funkier coat. 
I wore that top for years and years; same with the orange suede skirt. 

Y'all will recognize my amazing blue fringed vintage coat, here in November 2011.
Same skirt as above. 

Wearing my Yeti jacket (Flashback here) to work in January 2016. 
I still have that beaded top, but it didn't get worn this year. 

My stained glass dress - seen in February 2016 - deserves a Flashback. 
I've had it for ages, and still love it. 

Another wearing of the D&G skirt in February 2016. 
That's a previous attempt at a mustard blouse - I have a newer one now. 

My little snuggly guy needed some loving here in March 2016.
"I'm actually trying to eat your earrings, Woman."

I still have those tights, but that skirt sadly ripped. 

I love this sleek look, also from March 2016. That's another one of my cashmere sweaters - I think it just got tosses, after being worn around the house for years (it was very hole-y). 
I still have the skirt and tights! 

There's my Buffy leather slip dress (Flashback here). 
That's such an easy outfit.

I wore the Buffy dress with it again here in November 2016, in an all-grey ensemble. 
I wore that cardigan down to just a bunch of moth-holes - it was a home go-to for ages. 

There's that awesome suede skirt again, in February 2017.
I let go of the blouse too (it was a very thick flannel). 

I wore this to Vancouver in March 2017 for our annual anniversary trip. 
Yeti, ORANGE LEATHER SHORTS, and what else?

We are so fabulous, darling. 

A low-effort look in October 2017 (I'm probably going shopping). 
I finally let go of that coat this past year - it went to Carolyn, I think. 

You might recognize this baby blue jean jacket from March 2018. 
It's the only thing left from this ensemble.

I love this look from April 2018. 
I still have both the top and the dress (they're both designer) - I'll get around to doing Flashbacks on them one day. 

There's today's sweater, worn over my Buffy leather slip dress in October 2018 for Thanksgiving at Mom's. 
Yeah, I'm just your typical crazy auntie. 

This was a simple outfit for theatre with Mom in December 2018. 
"I just want to be seen."

I still have that purse, but I let go of the dress and belt. 

Ah, the Muppet skirt! That will be making an appearance at some point when it's cold enough. This was in February 2019. 
I wear that sweater around the house now. 

There's that black dress again. I wore this out for brunch with my coworker Simona in December 2019. 
I was very overdressed for the diner. 

And here's the last time I wore these boots, on a Snow Day in January. 
I wasn't happy with this outfit, so I rotated that sweater into my at-home wardrobe too. I haven't worn those brocade jeans yet this year (tsk). 

Mathy stuff: If you guessed 44 times worn, you win accolades and kudos from me! That drops them down to a very respectable $4.54 per wear. When/if these wear out, I'll definitely be investing in another pair of grey boots - these were totally worth it, and such a workhorse in my wardrobe. 

Now...ready for some more decorations?

The Big Tree: Noah's Ark, Birds and Straw Animals

I love animal decorations, and I've been saving up the bulk of them to share. First up, my Noah's ark decorations. Did you know that there is this whole subset of Noah's ark collectors? I didn't either. 
This is a large ornament and is my only true ark. I see Noah steering with the large oar on the back, and then some giraffes, rhinoceroses, lions and elephants sticking their heads out the sides. 
The other side has two dolphins jumping over the waves. 

There's an angel figurehead on the front. 
This was $24.95. 

This is a nice grouping of animals; I like their faces. "All creatures great & small" reminds me of singing in church when I was very young, and also of James Herriot's novels, which I loved (and still have). 
We have a dove, a giraffe, a zebra, and Noah riding on an elephant. 
I like Noah's sandals. This was $12.95.

We start getting a little more abstract in the Noah designs now...This one's a totem pole? I think Noah should have made the ark bigger. Maybe he got the measurements wrong, like the Stonehenge in Spinal Tap? Heh heh. 
We have Noah at the bottom with his staff and the dove, with a giraffe on top of him, then an elephant on that, then a zebra, then a lion, and on top...a bunny! 
I like their tails hanging down. this was $17.95. 

We used to sell many of these - this was $14.95 and says "Christmas around the world" on the banner around the hot air balloon. 
"Sorry, the ark materials were on backorder, so I went ahead and built a hot air balloon. That's cool, right? "

I like all the animals mashed into the basket. We have a bear and an elephant and a flamingo (you can see them in the above pic). 
And a kangaroo and joey. 
A giraffe, a hippo, a lion and a tiger. Awesome detail on these - look at that pretty holly border and the holly on top of the balloon. 

I also have Noah's airship. As you can see, Batman is supervising it. 
It has a pair of rhinos, giraffes, elephants, and polar bears on top of the balloon section, and bears poking their heads out a window. 
Noah and two camels on the other side. 
The little propellers move up and down. This was $29.95. 

And this last one is my favourite - this was $42.95 (these were not cheap!). This is all hand-made - no moulds, all the pieces sculpted by hand. I went through all six of them when I unpacked them and picked out the best one, after I methodically looked at every single one. I did that with all of my ornaments - there are always subtle differences when you start to look. 
Anyway, I love the yellow life raft (I guess the ark sank!), and there's Noah and the dove in front, with two kangaroos looking rather anxious. There are the giraffes in the middle. 

On the back, we have a pair of camels and two sheep. 
I get a kick out of the turtles. 

I also love the two gnus with their wide horns. I don't have any other gnus on my tree! 
The penguins also make me laugh. These are also my only penguins, which seems like an oversight. 

Onto my birds, specifically, this collection of resin parrots and wild birds. When we saw these in the showroom, we gasped. But they retailed for $14.95 EACH. That's a lot for a bird. 
I loved them so much, though - I really pushed for them, and we got them in and they did sell, although slowly. It helped that I bought one of every one [does the math in her head], although that was over $160, not including my discount. I paid these off sloooooowly, since I only made around $12/hour then. I always had a big bag of stuff on continuous layaway.

Parrots! Look at these beauties! 
They are so beautifully painted. 

There is a parrot with open wings (the two pics above), and then there is a parrot with wings down. 
Isn't it just perfect? 

The blue and yellow one is pretty awesome too. 
These are all variations on macaw parrots. 
The faces are so perfect. 

Doesn't he look like he's going to bite my finger?
The green is my least favourite, but it's still really cool. 
He's called a Military macaw, I guess because of all the green. 
The fades and blends on the back are astounding. So much work! 
I also have two toucans. 
This one above has a broken foot, so he was half price - he also has a chip on the tip of his beak (other side). 
I just love the colours! 

This is an Easter bluebird, I think. 
They eyes, the wings, so much detail.
Right down to their feet! 

I think this might be some kind of bunting. 
I don't know anything about birds - I just looked at some images online. 
If you know what these are, tell me in the comments!
I'm pretty sure this one is a tit (link). 

And now, my straw decorations. These are made from flattened straw (like hay), that is dyed and cut by hand, and then glued, one piece at a time, onto a lightweight form. Again, SO much work in these! They were all from $14.95 for the big ones, to $3.95 for the smallest. 
I like this tiger - he's a very Tigger-ish tiger. 
You can see all the edges and how they've been cut to look like fur. 

This is another one of my frogs. 
He has a good face. 
Lots of detail on the back too, with his stripes of colour and spots. 

I liked the face on the pig. 
Something has her attention. 

I was enchanted by the seahorse. These were so incredibly fragile - all those spines sticking out. 
The straw's dyes also were not good in the sun - I remember that most of the seahorses faded as our nautical display was near the front windows of the store. 

The fish were very popular - I bought all the colours we had. 
Black and gold, very elegant. 

A bigger red one, with touches of gold. 
He's looking right at you! 
And I have a small blue and gold one too. 
It's the same size as the black one. 

The last one I bought was the dragon. 
I love the scales on the back and the wings. 
These were the most popular of all of the straw decorations - we sold dozens of them. 

And there you go! Do you have a favourite? Are there any other animals you're hoping I have on my tree? 

Holiday time! I'll continue to post every couple of days over the next two weeks - it's not like we have to travel this year, so I'll be back soon. Thanks so much for dropping by! 


  1. Oh, those little fish are great!

    My work-from-home desk is right in the window, so I spent the day suspiciously watching the heavy rain turn into snow - and then it even stuck right at the end of the day! I have to admit I was pretty happy I didn't have to leave the house today.

    1. Aren't they cool, Rachel?

      Oh, gosh, that SNOW! What the heck! It was pretty while it lasted, though.

  2. Your decorations are so lovely Shiela!

    I'm also loving your red cashmere(!!) skirt. How cool you have snow where you are, Shiela. I get excited when it hails here on Melbourne! X

    1. Thanks so much, Jess! I know, a cashmere skirt! We don't get hail much either - I'd be excited for that too!

  3. Love the sweater and red skirt look! The straw decorations are so cute, especially the dragon!

  4. If you ever get tired of those boots (which you won't) I'm first in the queue. I love their funky shape, they're ace! Talking of ace the cashmere skirt is gorgeous, what a lovely colour and much as I loved the flashbacks once I'd seen the Muppet skirt everything else went out of my head, what a wonderful thing.
    I love the Noah's ark but the birds, fish and animal decorations are fab. Forget Xmas, I'd have them up all year round especially the tiger! xxx

    1. Aren't they so fun? They are getting a little worn, sadly. I love the cashmere skirt - it's so soft and warm. Oh, the Muppet skirt is amazing! I can't wait to wear it again, but it's SO HOT I have to wait for the coldest days.

      I love all the animals - wait till you see tomorrow's batch!

  5. I love todays outfit, the red and gray together is really good. I really like the dress-wrap thingy that you gave away - so unique and adds so much interest. Happy Holidays! Lise

    1. Thanks so much, Lise! I'd forgotten all about that wrap thing, to be honest! It was too small and hard to wear over other clothes. Happy Holidays to you - thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  6. That's a great skirt; hard to believe it's old (vintage). Noah has an airship?! Very cool.

    1. I know, right? Vintage is the best - it doesn't have to look old-timey or dated.

      I love the airship!

  7. I think your skirt is a great pop of red. How adorable is tat mug from your coworker!. I can't imagine displaying so many interesting things in your home. Thank you for sharing the Noah's Ark Collection, So sweet.

    1. Thanks, Sam! I know, I was so touched - I am usually showered with gifts from coworkers, but no one was onsite this year.

      I've loved having all my decorations out this year, glad you enjoyed them.

  8. Thanks for sharing your tree with us. I love them all! I too used to have a layaway going all the time where I worked. The best part was when things went on sale that were on layaway they were pulled and marked down too.

    1. Hi, and thank you, Claudia! It's been my pleasure, so fun remembering everything and thinking about my old job. Layaway is awesome...and dangerous! :)

  9. My favourite this time are the parrots. I have a special place in my heart for parrots, I used to be a parrot owner. Those Macaws ornaments are gorgeous. They are so well painted, they look alive. The other bird ornaments are very pretty as well. Many of them look so real. I love it! I might need to get some bird ornaments myself.
    I really like your outfit as well. That red midi skirt is gorgeous. You look fabulous!
    The boots are so cool and it was great seeing all the ways you wore them.

    1. I LOVE the parrots so much. That is so cool you used to own them! I know, they are so realistic-looking.

      Thank you so much!

    2. I had so many fun adventures with parrots in my childhood. I will perhaps buy one again when I settle in a steady job. They are wonderful pets but as they are extremely social, they require a lot of constant care and attention to be happy, especially if you own a single one.

  10. Just a pop of red is quite an understatement for that magnificent skirt! I love how you let it do the talking by combining it with blacks and greys. And I'm loving the necklace as a "mid-chestal region focus". I really couldn't have put that any better, so I might just steal that from you :-) The boots are a delight, and I'm not surprised you've worn them 44 times already. I wish I could join the queue for them, but I guess my tiny size 4 feet will drown in them!
    I love animal decorations too, so these were a real treat!
    Enjoy your holiday, Sheila! Tomorrow's my last day, and then I'll join you! xxx

    1. Heh, I'm good at understatement, Ann, you know that! ;-P Yes, go for it! All phrases are there for borrowing. I know, I was surprised it has been that many wears! I think your feet are far too small, my dear, sorry!

      I do too - you'll like the rest tomorrow.

      You too, Ann, thank you! Woo, vacation!

  11. I love the ark. Your pop of red skirt is gorgeous, and I love your cat socks :-) Merry Christmas Sheila x


  12. So impressed you've got 44 wears from those boots, they are definitely a good piece to have in your wardrobe! :) And the pop of red is a nice Christmas office outfit. I tried dressing in red and green this year and I really enjoyed it, hopefully next year I'll be able to work that into some office outfits!

    The ark and animal decoration collection is amazing too! I don't have any ark decorations but I do have a lot of penguins ones and koala ones and I got the kids a paint your own glass decoration kit for Christmas eve craft so once they have done that I'll have Santa hat wearing t-rex decorations on my tree next year haha!

    1. Me too, Mica! It's a lot! I thought you did a fabulous job of wearing seasonal colours - well done! I hope next year is back to the "old normal", though - I have missed so many outfits this year, it feels like.

      I love the arks and the animals - ooh, I don't have a koala!! I need one! That is so fun that you're making ornaments with the boys - they will be great memories for years to come.

  13. Morning Sheila, that's funny I wore open weave top and long silver necklace yesterday too, but alas no beautiful vintage red skirt here lol. I love that outfit. Those boots were a sound investment with all those wears. I loved all your ornaments esp. the birds. My what work has gone into the straw ones! I will say the same as I said to Vix thanks and I mean that, for the posts which have been so lovely throughout this weird year. Happy Christmas Shazxx

    1. Shaz! good morning! We were twins - sort of, ha ha! Thank you, my dear! Yes, the boots were so worth it - that's why I'm never hesitant about spending a bit more on good quality and funky design, as they LAST.

      I know the work in the straw ornaments is just boggling! Aw, you're so welcome - I'm glad you have enjoyed all my posts, and it's been so awesome getting to know you. Thank you for all the comments! Happy Christmas, dear Shaz!

  14. Wow the colour and sheen of that orange skirt is amazing and so suits you, expecially with the grey sweater.
    I love the Noah Air ship so quirky.
    Happy Christmas Sheila X

    1. Isn't it lovely? It's such a vibrant red. Glad you liked the Noah's stuff. :) Thanks, Jane!

  15. A cashmere skirt???? Who actually owns a cashmere skirt? Sheila -- of course. Love those straw decorations -- dragons and tigers and frogs -- oh my!

  16. Those boots are far more versatile than I would have thought. Your top outfit, with the red skirt, is my favourite. And the all grey outfit as well.
    And what can I say about the ornaments? My goodness, what beauty and what a lot.

    1. I love them - they are so comfy and funky. Thanks, Greetje!

  17. What a fantastic red skirt. At least one versatile, fairly (or full on) classic red skirt has been a wardrobe must for me since my teens. I wear a fair bit of red and find that it/they get a ton of play in my wardrobe. Honestly, at this point, red is pretty much akin to a neutral for me and there's little I won't experiment partnering this vivacious hue with.

    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

    1. Thank you, Autumn! I love red skirts - I've always had one, right from high school onward. It's a neutral for me too!

  18. It is surprising to hear you don't get snow - I'd always imagined the whole of Canada would be covered in it. Is it because where you live is near the coast?

    1. Yes, we're right on the ocean here at sea level, and we're protected by the US and Canada mountain ranges, so most cold weather passes right over us. It's extremely mild here compared to the rest of the country.

  19. Love this cashmere skirt, so fab texture and colour (Red Rocks!) and love your wooly boots, these are stunning boots and work nicely with lots of colours and enhance any texture!. Lovely outfits!
    And so beautiful ornaments, the Arch animals look so cute (giraffes are always my favourite!), and those toucans!, and straw animals are so Amazing!.

    1. Thank you so much, Monica! I love that it's red and cashmere! Thank you - the boots are so unusual and fun.

      I love the arks too - animals are my favourite.

  20. These flashback posts really do give us value for money my dear! I totally love seeing all of the different hair colours and styles you've had over the years too never mind all of the amazing outfits you've created x

    1. Aren't they fun? I love looking back too. Thanks, Anna!


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