Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Blue Leopard and Shopping; The Village, Part 1

Hello, I'm back, and we have a lot to get through! I went shopping with Caro and may have bought a few things, which I'm very excited to show you, and we're finally getting to the danged village, just in time to wrap up the year. Yes, we are! 

First up, here's what I wore to stroll down to Turnabout and House of Savoy on Oak Bay Ave one afternoon with my dear Caro. I knew Turnabout had a massive sale on, and I had a $100 gift card burning a hole in my pocket!
Easy stuff for shopping: no buckles, laces and barely a zipper on the skirt.

  • Sweater - Beechers Brook, vintage 90s, thrifted; last worn here in November with red plaid
  • Skirt - Banana Republic Heritage, thrifted; last seen here (2nd outfit) in March with the yeti coat
  • Boots - Gabor; last worn here a couple of weeks ago with my Desigual coat
  • Coat (below) - Danier Leather, consignment; last seen here in November

I was going to do a Flashback on this shiny blue leopard skirt, but I went back 3 outfits and discovered that I'd missed doing my hyperlinks on one outfit, and I just...can't. It's too much work to scroll through every Banana Republic mention in every post to find it, and Flashback. 
Maybe another time, when I have a bit more energy. 
This is a pretty basic outfit, but I knew I'd be trying a lot of things on. 
Caro rode her bike to our house, and then we walked down, both in our masks, keeping our distance. 
It was so good to see her in person. 

Outerwear - my thermal leather coat, a silk scarf and some warm gloves. 
It rained on the walk home, as you'll notice in the pics below (my hair is a disaster). 

  • Scarf - fake Louis Vuitton, thrifted
  • Gloves - Roeckl, consignment
  • Purse - Rebecca Minkoff, thrifted

The stuff: 
Easy walking booties. 

  • Leather cuff - Guess, thrifted
  • Earrings - Swarovski, consignment
  • Lapis lazuli ring - Wendy Brandes

We started at Turnabout, and spent about an hour browsing in there. I found this amazing pair of ear-muffs right away. 
They are studded! 

Michael Kors never met an embellishment he didn't like. 
The ear-muffs are actually rabbit fur. 
I'll be cutting this massive label off! So annoying! These were marked down to $13.50 from their original $47.99. They retailed for close to $100. 

I fell hard for this pleated gold skirt.
It's so shiny! And swooshy! 
It's by Ralph Lauren, and was marked down from $49.99 to $39.99.
This skirt is from 2015 and retailed for $450.00! What a score! It's mostly silk on the outer shell too.

I really liked this pebbly skirt on. 
I'm a little worried that I'll snag it on stuff at work, but that's life. Can't be worrying about wrecking things and miss out on actually WEARING them. 

I like that the outer "stones" are lined, but there's another lining for the body as well. 
That's a sign of good quality. 

It's by Max Mara and was made in Italy - and it's new with tags (even though most of the tag is missing). 
It was marked down to $27.00 from their consignment of $89.99. Skirts by Max Mara start around $695.00. Zoiks! 

I have had my eye on this dress since the early spring, when it was at $169.99. 
I love the grey, green and teal mix. 

The back. 
The hem and neckline are both steel grey silk (the neckline is rolled/twisted). 

The shoulders are silk velvet in a deep olive greeny-grey. 
The body is a sort of optic design.
The silk is ribbed. 

It's by Etro, a brand I am very familiar with (I've been in their store in Florence, Italy, and both L and I have Etro clothes I've bought second-hand). 
This was marked down to $51.00. 

Here it is on - it needed a belt, so I added one of mine quickly. 
So pretty! This would have been around $1,500 new. 

As always, there are a kajillion black dresses in Turnabout - Caro pulled this one out, and it was 70% off, and what, I'm going to say no to 100% cashmere??
Hard to see here, but it's a plain knit, with a low scooped neckline in front. 
Double bell sleeves (good for swooshing and dipping in soup). 

There we go! 100% cashmere! 
It's by Claudia Nichole and it's also new and never worn! 
It was $51.00, marked down from $169.99. It likely would have been well over $500 new. 

Here I am demonstrating the ear-muffs, and the dress. 
Not much to it. Black dress.

From Turnabout, Caro and I went over to House of Savoy, where I tried a lot on, but only one thing made me gasp out loud.
That is a long vest/waistcoat. It's quilted satin and velvet. 

Look at that nice sewing detail! 
I love the rich olive green. 

The arm-holes are squared off - there have been slight hand-done repairs on the corners. 
Here it is on. 
Yes, it has pockets! 
I've steamed it since this picture and it's just...amazing. It's super snuggly and warm to wear - I can't wait to toss it on over an outfit and swan about in it. 

And I would probably not have grabbed at it at all if not for hearing about this brand via Vix (link here). 
It's Phool! And a size 14. I disregarded that - sizing is whack, bah! There is only this one tag, but I'm assuming it was made in India.
I thought it might have been silk, but it's viscose. I searched and searched online for anything similar to this and found nothing. It was only $65.00 - that felt like a bargain for something this massive and gorgeous!

I think it's from the 90s, based on the label (more modern than the 70s-80s stuff), and this shiny plush style. 
L said it looked very 'Ren Faire', so that seems about right for mid- to late-90s. 

The Village - Part 1: Buildings, Trees and Accoutrements

And now, as the last couple of days trickle out through the hourglass of 2020, we'll look at our village. This post will cover all the stuff except for the people, which will be the last post of the year (as in life, the people are the best part). 

If you want to see what I've done in the past for the village, feel free to revisit it here, when we used to set it up on top of the TV, which was last done in 2010! Everything I needed for the village is in that big white plastic bag and that large box. 
This time around, I decided to set it up on the bar, which is located on a wall between our galley kitchen and the hallway that leads down to our bedroom and den (where my closet is). The section between the kitchen and hallway is a giant hall-long closet where our coats are and is where all this stuff lives when it's not out on display. 

I moved all the liquor bottles to the top shelf, and left the more favoured scotches on the second shelf. L's Baron Samedi and Kraken rums were left in his usual spot, near the kitchen on the bottom shelf. The amber jar on the bottom right is part of my collection of amber glass (it's an ice-bucket), and holds our unrolled change.
I ran the final set of battery-operated lights down the side of the bar, so that we'd have light in the village (that wall has no electrical outlets, thank you, 1976 condo!). 

The big box holds a set that included a church. I've picked up a few odds and ends on clearance at the drugstore over the past 30+ years to supplement the stuff I bought when I worked at Christmas House - this church set was one that was on final clearance for less than $30.00. 
Anyway, this is the church and it's the nicest building - it came with a bunch of trees and assorted people, which I don't use here. 

Trees! I like trees in a village. Honestly, you cannot have too many trees. 
The two big pine trees came with the church. I bought the stand of beech trees at some point at the drug store.
I like the topiary trees too. 

These are also vaguely topiary-ish. 
These are all by Dept 56, so I bought them from my store.
They were pricey, around $5.95-$14.95 per tree. 

Big trees! These are good in the background. 
The little trees below were a set of cheaper ones we carried. 
It was $7.95 for about a dozen of them. These have faded to a bluey-green shade over time. 

More Dept 56 trees. 
They are nice and stable and don't fall over. 

Some of the fun things I've picked up - all of these were under $20 on clearance at the drugstore. 
It's a battery-operated moon! 

This is a pack of wooden fencing. 
I'm always on the lookout for stuff like this - it adds a lot to the display. You know I like details!  

This is a set of wall and fencing. 
Also battery-operated - the lanterns on the posts light up. 

Oh, found another bottle-brush tree. 
I kept the plastic packaging for these three trees, so that they don't get squished. 

These are my houses, and they are...crappy. Not so much "delightfully handcrafted"! 
They were in the clearance section of our store, marked down to $9.95 each. 

I bought them all, and removed the crappy signs on them, and hand-wrote "Village Inn", "Town Hall" and "Bakery" on them in gold pen. In retrospect, I would have made the thatched roof one the Bakery but oh well.
They are meant to be candleholders, but I have never put candles in them. The bit of icicles hanging from the bakery is actually a Dept 56 accessory for adding icicles (duh) to buildings. 

I couldn't afford the Dept 56 houses (they were in the $75.00-$200 range EACH), but I bought a few of the accessories. 
Stone Corner Posts with Holly Tree. These were $19.99.
Aren't they nice? I like the paint job on them. 

I have always loved this Town Square Gazebo. 
It was $24.95 and was on of the best-selling accessories for the villages. 

I found these two little potted flowers tucked in the gazebo box. 
I actually bought these for my Gram and Grandad (they had a display case with miniatures in it) for Christmas one year, back in the late 80s or early 90s. When they died (both in 1997), I took them back. 

I've added icicles to the gazebo, as well as the string of lights (another Dept 56 accessory). 
This is a central piece in our village! We have a full band playing in the gazebo.

This piece shows evidence of my layaway. 
It was $7.95. 
English post box. 
It's way out of scale (something that drives me nuts about villages!). It would be like having a 12-foot post box in real life.

As is this metal bench. 
It was also $7.95.
It's really well-detailed, but it's huge. 
Considering the scale for most of the buildings means that people should be about 1.5" tall. 

This bench is about 3" tall.
It's a bench for giants! 

Oh, I also have some wall, four pieces of it. 
Also Dept 56, and these were $17.95 for the set of four. 
See how they fit together? I love setting up areas and having bits of wall for boundaries. The holly posts work with these too.

I also have three "hedges", also by Dept 56.
They were $15.95 for the set of 3. 
They are a long strip of wired bottle-brush, with a flattened section on the bottom. They're good for bending, to get division in the village. 

Oh, here's my Christmas tree. 
Just a plain tree with a bunch of the light garland wrapped around it. The light garland was $5.95.

We also sold these German felt trees. I forgot to take a picture of that woodpile in the background - it was also Dept 56 and was $7.95.
I love the shape of these ones - they look so laden with snow. The big ones were $7.95 each and the small ones were $5.95 each.

Oh, found some more trees! 
That bit of wreckage in the background is some of our Dungeons & Dragons game accessories. It's usually displayed in one of our cases, but I pulled it out to go in the background of the church.

Here's the battery-operated fencing all set up. 
I didn't leave it in front of the church, though - I put it off to the side for the graveyard. What? Your village doesn't have a graveyard? Pfft, I bet it doesn't have battle-nuns or vampires either! Bo-ring! 

I really like this wooden bridge, another drugstore find. 
At this point, I heard someone digging around in all the packaging. 
"I'm a fan of these delicious treats."

Vizzini ran off with one of the big trees while I was setting up - I found it all bent up in the hallway, wet from him mawing on it. 
That's a giant cardinal on the bridge. I do like that the trees came attached to it for easy set-up. 

I have a set of street signs from the drugstore. They came with all kinds of options and of course, we went with the most fun ones. Overlook Drive is a nod to the Overlook Hotel in Stephen King's "The Shining". 
And my grandparents lived on Elm Street (as did Freddy Krueger of the "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies). It doesn't bode well for the village to have two horror references, does it?

Maiden Lane is where we put the prostitutes in the village. 
There weren't any other fun names, so Mulberry Street. 

I have a selection of lamp posts too. The black ones on the left and the gold ones in the middle were ones we sold in our store. They were $5.95 each. 
The tall ones on the right came with the church. 

I found gravestones at the drugstore one year. 
That's a big YES! 

I love this clock - it's metal and is a Dept 56 piece. 
It was $5.95. We sold a lot of these.

I set up the houses and roughly decided where to put all this stuff. The houses went on the second/middle shelf.
The Village Inn gets a courtyard for socially-distanced carousing, and I created a lane beside it with some of the stone wall. I added trees behind everything once I had the layout set.

I put the Bakery, the gazebo, the Christmas tree and the Town Hall on the left side of the shelf. 
We left the village unpopulated for about 2 weeks, while Vizzini got used to it (he likes to sit on the bottom shelf of the bar). 

I added some wired star garland along the top of the second shelf, woven through the glass holders, and then added some plaid ribbon to that.
I also wove star garland through the rear bars of the bottom shelf. 

Here's a tease of the full village, all populated. 
You can click the picture to make it bigger and check it out, but I'll have oodles of pics tomorrow for New Year's Eve! 

Thank you so much, my friends, for stopping by. I'll be coming around to visit all your blogs soon (sorry, I've been giving myself a lot of down-time from blogging), but I am so grateful for all of you. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for looking at the pictures! I so appreciate each and every one of you, and wish you all the best for the coming year - it's GOT to be better than the last one! 

Happy New Year 2021!


  1. That skirt is beautiufl so it's a shame you couldn't do a flashback on it but I completely understand! I have fun with my 30 wears posts but they are a lot of work to look back through everything and see how many times things were worn!

    Your village is awesome! I don't see a lot of things like that here although there was one house near us that used to do Christmas lights and in one window they had a little train and a whole village like this!

    Have a happy new year Sheila!

    1. I just didn't have the energy to dig and dig to find it, sorry, Mica, but you get it - it's so much work to go back and find them all.

      Thank you! I enjoy doing it - you'll like it with all the figures loaded in.

      Happy New Year!

  2. wow, what a great post! You constnatly amaze me with the gorgeous items you find. That vest is just amazing!!!

    1. Aw, thanks so much, Cynthia! I'm super-stoked over the vest. :)

  3. I was already oogling your shopping and then you pulled out the big guns! Wowee! My mom used to do a Christmas village. Both my parents (DnD players and LARPers and yes miniature painters!) were very festive with it when i was growing up. I think ours were Hallmark and Avon combined. Maybe.

    Also thought I'd drop a note to say: two of my five (!!!) strays have earned Princess Bride names. Both gingers (one tabby, one swirl). Buttercup came first though we had no idea if it was a boy or girl - later found out a girl. My stepmom named her, not aware of my brother's pup Fezzik.

    And later, derptacular Wesley arrived, name doing double duty as both a Princess Bride reference and Whedon-Buffy-verse. He's a big weirdo.

    1. Megan!!! So good to see you!

      Yeah, I love my mixed-up village - it's a nice way to rediscover some of our older figures and have fun with them.

      Aw, I love it! You can't go wrong with Princess Bride names - Vizzini has certainly lived up to his! I really wanted to call Inigo Fezzig, but how were we to know how big he'd get??

      Lol at Wesley! He's also a Star Trek: Next Gen reference!

  4. I love your gold skirt and the studded earmuffs are wonderful!! Wish you and your loved ones a Happy and Healthy New Year!

  5. The leopard mini skirt is great. I try to link up my items too, to better keep track of how many times I've worn them but it takes so much time that I usually just add one or two links for each. The silk Etro brand dress is gorgeous and it looks great on you. The black dress is wonderful as well! You bought some amazing things. I love the red Max Mara skirt with its fabulous details. The Ralph Lauren golden pleated skirt is so fabulous, I cannot wait for you to wear it. The rich green long waistcoat is phenomenal too. I'm sure you'll get wear out of it.
    The village looks beautiful and I love how well painted the individual pieces are. You always find nice things. Have a lovely New Year Eve and all the best in 2021. I plan to greet the new year at home, doing some painting.

    1. I know how I missed it - I used to write my full posts and then go back and add the links, and obviously I whiffed on it for one post. Arg!

      Thank you! I'm really pleased with all my purchases and they really keep me motivated to keep getting dressed up. I am excited to wear it all!

      Thanks - it's so much fun. The little houses are rather crappy but the rest is really nice. You'll enjoy it with the people added!

      Happy New Years to you, my dear!

  6. Lovely post Sheila, as always. Wishing you all the very best for 2021. xx

  7. Happy New Year Sheila! Thank you for your blog, it is definitely one of my favourites. Lise

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Lise! Hugs to you, faithful reader!

  8. Shopping is your super-power. A $450 skirt?! That's motorcycle money! I love your blog, your style and your niceness. Thanks for sharing another year with me. Happy New Year!

    1. I think it may well be, Ally! I know, I was super-excited when I discovered that - it's SUCH a pretty skirt. Thank you for being here - happy new year!

  9. Gorgeous animal print mix on your shopping outfit, and you really rock a mini skirt!
    And what amazing finds your shopping trip has yielded! That shiny and swooshy gold pleated skirt is absolutely amazing and what a bargain! The Max Mara skirt is gorgeous too, as is the Etro dress. And how stunning is that quilted and velvet waistcoat! Oh my, you've really been shopping like a pro.
    That Christmas village is truly incredible, I'm loving all the little details.
    Here's to an infinitely better 2021. It just has to be, hasn't it? xxx

    1. Thanks, Ann - I do love my minis, well into my 50s, ha ha! Take that!

      I did so well - I love it all. I can't wait to wear it all now!

      Thank you - it's even better with the people.

      It has to be better! Here's to 2021!

  10. /On this last day of 2020, I'm so happy to have found your blog. I love all your choices-I can't imagine how you do the look backs-so much detail to find! I hope you have a 2021 full of fashion and inspiration for us more dowdy, but wishful style goddesses!

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Sam! It's been awesome connecting with you, and thank you for your kind words. Rock on and wear the clothes!

  11. Happy New year to you, L and Mr Vizzini! I love your blog so much and your wonderful outfits never fail to inspire and inform me! Looking forward to a lot of brilliant blogs in 2021!

    1. Happy New Year, Alli! Thank you so much - that's so very kind of you. You bet - I'm in this for the long haul.

  12. Very good blue outfit for shopping. For anything really. It looked a bit cold because you only wear tights.
    You have found amazing stuff in the vintage stores. Imagine..Max Mara, Etro.. all such good brands, real quality.
    And Happy New Year to you Sheila.

    1. Thanks, Greetje! I tend to keep it simple when I'm on a mission, ha ha! It isn't that cold here - the temps are around 7 or 8 in the day, so I don't need full leg covering just yet. I did SO well - I'm stoked about all of them!

      Happy New Year to you, my dear friend!

  13. Thanks for this massive post Sheila! I adore the gold skirt you purchased and that green satin waistcoat is totally awesome - I would have gone for both of these too.

    I just have to say thank you for the remote retail therapy that you've shared all the while that I've been on my shopping ban. It's an utter joy to view pieces that I would have succumbed to as well. Our love of all things quirky and funky means that I yearn for almost everything you buy and can only say, thank goodness that we don't live nearby as it could end in tears!

    Wishing you a fabulous year ahead of wonderful shopping trips!
    Anna x

    1. I think I'm known for my massive posts, Anna! Ha! I love the gold skirt SO much, and I can't wait to wear the vest.

      Aw, I'm so glad I could help in my little way, my dear. You and I have almost 99% the same taste and eye in clothing - imaging the damage we would do shopping together!! I wish we did live nearby so we could share closets!

      Happy New Year to you!

  14. Happy New Year, Sheila, L and Monsieur Vizzini!
    Thanks for the virtual retail therapy, it's wonderful being able to shop through you whilst our chazzas are closed.
    Great scores, particularly the Phool waistcoat - but you knew I'd say that, didn't you? You're right, it is 1990s and looks absolutely fabulous on you! The colour is insanely good.
    The mini village is incredible - as is your bar! I love the bench and the stone walls in particular! xxx

    1. Thank you, Vix! Happy New Year!

      I'm glad to be of service, milady! I'm happy to shop for as long as I can - our province, but mostly our island has been mostly free of COVID, so we haven't had to do a full(er) lockdown

      Thanks, I'm so glad you like it. I love the bar, even though I don't drink anymore.

  15. Sheila, you found so many wonderful pieces at such amazing bargains! What fun! I have not had a shopping buddy in over 20 years so I have to admit I am bit envious that you had such fun out shopping with Caro! That green waistcoat is everything! I love the color, the textures, and the drama of that piece. And your Christmas village is so precious! I love it! Thanks for sharing and linking with me! Wishing you all the best in the new year!


    1. I did very well on my shop, didn't I? I usually prefer shopping alone, but I like having my friends around with me sometimes - this is Carolyne and me getting around the "no socializing" rule.

      I adore the long waistcoat - it's so amazing! Thanks, Shelbee, I am glad you enjoyed the village.

  16. What a sumptuously incredible garment that abundantly long green vest is. So regal, beguiling, and gorgeous! Stellar find, my sweet friend!

    Huge hugs & the happiest of wishes for these exciting days of early January,
    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

    1. Isn't it astonishing, Autumn? I am looking forward to wearing it.

      Hugs to you - happy 2021!

  17. Happy New Year!! Such fabulous scores, Sheila! I especially love the gold skirt and the Etro dress.

    1. Happy New Year, Fay! Thanks so much! I hope you liked how I styled the skirt earlier this week.

  18. I see you went shopping and found amazing items.
    The pleated gold skirt is something I would have fought for at the store :)
    and the Etro dress .... wow !
    You did a great job with the village, this year we moved so it was just boxes and boxes everywhere, so no decor went up.

    1. I did, and I did! I LOVE the gold pleated skirt so much - it's just beautiful. I know, I'm always thrilled by Etro! It's one of those brands I think people don't really know.

      Thanks so much - doing my full Christmas decorating was one of the best things I did all year for my mental health.


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