Hello, and welcome back, my friends! I hope you've all had a happy and relaxing weekend. It was just the right blend of socialness and introverting for me, including working on my Peacock Jacket, and getting my Christmas decorations up - and I even managed to squeeze a wee shop in there.
On Thursday, Nick, Casey, L and I met up at the Blue Fox Café for breakfast - it's one of the more popular (and tiny!) brunch spots in town, and nearly impossible to get in on a weekend, but since it was a Thursday morning, we waltzed right in and enjoyed a scrumptious meal before walking back to our place for a day of NFL football.
I worked on the Peacock Jacket while the first game was on.
Art Project: Peacock Jacket, Part 2
Part 1 is here
, if you missed it.
I'd gotten to this point previously.
I worked on the tail feathers of the peacock off and on this past week, whenever I had a few minutes.
And they are done with the black for now.
Next up - the roses on the back, plus a decorative element.
I'm doing the hem in this lacy edge-work, and did "fans" of it coming from the roses.
A close-up of the roses.
I still have some more black to do on the edge-work, but after 2 hours, I just sat and watched football for the rest of the day. We ate chili with multigrain buns and grated cheddar, and a couple of bowls of salty-crunchy snacks.
L and I hung out and slugged on the couches for the rest of the evening, and on Friday, I left him to his own devices while I got the Christmas decorations out. Last year/2020 marked the first time in 15 years that I put out all of my decorations, and I'd enjoyed it to so much I pledged to do it again this year. It's a big boost to my mental health to see my beautiful collection, and the sparkly lights just make me feel happy.
You can scroll backwards through my "Christmas Decoration"-tagged posts here
, or start here
in November 2020 and work forward post-by-post to revisit my massive collection. I photographed every single piece last year, but this year, I left a few pieces still packed (the Victorian-themed items, and the porcelain Santas).
I started by clearing off most of the décor-friendly surfaces and then pulled out the lights and pine garland and decided where I was going to put everything. Since our layout/furniture changed from last year, I had to make a few adaptations.
Our "dining" room aka party dance area/cat play room. I've put up mini lights around the bookcase, connected them to the pine garland on the pie-safe, then draped them around a picture and up over the kitchen doorway to the bar on the right, using clear thumbtacks to anchor. We have no electrical outlets on that section of wall (thank you 1976 wiring), so all of the lights are connected to the power bar in the lower left corner, near the smaller bookcase.
Looking through the kitchen.
L went to the pub to hang out with some of his friends while I worked. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get it all done before he got home at 8pm, so I left the village accoutrements boxed/bagged on the bar.
I moved Vizzini's corner scratching post into the bedroom to make room for the tree. It is wired to that centre post between the deck doors so that "someone" can't pull it over. Our deck doors are slightly askew due to decades of settling, so the wire fits through even while they are closed.
I lit the tree with a mix of coloured and white lights. Mom made the beautiful quilted velvet/satin/lame (lah-MAY, darlings!) tree skirt many years ago. I've stuffed Vizzini's plush house (that he refuses to use! so ungrateful!) into the corner to keep him from getting back there and chewing on the lights. It's worked so far...
I then lit my smaller tree (and you can see my littlest tree on the pie safe in the back right) with plain white lights. I did blue on it last year as well, but just didn't feel like it this year. Lighting trees is murder on my hands...death by a thousand scratches!
"Oh, I remember this delicious toy!"
Vizzini enthusiastically started gnawing on the branches immediately, so I squirted perfume all around the bottom branches of both of the main trees. Our house was redolent with Shi by Alfred Sung for a couple of days, but he left the trees alone all weekend.
"That was a mean and lowdown trick, Woman."
He hid under the bedcovers until I was finished.
It took just over 6.5 hours, but I finished just as L got home. Here's the pie safe corner, near the kitchen.
I moved the globe over to that side to help hide the lights. L's mom Louise made those two stockings hanging from the cabinet knobs.
The small tree on the left has all the cutesy mice (these ones here
) and House of Hatten (here
) decorations on it.
I also put most of the tea pot and kitten ornaments on that tree, just to shake things up a bit. I never like repeating an outfit and I rarely repeat a display.
The big built-in bookshelf got the "Be Merry" swag that Emily made me.
I bought that stocking years ago, when I worked at a year-round Christmas store, Christmas House, between 1986 and 1997.
We'd moved our Vampire Church and figurines to the corner above the smaller bookshelf, and put the convex mirror over it. See me in the mirror?1
My painting that used to live in the bathroom was moved out here last year too. No change to this area, aside from the holly garland going around the mirror. I have these mini lights up all year for added cheer.
This is my small tree, which sits on top of two back-to-back bookshelves (games, CDs, and DVDs live on them). Mom made this beautiful quilted table cover for us around 20 years ago - I have to hide the corner tassels, as Vizzini likes to chew on them and attack them.
Smaug the gargoyle is wearing one of the Santa hats. I've tucked a big swath of quilting batting under the tree as a skirt and to hide the stand.
This tree is all space-themed, with my Star Wars
and Star Trek
decorations (see here
), and anything else that's blue, aqua, purple or "space", including moons, stars and suns.
To the left, I've grouped some of my music boxes and figures.
I added plaid ribbon around the pic of Cat, Karen, Yvonne and me at the Fluevog Silver Style Party.
Below that is an old pic of Othello kitty, and a polar bear figure sitting on a top hat satin box.
On the wall further to the left, I put two of my creepiest nutcrackers, my Funko-pop Cthulhu, and a mini "Nutcracker" story book.
More plaid ribbon around Mom's painting that was chosen for a juried art show back in 2007-8?
This Santa figure is on a side table near my couch.
Along that wall, above the couch is our gallery.
I added a couple of ribbons to this area too.
To the left of the TV. Last year, we had a different TV stand/unit, so this was a new frontier. I added some holly garland to the framed gold waxed rubbing, and a gold tree and "A Child's Christmas in Wales" mini book to the Tolkien shelf.
The Santa sidecar wooden figure is on top of a speaker, with the autumn-themed Santa on the receiver. You can just see the rock & roll snowman/Santa figure on the right.
On the left of the TV (as you can see, lots of football happening), are my snowman figure and the sledding elves.
And below that, the fearsome Christmas hippo.
Our bar got the heavy décor treatment this year, looping the lighted garland around it. This is the display here
from last year, which went around our old TV unit.
The village hasn't been properly set up or populated yet (we'll get to it later this week), but I did do the sides.
L's side has all the decorations that are more him. That's his stocking, made by Mom from the same fabrics as the big tree skirt.
I see Dan Marino, Shakespeare and KISS ornaments.
On my side, all kinds of shopping decorations (it's like people know me).
And some Carolina Panthers decorations too, at the top. My stocking is at the bottom. I might have to move it up, away from curious little kitties.
I put a nutcracker on the top shelf of the bar, along with the decorations from places we've been (Vegas, NYC, Scotland).
There's also a battery-operated garland of lights on the bar for the village, but we'll get a pic of that when the village is finished.
Onto the big tree! I used some pale yellow thread and suspended the three light plastic finial/balls from the ceiling with clear thumbtacks.
As you can see, it got dark out by the time I was done. Ooh, so pretty!
Vizzini remained in hiding the entire time. What a chicken-cat!
"I was keeping warm, that's all."
L and I hung out and played board games in the evening, and were up early on Saturday to join Nick and Caro for brunch at the Ruby.
As I had managed to get all the decorations up on Friday, I treated myself to a shop after brunch. I dressed for that, plus deluges of rain (thank you, atmospheric rivers #2 and 3 - it's been raining all week/weekend).
- Turtleneck - Jacob, thrifted; last seen here in April under a haori
- Dress - Chetta B, consignment; last worn here in August to visit the Japanese Tea Gardens with Mom
- Sneakers - Steve Madden, thrifted; last see here in August for a walk with Betty
- Jacket (below) - Danier, consignment; last worn here in February
After 6.5 hours of standing and decorating the day before, my poor feet were so tired. I needed an outfit that I could incorporate my sneakers into.
They worked beautifully with this black/cream/gold thread woven dress.
The black turtleneck is a fine viscose with a sparkle in it.
If I don't wear colour, I can at least do sparkle!
Masked up - gold stars!
Outerwear - I got soaked in this, just walking a few blocks downtown, and then walking home.
But I dried out. It wasn't that cold out.
I'm happy to have this warm thermal-lined Danier leather coat - it's snuggly without being too bulky for shopping.
I'm on my second coffee.
- Beret - Parkhurst, consignment
- Silk scarf - Elaine Gold, Lazy Susan's
- Velvet gloves - Cejon, thrifted
- Mask - by Mom
My accoutrements were easily stuffed in pockets or into my backpack while I shopped.
Although they got wet, these shoes really saved my feet, which I rested for the remainder of the weekend.
- Leather/chain wrap - local
- Leather cuff - Guess, thrifted
- Earrings - thrifted
Caro came with me to WIN for a little bit - she found a vintage Christmas 1974 Wedgewood plate, "For serving chocolates!" she exclaimed, for only $5.95.
I spotted this Brutalist-style ring on one of the jewelry displays immediately.
Mine! That looks like it's a cire perdu
(lost wax) type of casting for the mould.
It's definitely got some age, and it's good quality, although there are no markings on it.
The slide adjuster for sizing it is unusual. This is likely from the Brutalist period (1970s) and was a mere $7.95.
I didn't find much else, but this purple cotton dress came home with me. The dark patches on it are rain-water.
"I can't believe you aren't paying attention to me."
The dress is odd in that it's a single piece of fabric. The neckline is a hole cut in the centre, with the only seams going from wrist to underarm, down the sides to the hem, which is not...hemmed.
It was only $11.95.
Even for that amount of fabric, that's a bargain. I knew I wouldn't be able to try it on, but this is a really nice rich dusty purple (it doesn't photograph well).
Once I've washed it, I'll wear it around the house.
"So I guess your dress matters more than me."
Hooray, it fits! I love the giant sleeves!
"It looks like it might be good for napping on."
It's far too long on me, so I'll probably chop a few inches off the bottom so I don't trip on it. I suspect this was the base layer for a Ren-Faire/SCA outfit.
From WIN, I wandered up Fort Street and had a poke in the Velvet Crease, MONA and Vanity Fair Antique Mall. I only found one thing, but it's a doozy.
That's a bigass leopard dress!
I am not fond of this ponte jersey fabric, but it's a good high-resolution print. I dislike it when prints have a white background, but I will survive - this is the only place you can see the lighter backing.
It has a big slit up the front of the leg. Sexy!
The sides are trimmed front and back with gold pyramid studs, and there is a gold zip down the back to just above the waist.
It is slightly too big under the arms, so I'll apply some of my madd sewing skillz and take it in slightly before I wear it.
I found this at the Velvet Crease - they are a good shop for dresses. This dress is new with tags still attached, and was sold at W&J Wilson, a very classy local retailer, est. 1862. That's about as old as you get in Victoria.
Made in Canada - nice!
And it's washable for when I spill cheese and chocolate down the front of myself at a party.
It's by long-time Canadian manufacturer Joseph Ribkoff, which has been around since 1957 (about them here
). I see this brand in other shops as well as second hand quite frequently.
It retailed for $275.00 - zoiks! I paid $62.00 for it, which included a 20% discount (the general sale at Velvet Crease).
I'm excited to wear this - we're having a small Christmas party this year, and this will likely be my dress. Flush with my shopping, and feeling chilled from the rain, I napped with L and Vizzini before we all hung out and played boardgames into the wee hours (one of us tried to steal elastic bands). Sunday/today is another day of chilling out on the couch and watching football.
And that's a perfect weekend!
And how are you, my friends? How's your weekend going? It is raining where you are?