Friday, July 31, 2009

Fashion Friday #4

So I lied! Last week I said I was going to put together a list of end-of-summer Sale items but then I saw "Let's Dance" by Mnemosyn on the front page during the week and I knew I had to do a feature on the amazing handmade skirts on Etsy.

The skirt wearing season in Winnipeg is very short so I try to wear one as often as possible. Usually I wear a long wrap or patchwork skirt around the house and when I go out I love to wear knee length aline skirts with bright patterns, lots of flowers and lots of yellow. I have a very favourite bubble skirt in simple grey that I wear often too. You can see some of them on Flickr in my product shots.

Here's some of my favs off Etsy, all handmade, that I would love to add to my collection one day:

Seven Stunning Handmade Skirts:

Let's Dance by mnemosynedesigns $152.00
The skirt that inspired this entry. Beautiful hemp fabric, fully lined, pin tuck detailing. Size 6.

Less Is More in beige by idea2lifestyle $40.00
This gorgeous and simple cotton linen skirt is made to order in your size and is available in several different colour schemes. At $40 it's a steal and is at the top of my must-own list.

Full and Flowered by littleocean $39.00
This one of a kind vintage inspired skirt has a playful contrast waistband and can be worn high or low. 30" waist.

I'll Try Not To Forget You by zacobe $148.00
Super full party skirt made from pretty sateen fabric. Made to order in your size.

Liquid Blues Aqua Patch by randompatch $35.00
No matter what your style is every girl should have at least one patchwork skirt in their closet. You can't help feel beautiful and feminine when you're wearing one. This one is sweet and simple with an elastic waist to fit 28" - 44".

Picnic Skirt by favoritestyle $38.00
This is an adorable wrap skirt in large gingham print. One-size-fits-all. Also on my must-own list.

Puffy Plaid Taffeta Skirt by couvert $135.00
This gorgeous bubble skirt done in plaid taffeta would be perfect for winter wearing, paired up with leotard tights and knee high riding boots. I love the bow placed on the hips and the texture that the plaid pleats create. Truly a piece de resistance!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fashion Friday #3

I've developed a strange fascination this season with rainbow sandals. It started innocently enough while hunting for a simple two strap flat, you know the kind from the 80s with the little buckles and padded insole. Since I'm a size 10 my vintage shoe options are extremely limited but I found the perfect pair on eBay, in perfect shape, in perfect primary colours and best of all, in my size. They were the kind of shoes you dream about and think that somehow owning them will make your life more fun. And they probably would have, if I hadn't been outbid at the last second. Now I search the internet for a second pair and think about the summer in rainbow sandals that could have been...

6 Pairs of Amazing Rainbow Sandals

Vintage Multi Color Ankle Strap Knotted Sandals from VintageShenanigans $20.00
These are the same shoes but in size 7. I'd consider chopping off my toes to wear them. This pair is in gorgeous condition too.

80s Rainbow Sandals from DewBerryVintage $16.00
These are quite possibly the sexiest rainbow shoes ever made, and at $16.00 I would actually chop off my toes to wear them. Size 7.

1960s Sandals Kitten Heel Shoes from SmallEarthVintage $28.00
Not quite rainbow, this color scheme reminds me of plastic patio lanterns shaped like owls. They are a size 10 and "vintage deadstock" which are two of my favourite words put together.

70s CORK WEDGE rainbow stripe SANDALS from 28Crash $42.00
There are no shoes more comfortable than cork wedges and they look hot too. This pair is in amazing condition. Size 6.

1970s COBBIES Cork Wedge Leather Sandal from Nuttinover20Vintage $17.00
I love Cobbies & this is a great pair although I wonder if they realized they used the Mercedes Benz logo on the heel? Size 8.5. Nuttinover20Vintage's shop has tons of really fun stuff and, like the name, nothing is over $20. Sweet.

70s Rainbow Woven Platform Wedge Sandals from OrnamentVintage $10.00
These adorable rainbow striped platform wedges are from Sears and in immaculate shape. Size 6.

Next week I'm going to put together an end-of-summer-sale list featuring some sweet homemade and vintage items!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

In Which My Life Takes a Giant Leap

Tomorrow it will have been two weeks since Randy and I moved in together. The first week was pretty awesome because Randy was on holidays and we spent most of our time together having fun, staying up late, watching movies, eating ice cream, playing video games in our pajamas. It was basically like a glorified slumber party.

This week has been a little less fun and a lot more reality. We get up at 6:30 and I make Randy a lunch to take to work while our tea is steeping and he gets dressed in shirts and ties. He looks so much older to me these days but then again so do I. He kisses me goodbye and takes his lunch and goes to work and I close the door and am alone. I've wanted to spent my days working on Oh So Retro but so far that hasn't happened yet. This week has been all about getting organized, hopefully next week will be all about settling into routine.

Yesterday was my last day on Disability. I've received it since 2002. I used to work in an office as a bookkeeper, this is what I did after school. I loved my job and I loved the people I worked with and I loved the math and the office supplies and the business casual clothing. I had to quit my job after two years when my anxiety and depression took over my life. I was young and immature and I didn't know what I was going to do and at that point I didn't care. I moved back into my parents basement and slept through my early 20s. My family refers to this time as when I was "sick" - it's not like I had cancer or anything life threatening but I'm still surprised I survived.

I was approved for Disability after my doctor recommended I move out of my parents house. I knew I had to go but didn't know how I'd get out, at this point I could barely walk around the block. Actually I probably couldn't even do that. So I moved out with one roommate and that didn't work so I tried another and that worked out really well. Randy was a friend of a friend who also had a bad roommate and needed to move so we met and rented a little house and lived together for a year. We started dating and he moved out because it's really not realistic to live with someone you've just started dating. Especially when you're mentally ill and he's only 21. It was a bad scene.

To make a long blog entry short, I lived on my own thanks to Disability, and was on a work program which allowed me to supplement my income with Oh So Retro. I got better with a fantastic therapist, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, medication, exercise, diet, perseverance, support, love. I still have a hard time with agoraphobia and I can't work but my depression and mania are totally under control. I am happy.

I no longer qualify for Disability because according to the Manitoba government Randy and I are considered common law. I'm well enough to be in a stable, functional relationship with someone who loves me enough that they are willing to get up every morning and go to work to support me. This amazes me. I would love to be getting up every day and going to work again, and in a way I am, but for now this is good. This is why I get up and make his lunch at 6:30 in the morning, because while some girlfriends would never do that, it's a small sacrifice I can make for someone who has given me so much.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Gluten Free Flour Mix that Saved My Life (or at least my sanity)

Original Photo By DeathByBokeh

The most intimidating part of going Gluten Free has been the flours. The first few times I tried to navigate Gluten Free recipes and websites I actually cried because it was so confusing and I had no idea how I was ever going to eat again. All of a sudden a simple pancake or baking powder biscuit recipe had 14 ingredients, most of which I hadn't even heard of before. Sorghum Flour? Amaranth Flour? Quinoa, Teff, Millet? What??

After several months and some experimentation I discovered Gluten Free Cooking School and Mary Frances' amazing All Purpose GF Flour Mix. Since discovering this mix being GF has been so much easier AND cheaper - this is a low cost mix with easy to find flours.

All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Mix:

3 Parts Brown Rice Flour
3 Parts Corn Starch
2 Parts Soy Flour
1 Part Tapioca Flour

The original recipe calls for Masa Harina flour instead of Tapioca but I wasn't able to find it anywhere so I sub'd Tapioca since I had it on hand and it turned out great. If you don't eat Soy you can sub Sorghum Flour instead.

To make things simple I use cups for parts, so 3 cups Brown Rice Flour, etc. I don't mess around with a bowl, I pour the flour right into a tall tupperwear container and give it a really good shake until the flour is uniform with no streaks. (This is a good way to get out your frustrations about having to be gluten free, shake shake shake, swear swear swear.. damn you flour!) I keep it stored in the fridge.

So far I've made bread, biscuits, pancakes, muffins and flatbread with this mix and it's worked amazingly well every time. I've used it in Gluten Free recipes in place of the crazy list of called for flours, just add up how many cups of flour in total is used in the recipe and use the same amount of this mix instead. If you want to sub it into a nonGF recipe you just need to add 1 tsp of Xanthan or Guar Gum.

I'll include some of my favourite recipes using this mix over the next little while - it really makes the best biscuits I've ever had, with or without gluten! I have a butterscotch brownie recipe I want to try adapting to GF with this mix, my first foray into desserts. It's a mild enough flour that I think it would work equally well for breads and cakes.

If anyone tries this mix I would love to hear about your results and what you made with it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fashion Friday #2

How is it Friday again already? I'm sorry for not blogging this week, or tweeting very much either. I've been very busy getting the apartment ready for Randy to move in! This involved a lot of emptying closets, sorting junk, making piles (to keep, to donate) and then shoving everything back into the closets, only in neater piles. Will it keep? Lets hope so. Today Randy moves in and my workload doubles, as we attempt to share 500 square feet of basement apartment with no dishwasher! Wish us luck.

But more of that later - today I want to celebrate fashion because it's Friday and what better way to start the day than by shopping for summer clothes. This week I'm sharing some handmade sun hats to go with the vintage sun dresses from last week. A great dress is only made better with a great hat. (and great sandals, but that's next week!)

5 Fabulous Floppy Handmade Hats

Cape Hatter in indigo cotton denim by terrygraziano $120.00
Terry Graziano makes hats; really cool, multifunctional, vintage inspired hats. Her designs are very hip without being silly, her fabrics are beautiful and her whole shop is very aesthetically pleasing. This is Hat Art.

Gidget by Chiahats $48.00
Anyone who knows me knows that I love vintage floral fabric so it should be no surprise that I LOVE this hat. The bold yellow flowers are adorable and the button flap is a nice touch too. Chiahats has several of these hats in different fabrics.

Vintage Hanky Flower Hat by softshelterhats $75
This girlie hat was made with vintage floral handkerchiefs and buttons and is adorned with an oversized rose. I love the soft shape and colours of this hat. As a bonus, softshelterhats donates 10% from every sale to animal shelter programs in their community. Mr Boots approves.

Carmen by HatsbyDenise $50
This is quite possibly the cutest sun hat on Etsy. I love the bright colours and sweet floral pattern with the contrasting twill tape. This would be a great beach hat. Denise has many classic designs in her shop, it was hard to pick just one!

Retro Fabric Hat by pinksequin $45
Not quite a floppy hat, this wide brimmed hat will still keep the sun out of your eyes in style. I love the vintage fabric, especially that shade of green, and hand drawn flowers get me every time. Check out Pink Sequins shop for more of her sweet vintage style.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Fashion Friday #1

Hooray it's July! I hope you're having as nice weather as we're having this summer. It's been warm and sunny almost every day which means one thing... sundresses! I love to look through the vintage section on Etsy for well priced and super cute dresses but since I'm officially on a spending hiatus I thought I'd share some finds with you this morning.

7 Sweet Sundresses Under $30

Red Polka Dot Dress from TheOwlsGo $18

Secret Garden Maxi Dress from roseredwinter $28

Kauai Orchid Halter Dress from mimisgamine $23

Tie Strap Tied Dress from LittleGirlVintage $18

Yellow Floral Sundress from QsDaydream $25

80's Lanz Sundress from wearitoutvintage $28

Red Floral Day Dress by labellevintage $17

Feel free to share your favourite vintage dresses in the comments, I'd love to see them! I have a lot more saved for a future post.