Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy October 31! My kids are too old to trick-or-treat, but I wanted to share with you some of their cute looks from Halloweens past.

Here's Lovely Daughter #2 at 16 months old. Look at those cheeks!:

Lovely Daughter #1, four years old, as Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz," with one of her own stuffed dogs standing in for Toto. I made her costume, but she was most in love with the "ruby" slippers:

Back then, I didn't know about avoiding intrusive background details, like doorknobs. Sorry, baby!

A few years later, Lovely Daughter #2 is four years old and wearing the same Dorothy costume, below. LD#1 opted for a store-bought "Belle" costume from "Beauty and the Beast":

A few years later, The Boy would join in on the fun:

Here, he's four years old and obsessed with Batman:

LD#2 is an Academy-Award-winning actress in de rigueur sunglasses (see the cardboard Oscar we made her?). It was a bit nippy that night, so she's wearing a thermal top under her glamorous gown. Check out the pose, though. She's only seven years old, but she is workin' it:

LD#1 at 10 years old is sort of...what? the spirit of Halloween? We took a black turtleneck, which already had the spiderweb printed on it. I made the big gray spider, and we added a hand-me-down cape from a cousin. Final touches were a web and a spider I painted on her face with eyeliner, and little orange pumpkin earrings she owned:

As they grew up, they still enjoyed occasionally dressing up. Here's The Boy, being Bob's Big Boy (a hamburger chain): Apparently, I haven't learned my lesson about distracting background details. *Sigh.*:

LD#1 attended a college Halloween party as Wendy, and her good friend T. was Peter Pan:

This isn't a Halloween costume, technically, but here's LD#2 dressed up for a charity-based fashion show at her high school. How did she get that amazing swagger?


She just channeled her inner seven-year-old.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blue Jeans Blues

A few days back, Lovely Daughter #2 helped me sort through my closet and get rid of clothes that don't fit, or don't flatter, or I simply don't wear. By the time we were through, we had several bags of good stuff for charity.

My jeans took the biggest hit. I own eight pairs of jeans, total: one white, two black, and five blue.

For a gal who spends about 95% of her life in jeans, that's not much. It also means that they wear out pretty fast, as I do everything from garden to walk the dogs to wipe up spills in my jeans.

Okay, not the white ones; those are strictly for garden parties and the like.

The white pair and the two black pairs were given the thumbs up from LD#2.

The other five pairs? Not so much.

She especially hated these jeans:

I thought they looked pretty good on me, but when she took a photo of me on her cell phone from behind, I saw the ugly truth.

The pockets make my backside look horrible!

The pockets are too pattern-y, too wideset, and they tilt away from the midline of the back in a very steep angle, which all contribute to making my butt look like a doublewide trailer.

She didn't have much to say about these, either:

Too faded, too sad.

Some of my jeans are Not Your Daughter's Jeans, a brand that fits me nicely:

But, alas, one of my NYDJ jeans suffers from terminal bleach splash:

This pattern of bleach spots may look cute on a 20something, or on an allover pattern. But on one thigh on a gal who last saw the inside of a Labor and Delivery room 19 years ago, it's just sad:

I also own a couple pairs of Joe's Jeans, a brand that has stayed trendy for quite a while now. This is a closeup of the back right pocket on one pair of my Joes':

...and this is the back left pocket. The one where my cell phone has rubbed a hole clean through:

My cell phone habit has been very hard on my other pair of Joe's, too:

Holes don't belong on anybody over the age of 29, unless you're a rocker in your 60s and you're still singing, despite your overly collagen-ed lips. You guys get a pass. The rest of us, not so much.

So, with some degree of sadness, I folded up five pairs of blue jeans--all the blue jeans I own:

By the way, that bow, below, came with the top pair of jeans, there. Shows you how much they've faded:

The jeans will go to Goodwill, where they'll either be sold as is or be turned into cash-worthy recyclable fabric.

But first, I had to empty all the pockets. I found five doggy-poop bags and a Cheerio.

'Cuz that's just how I roll.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Off Her Meds?

Every neighborhood or town has one: the resident Crazy Lady. Maybe she has 40 cats or hoards junk in every room until she's confined to winding her way through a maze of trash.

Our neighborhood's Crazy Lady is largely unseen. She stands behind a thicket of untrimmed bushes, shrieking at the world when she's having a bad day.

On a good day, she decorates her trees with stuff like this:

Parts of this are actually kind of disturbing:

Euwww! Skull-printed black webbing! But the rest of the signage is in such happy colors:

I have no idea what she's trying to say. Not sure she does, either. But I do love the message at bottom of the sign:

"Be a cultural creative: Love/Evolve!"

Those are pretty wise words, whether you're off your meds, or not.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Furniture Mystery

It's late October, and Lovely Daughters #1 and #2 are fully settled in to the Funny Looking House. They have all the furniture and furnishings they need now.

They don't need me to Dumpster dive or bring home any more things left out by the side of the road.

But I can't stop noticing what my insane neighbors leave out for the trash man, and it drives me nuts to see useful things go to waste.

A few weeks back, I noticed three side chairs abandoned on a curb. I was with LD #2 at the time, and I said, "Aww, look at that! Some body is trashing perfectly nice chairs!"

But it wasn't anything she or her sister needed, so I let them be.

A day later, the chairs were still there.

I couldn't stand it.

I drove my car over and tossed all three of them into the back, with the intention of giving them to Goodwill an hour later. But when I pulled them out of the car and took a closer look, I was intrigued. Two of them looked the same, and one was slightly different.

The lighter-colored chair on the right (in the photo below) is one of two. The darker-colored chair on the left is the odd one of the three:

But it is beautiful! It has graceful lines, the wood feels silky and smooth, and its construction is far better than the other two.

I mean, look how doofy the lighter-colored chair on the right looks in comparison:

The back splat on the darker chair is all graceful curves, and the lighter one on the right is just...awkward.

Here's a closeup of the better chair:

And here's a closeup of one of the dorkier chairs:

It's almost painful to contemplate those awkward bends and angles! By contrast, everything about the dark chair chair flows. One part leads gracefully to the next:

Look past the stained fabric seats: that's just a simple upholstery change.

From the back, you can see the darker chair has graceful, "sabre"-style back legs, and the lighter chair has legs that look...knock-kneed:

I apologize for the slightly out-of-focus shot, below. But even in this fuzzy image you can see how the darker chair has nicer lines. It's more elegant. More--I don't know--more sure of itself:

Intrigued, I turned them over to look for clues.

I found this old-fashioned label, in a shaky hand that looks like an old person wrote it, on the bottom of one of the dorky chairs:

It says, "Modern copy of Victorian fiddleback chairs." Then I turned over the prettier, darker chair, and I found this label, clearly written by the same hand:

It says, "Victorian fiddleback chair. Same style as Se*g****ret chairs from New Orleans." And above all that, you can just make out in the photo above, is a date: "1840."

1840??!! I nearly fell over!

Is it possible this chair is actually from the 1840s? And what is that proper name, so unfortunately scribbled in a shaky hand, only halfway legible?

I jumped on the Internet and confirmed that the Victorian period of decorative arts stretched a long time. Queen Victoria took the throne in 1837 and ruled until her death in 1901.

The beautiful lines, silky finish of the wood, and construction of the lovely chair make me think it could, indeed, be from the 1840s. Or at least some time during the long Victorian era.

But what is that halfway illegible name? I have searched and searched, and I can't get anywhere. I've Googled every combination of "Victorian," "New Orleans," "Fiddleback," "Chair," "Furniture Makers," "Manufacturer," "Factory," and "1840s" I can think of, but no use.

Does anybody recognize this maker's name? It definitely starts with "Se" and ends with "ret," but it gets kind of hard to figure out, beyond that:

In the meantime, I'm giving the two dopey-looking chairs to Goodwill.

But this one? It's a keeper. And I still want to solve the mystery of its origin.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pretty Packaging, Re-Purposed

A few days back, I signed up for a charge card at Anthropologie. (I don't really like having store-specific charge cards, but it came with some nice perks.) The card came in this cute little cloth bag:

It's really darling, and I wanted to keep it. But for what?

Aha! A jewelry bag, so when I toss a few pieces in the luggage, they don't rub around on each other and pick up scratches:

Then yesterday, I was at Target and bought these Simply Shabby Chic linens:

The sheets were packaged in this beautiful pouch with pretty trim and buttons:

Again, the packaging was so attractive I immediately thought, "What can I use this for?"

My first idea was it could easily be a lingerie bag. (Don't you hate it when you're the person TSA picks to riffle through your luggage, and all your neat piles get pushed around as they decide that you, after all, might not be a terrorist?) Anyhow, lingerie bag!:

The only modification I'd make is to move the buttons further down the bag, so there isn't this gap through which small bits of clothing might fall:

Moving the buttons would make the bag close like this:

My second thought was this bag is perfect for holding two or three sweaters:

Again, this keeps your knits from sliding around inside your luggage. Or you can just tuck the buttoned-down bag on a closet shelf to protect your knits from dust:

I love when packaging doesn't include any plastic or non-recyclable material.

And packaging this pretty is easy to recycle!

What packaging have you re-used because it was just too attractive to throw away?


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