Here is a very moving photograph taken inside an evacuation center near Fukushima showing the important work and comforting power of these beloved creatures.
The Romantic Lifestyle
Thursday, March 31st, 2011
Here is a very moving photograph taken inside an evacuation center near Fukushima showing the important work and comforting power of these beloved creatures.
Thursday, March 31st, 2011
I am asked for my baked chicken recipe so often that I have decided to post it on my blog. I call it Class Chicken because I taught dance classes in my home studio for many years. The classes lasted an hour. I usually had one at 4:45 – 5:45PM. My dance studio was just a couple of rooms away from the kitchen. I could prepare the chicken for baking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and pop the chicken and several baking potatoes into the oven a couple of minutes before I began teaching class. It would be perfectly cooked and I could serve dinner at 6:00! I was able to prepare this no fuss delicious chicken dinner and have dinner on the table a few minutes after my class was finished. The ultimate in multitasking, right?
My kids love this recipe! So do I. And every adult who has eaten it at my house want’s my secret. There is no secret. It is very simple to make. I have tagged this recipe for children as they love it. It is really an adult recipe fit for everyone!
You will need:
Chicken, olive oil, Herbes de Provence, rosemary spring, thyme sprig, bay leaf or several, salt and coarsely ground pepper, a fresh lemon
Baking Potatoes, butter, salt, pepper, sour cream, chives or green onions, lemon ~ if you want them for toppings.
You can use any kind of chicken cut into parts. You could use all breasts, and or thighs, or drumsticks, or a combination of those pieces or a whole chicken cut into parts. The amount is also optional. Cook as much as you will serve and eat for one meal or extra so you can save it to eat cold the next day. Baked chicken breasts are delicious sliced into small pieces and added to a green salad or put into a sandwich.
I use chicken with the skin on because I like the flavor and I like the crispy skin. I have used the skinless boneless variety and it works. It just isn’t as attractive or as tasty without the lovely crusty skin. I have no problem with fat, not does anyone in my family so we are able to eat whatever we like – such as skin on our roasted chicken!
Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees. Use a heavy cast iron skillet that can be put into the oven or a casserole dish. Choose one large enough to spread out all the chicken you choose to cook in one layer. Grease the pan with olive oil. Using a pastry brush paint each piece of chicken lightly with olive oil in order to make the herbs stick to it.
Put a very generous amount of Herbes de Provence in a mortor and pestle and add salt and coarsely ground black pepper in the proportionate amount you instinctively judge to be right. You can always add more salt and pepper, even after the chicken is cooked and tasted at the table. (Leave out the salt for people who are required not to use it.) Grind these ingredients together. Then coat each piece of chicken quite thoroughly with the herb mixture. I simply put the herbs in a pie pan and roll each piece of chicken through them until it is coated.
Arrange the chicken pieces in one layer in the cooking pan. Now add fresh bay leaves. Either place a whole leaf under a slit in the skin of a big piece of chicken like a breast, or tear the leaf in smaller pieces to put on each piece. I make a slit in the chicken skin with a sharp knife and insert the bay leaf or part of one under the skin. This imparts a lovely flavor to the meat.
It is important not to eat the bay leaves. Ever! The body cannot digest them and they end up in peoples appendixes! So remember to remove the bay leaves before eating. And tell everyone you are serving this.
If fresh rosemary and thyme is available, add a sprig of one or each. I simply lay a small “branch” across the top of the chicken. If you have several pieces cooking use a few small sprigs. You will also remove these at the end of the baking also along with the bay leaves.
The oven is now preheated to 400 Degrees. The chicken is now coated with the herbs, and in the cooking pan, with the bay leaf, rosemary, and thyme if you have it.
Put the chicken in its pan on the center rack of the oven and cook for one hour. You can check it at 45 minutes if you like, but it usually takes a full hour to bake through and develop a nice golden brown crispy crust. The chicken is done when the crust is browned. It smells divine while cooking. The herbs smell fabulous.
Remove the chicken from the oven, remove the bay leaves and any rosemary or thyme twigs before serving. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the meat for a nice fresh twinge of citrus.
If I am serving a group I put the chicken on a platter preheated in my dishwasher or under hot running to help keep the meat hot. If serving individuals or small groups I serve it directly on dinner plates.
I generally bake perfect potatoes at the same time as the chicken in the same oven! At the same 4oo degree preheated oven for an hour. Isn’t that easy? To bake a potato perfectly use a medium sized baker. Wash the skin with a brush. Puncture the potatoes with a sharp knife. I stab a knife into the skin and about an inch into the flesh of the potato about 5x per potato. (It is very important to do this or your potato will turn into a bomb and explode in your oven making a very loud noise and a terrible mess. It has happened at our house when somebody forgot to puncture a potato. And it was a disaster!)
I spent my summers on my grandparent’s ranch in southern Idaho as child and they raised potatoes. Idaho is know as the Potato State! The natives call themselves and each other Spuds! This is how Spuds bake perfect potatoes. My potatoes are perfectly cooked and fluffy inside at the same time the chicken is done. To test them for doneness pierce the potato with a sharp knife. If it goes in easily and the inside is soft it is cooked. If the potato is still firm and it is hard to insert the knife it needs to cook a little longer. (Do not over cook.)
I serve the potatoes with the chicken with butter, salt and pepper, or sour cream and chopped chives or green onions if they are available. I present the potatoes whole, unopened so they stay piping hot and let each diner put on his own choice and amount of garnishes. Salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice squeezed onto the flesh of a potato are also very good if one is trying to avoid butter. B sure to eat the skin as it is really tasty and full of nutrients.
I serve the Class Chicken and Perfect Baked Potatoes with a tossed green salad and my Sauce Vinaigrette salad dressing which is already published on this blog.
I make the salad in advance and stick it in the refrigerator while teaching class or whatever. I also make the dressing in advance and have it sitting out at room temperature. The salad is ready to serve after tossing with the dressing.
You can preset the dinner table, then put the chicken, the baked potatoes and the salad on the table and sit down to a great dinner in 10 minutes. A loaf of crusty French Bread is another nice addition.
I am really hungry after writing this! I want to go to the store to get the ingredients and make it tonight!
I will add a photo in a day or two. I am posting this today at a friend’s request.
Asides from me: Microwaved potatoes taste terrible. Oiling the skin of a potato on the outside before cooking it ruins it. Putting it in foil ruins it. Baking Potatoes are a perfect ready to easily cook gift from God. They come in their own baking dish (their own skin) and the entire thing is edible. They are, in my opinion, a perfect food. I have many other ways to cook potatoes as well which I will write up at some point.
Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
Well, here it is. Finally finished and I have been wearing it for a few days. And people are saying it is so neat and I am so lucky to find such wonderful things. Then they tell me they look but never find anything so cool.
This was not as you see it now when I found it. So I want to explain what was involved.
It was extremely dirty, the lining was rotted and torn. When I slipped the coat on to try it for style and size the lining tore. It was essentially decomposing. The coat was missing several but not all of its buttons. They were same cloth as the coat covered ones rimmed in brass metal.
I decided the coat was worth attempting to restore style wise. Step number one was buy it. It cost $19.99. Take it home, quickly remove the lining, and wash it by hand to use as a pattern for making a new lining. Then package the coat in plastic, in case it had any moths living in it. I never risk letting moths come into my home and get into my clothing. Then, I immediately put it in my car and next day took it to the dry cleaners.
It cost $20 to clean the coat. While that was being done i shopped for lining fabric. I got a shiny satin like milium lining in a rust orange color. I removed all the seams in the lining I had removed and washed. I pressed it. Then I laid them out and pinned them down to my new lining fabric like pattern pieces and cut out my new lining. I sewed it together. And pressed a narrow hem into the raw edges all the way around.
I picked up the coat at the cleaners. It was not looking bad! But it needed some reweaving where the weaving of the tweed, which is a loose weave needed to be reinforced. And some of the seams needed to be redone as the old fabric and thread was beginning to rot. I re-stitched most of the seams for this reason. some by machine and many by hand.
Then I inserted the new lining and hand stitched it into the coat at all the edgings. This was quite time consuming actually! But it was looking good and seeming worth the effort.
The last thing that needed to be addressed was the buttons. I looked at modern ones. I went to four fabric stores looking! They just didn’t cut it. So I ended up moving two of the original 6 covered buttons onto the cuffs. I went though my huge stash of vintage buttons and, luckily I found three strange giant brown ones either plastic or bakelite, that had a perfect accurate 1940’s feel to them – because of course they were from that era! Nothing newer, that I could find would work on this coat.
I decided that it was OK to use different buttons on the cuffs and on the front of the coat! So that is what I did. I have two covered buttons on the cuffs and the big authentic 40’s ones down the front. The coat is finished!
It is lovely and warm because the collar buttons up to the neck snugly. The plaids are perfectly matched in he way the pattern was put together and sewn. The colors look very good on me. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on the coat! Such as, yesterday in an elevator somebody said to me, “Wow! You’ve totally nailed that vintage look!” (That’s a compliment.)
The coat is wonderful now because I saw its potential and I was willing to put the time, money and effort into restoring and repairing it. I didn’t just buy it off the shelf that way! I have seldom found any piece that didn’t require restoration. I put many hours into sewing it back together and looking for the lining fabric and buttons. All that and the expensive professional dry cleaning! I won’t wear anything used with out washing it or having it cleaned. You never know where it has been or what it has been through when you get it at these places.
So, I paid about $23 for the coat with tax, same for the dry-cleaning$23 with tax , then for the new lining fabric we can safely say another $25, the 3 special large vintage buttons I used on the front would easily be $8 apiece at a bargain. – that gets us up another $27 including tax had I had to buy them. (I had them on hand but had bought them earlier.) When all of this is accounted for I have spent about $100 for the coat plus my time, knowledge and tailoring expertise to reline and reassemble it. I know this would have cost at least $100 if you had to have a tailor do it.
I do have a fabulous vintage wardrobe, but probably because I have been collecting things and repairing them over many years. Not because I walk in and buy them that way at the Goodwill or Salvation Army.
I have bought some things that were not strong enough to make it through cleaning. When that happens it is just a risk you took. And when that happens you have lost the money you paid for the article plus the cost of cleaning and you have nothing for it! It can be very disappointing!
I do not see my plaid 40’s coat as a bargain! I think I paid quite a lot for it in terms of time, effort and money. I really like it and it is a very warm practical unique coat so it is completely worth it to me.
Contrary to what some people think you don’t often buy vintage items off the rack ready to wear. There is often a lot of work of be done to get old garments to that point.
Monday, March 28th, 2011
Sewing these colorful little cotton skirts is so fast and so rewarding! I’m suddenly caught up in it! So I have just finished another one! Again, size 3T, for the three year old princess Mademoiselle Coco who loves pink and loves twirly skirts! I am loving them so much that I am going to make myself one as soon as I finish the Princess Wow concert dresses!
I’m whipping these up out of leftover fabric from other bigger projects.
Here is today’s creation! Amazingly, it required two full packages of Rick~ Rack! For a child’s skirt ~ size 3T. That impresses me as a lot of Rick~Rack. I don’t know what to expect when I make an adult’s dress! But I can tell you that I intend to use a lot of the stuff as I love the effect! It is crisp, fresh and decorative! But it is not cheap! The wide stuff ~ called Jumbo, is $4.99 for a package of 2.5 yds. and the Medium is $2.99 ~ so this small skirt contains $8 worth of Rick ~ Rack, $1.50 of elastic, two spools of thread, and the fabric which I cannot really cost out as I used left overs. When I make it again I will calculate the yardage and price it out. It is important to know how much a project is going to cost to make.
People used to sew to save money, but nowadays it is actually quite expensive. You just get to make exactly what you want and get a perfect fit. Those are the advantages. Fabrics and trimmings have gone way up in prices. Of course fuel prices effect these costs as well. Sometimes I take apart old clothes and reuse the fabric and buttons, and other parts in new creations. I actually really enjoy doing that at times.
Here are the two little pink twirly skirts I have made for Coco over the weekend. Both pink, of course! And super cute.
What’s in that pink heart box? A little bumble bee tea set! A tiny teapot, 4 little cups and saucers. and a sugar and creamer. Yes, I will probably photograph it and post it soon.
These would be the perfect skirts to wear for an Easter tea party! I will have to get cooking.
Here’s a close up of the other skirt. It’s a full circle. The bows are removable for washing and ironing or can be taken off and untied and worn to tie the hair back in a pony tail.
Yesterday I read that in the 1950’s ~ 52 million sewing patterns were sold! And that 50 million women and girls in the US were sewing on a regular basis! They were making clothing for themselves, their children and their families. And making curtains, slipcovers and pillows and so on for decorating their homes. That sounds like domestic bliss to me!
The majority of patterns sold were for women’s dresses. And were they ever pretty! Super full skirts, based on Dior’s New Look, nipped in waists. Bright beautiful prints and solid colors, crinolines, hats, and high heels! I would have been in heaven! So lovely and so inspiring!
What would happen now if 50 million American women suddenly started making the majority of their own clothes again? Would everyone look pretty? I think so! Would shopping malls with store upon store of ready made go out of business? Or collapse? Hopefully!
Personally, I love the old styles and I love the old patterns. I look at Vogue Patterns Catalogue for the Vintage Vogue Pattern reissues every time I am in a sewing store. And I have bought some on eBay as well. But now that I know the statistics I wonder where all the original 1950’s patterns are?
I want to discover a warehouse full and make them all! Tell me if you know of one! Seriously!
Sunday, March 27th, 2011
Today I made a couple of fun and easy ultra feminine vintage goodies out of flower and butterfly and polka dot printed cotton. It is so fun and relaxing to work with compared to slinky slithery silks! And it goes so much faster. Very rewarding!
I made a 1952 Vintage Vogue Apron from currently available Vogue pattern number 8643 ~ view A. I love the giant super functional pockets, the practical length and the fact that it required 3 packages of bright pink rick~rack! That is 7 and 1/2 yards! Wow!
It is so springy and cheerful! I am currently in love with colorful aprons and pinafores and printed cotton dresses! The fabrics are so cute and the styles are so girly. I want to start wearing them as accessories all the time while I am working at home. They make me feel good, like wearing perfume does, or having a bouquet of fresh tulips on the kitchen table. They are so colorful and so uplifting! Easy to make too. It is no wonder they were so popular in the 50’s! They make you feel good. Psychologically!
I also made an adorable size 3T full circle skirt in bright pink polka dotted cotton, with green butterfly pockets, waistband and bow from leftover apron material. I made miles of handmade bias tape for the hemline of this little skirt out of a third pink and green printed fabric.
It runs along the top of the pockets and around the bottom of the hem of the skirt. It shows up better in person than in this little photo. And it is a really nice touch in person. The pockets also have pleats and are trimmed with little pink buttons. This little girl’s skirt is made from currently available Simplicity pattern 2356.
I had a special request for a butterfly skirt! And just enough fabric left over from the apron to make two pockets with the butterflies strategically positioned with one on each side and tilted a bit so they look like they are in flight. I think it is a hit! It is going to be a surprise and I am quite sure the little three year old fashion plate I made it for will absolutely love it! I have enough leftover fabrics to make her some matching doll clothes too! I intend to do a doll skirt just like the little girl’s skirt!
This kind of sewing is so much fun. I love mixing the fabrics, and adding as many girly details as I possibly can. That would be multiple pink and green printed cottons, pockets, bias binding, decorative buttons, top stitching, inventive pockets, and, of course bows!
The apron features a front T~panel construction which eliminates gathers across the stomach and creates a very slimming look while allowing the side gathers to give the impression of a lushly gathered full skirt.
Women were so conscious of their prettiness in the 1950’s. I say we should look this good around the house! I’m sure it will make us look better and I think it will make us feel better!
Little girls naturally want to wear flowered skirts and butterfly prints and bows and pink ~ grown up women should get back into it as much as possible again! All these vintage touches bring back femininity. They are artistic and they make us feel good. It’s those feminine arts doing their positive work! Bringing sensual pleasure and beauty to life!
Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011
Yes I do feel like those fairy godmothers when they went to their little cottage deep in the forest to secretly work on Princess Aurora’s Sixteenth Birthday ball gown and resorted to using magic to add the final flourishing touches! The finishing touches were so hard to decide on! So they used their magic to whip out several options to try them out. Just like I was doing last night!
They thought they had boarded up the place so that none of their fairy dust would escape and give away their whereabouts, but they had forgotten to close off the chimney. As a result glittering fairy dust spewed out into the atmosphere where the evil Carabosse’s black crow spies saw it as they circled overhead.
The crows rushed back to their conniving mistresses lair and gave away the whereabouts of the good fairies. The fairies were so engrossed in creating the finishing touches to their gown that they were unaware of the evil crews activities. (I was engrossed in my experiments making sashes that I completely lost track of time! I worked almost all night before I realized it was morning!) I made one sash, tied it several ways, then made another and tried them double!
As a result Carabosse followed them back to Aurora’s castle where, disguised as a spinner she enticed Aurora to try her spinning wheel. The princess pricked her finger, was poisoned and slept for 100 years, until the prince charming happened by, hacked his way through the blackberry brambles surrounding the castle with a machete and discovered the princess asleep inside. He instantly fell in love with her at first sight, kissed her and woke her out of her 100 year sleep….. and so on!
We all know what happened then, good triumphed over evil.
The Prince and the Princess, now known as Sleeping Beauty ~ I guess she had gotten 100 years of beauty sleep and looked quite refreshed ~ fell in love, got married and lived happily ever after…
I tried tying my double sash in a dramatic full soft bow.
I actually like all the looks so I have decided to provide Princess WOW! with two full long sashes able to be combined, tied and worn in all these ways!
She loves to wear hats as well and I know that yet another option will be using one sash around the waist in the soft bow as illustrated in the first and second photos and one sash wrapped and tied around a big straw summer hat.
Fortunately I feel that my sashes turned out well and this Sash Story has a happy ending! The dress is almost finished. I just have to anchor down the turned back cuffs on the draped sleeves. I now plan to do this by hand stitching the cuffs to the sleeves then attaching small violets made of ribbons over the stitches. No stitches will show and a few tiny violettes, my signature flower, will appear to be magically blooming, here and there, like wildflowers in the woods on the cuffs of the sleeves. I will try this and post photos of it in a few days for viewing.
Designing costumes is like painting for me. I try something, step back, contemplate it, study the effect, decide if I like it or not. Decide whether to keep it or add to it, or do more or less of it. I ask the woman who will wear it how she feels, what she likes and is comfortable with. Everything must be comfortable especially for performing on the stage.
Sunday, March 20th, 2011
I am extremely happy today because I have finally finished one of the two dresses I am making for Princess WOW! to wear in her upcoming performances. So here it is!
The bodice is made of paisley printed vintage 1960’s silk and crosses over in the front. It is embroidered with hand applied sequins and seed beads and embellished with tiny hand sewn violets and roses. These are made out of satin ribbons and tiny pearls. The bodice is faced with the same bright silky pink fabric used for the top layer of the two layer skirt.
The double layer skirt is made up of a bottom layer of silky mauve fabric which is sewn closed all the way to the hemline at the sides. This is topped by the second layer which is bright pink and is slit all the way up both sides to the empire waistband. The split allows the second skirt to gracefully sweep and billow open at the sides as the wearer moves.
The empire waist band is constructed with a casing which encloses a soft 1/2 inch wide elastic inside a beautiful lavender French printed vintage satin ribbon and is adjustable for both fit and comfort of the wearer from the inside. This pretty ribbon casing is only visible to the wearer on the inside of the dress. I often do something special and pleasurable inside a dress that only the owner/wearer will know about! A very narrow drawstring ribbon in bright light green double faced satin with picot edging is run through the waistline casing on its top side and emerges as a colorful surprise at outside openings on both of the waistline side seams. These green side seam ribbons can be used to adjust the skirt for both style and comfort then tied off in soft floppy bows with long elegantly floating streamers running all the way to the hemline.
The double layer skirt is hemmed at two different lengths – the light mauve under skirt is two inches longer than the side split bright pink over skirt so that the light colored skirt peeks out below. I was inspired by Isadora Duncan’s Grecian dance dresses which always had side split skirts and moved beautifully. Drifting skirts in filmy fabrics always seem incredibly springlike and romantic to me!
The dress is designed to be worn on stage for performances by singer and songwriter Princess WOW! during her upcoming spring and summer concerts. It is meant to evoke the feeling of the bohemian dresses worn by the flower children in the late 1960’s, particularly Penelope Tree in her 1967 ~ 1968 heyday.
The necklace shown with the dress is also designed by me, Lady Violette, and is made of hand made lamp wound pink mille fiore glass beads and 24 K gold and antique rose colored Swarovsky chrystal. It is a one of a kind art piece.
Red satin court shoes and shiny bright pink tights will complete this flower inspired ensemble! All the colors, textures and shapes are inspired by flowers. I am eternally grateful to roses and violets for the ways they inspired me.
Saturday, March 19th, 2011
MOTH EXTERMINATION AND PREVENTION INFO:
First let me list my qualifications: Then let me share what I have learned about moth invasion.
1) I am an ardent knitter and I have boxes of precious hand knit sweaters. And boxes of expensive luxury knitting fibers in the process of being knit or awaiting being knit. Now everything is in plastic sealed bags as well as in boxes.
2) I am a serious collector of fine historic textiles.
3) And I have collected and own an immense amount of valuable vintage clothing.
4) I also own several fur items and these can be offenders. Moths love to live in a nice soft cosy fur collar or coat or muff. Or a lovely oriental carpet, or a wool needlepoint purse! Cashmere socks or a fur purse! Or a silk scarf, especially if it is Dior or Calvin Klein it seems! And pets!
Think carefully about where they might be and be sure to inspect that item and work on keeping those items moth free. Freeze any suspect item for 72 hours. You cannot freeze a pet for 72 hrs but you can wash one.
Thus I am very concerned about preventing invasion and damage by moths!
For decades I had good luck, was very careful and never had a problem. then, suddenly, last summer, for a reason we cannot track the source of successfully, I discovered an outbreak of moths. In my house! In some hand knitted sweaters! I was horrified. And flew into action. We actually found very little information on the problem.
I have always stored my clothes with an immense amount of lavender. I always read that this fended off the offending critters. I have had fresh lavender sachets everywhere. In almost every drawer, hanging in little sacks from every hanger. Stuffed in little bags in my shoes and on every closet and cupboard and shelf and drawer in existence in my house. My friends have always teased me about being the lavender lady. Because my entire house smells of the stuff. Subtly though. It is not overwhelming.
Moths are said to dislike the strong fragrance of lavender and stay away from it. It did not fend them off. They came in spite of it and attacked my cashmere and alpaca and natural untreated Scottish and Irish woolens. By the time we discovered them they had made it through an unfortunate number of nice things.Luxury fibers and designer clothes are their favorites.
We found out after reading everything online and researching like crazy that lavender doesn’t really kill them. It just slightly discourages them. In our case the strain we had seems to have liked it a lot! I suspect they had developed a taste for it!
You have to kill the moths and the eggs and the larvae which are the wretched creatures that eat your silks and wools. cashmere and alpaca, etc. All luxury fibers and nothing else. The one and only way to surely wipe them out is to put every item you suspect them of being in or getting near in your freezer at temperatures lower than 32 Degrees F for at least 72 hrs. Enclose each item in a zip lock bag, get the air out and then put the bag and its contents in your freezer for 72 hrs minimum. After removing it keep the item stored in its sealed plastic bag with a small silk bag of lavender inside it. You can get the small silk bags in which to make the lavender sachets at dollar stores. Fill them with bulk organic lavender from the health food stores. That is right. Not one bag for a drawer full of sweaters. One for each sweater in each zip lock bag.
To be absolutely safe that is then how you have to store your clothes for eternity.
Moth larvae do not fly or climb onto clothes. They walk or crawl onto them. So you should have your coats and suits and the like hanging up not sitting folded on shelves or in drawers. No more elegantly folded stacks of cashmere sweaters. That is what I had and they just ate their way through them!
Moth balls are not an option because they will poison you and your clothing. They stink and they are completely out of date. Passe! Unsafe and disgusting.
I inspected everything I owned and cycled everything through my freezer for 72 hours. I now keep everything I own sealed in plastic bags and in each of those I keep a lavender sachet in a small silk drawstring bag. This process took me three months. It was awful. A lot of work!
Any new item – especially anything from a thrift or consignment shop that I bring into the house – I immediately put in a plastic bag and pop into the freezer for the 72 hour freezing treatment. That includes children’s stuffed toys and all sweaters, ties, wool clothing items, etc. Even yarn and fabric. If I buy a scarf, into the freezer it goes.
I fear that we contracted the original moth problem from an item bought at a thrift store that seemed perfectly clean and got folded up and put on a shelf with another stack of sweaters. I fear it had moth eggs in it, the larvae hatched and then began munching their way through essentially everything in our home. They can get into silk drapes, wool carpets, pets, any silk or wool items and all fine natural animal fibers. They spread like wildfire.
I originally understood that dry cleaning items killed them. But I do not think it actually does so every time. I have spent an immense amount of money on dry cleaning and still found moth damage on the items. the freezer treatment is the only thing I know of that actually works.
Our freezer now has clothes in it all the time. I have cut way back on what I buy at thrift stores because of this problem. I am afraid every sweater in there is harboring moths. Same with consignment stores.
I am absolutely fastidious about caring for my clothing. I know not everyone else is. I know items may look ok but may not be. You cannot see moth larva or eggs in a knitted sweater. You can only see devastating holes after they have done their thing. Same in a silk scarf or a cashmere coat.
Most of the time moth damage is permanent and cannot be repaired. Heartbreakingly I had to throw out several cashmere sweaters this summer that got infested and had moth holes in them. The moths prefer the most expensive fibers. That is angora, merino wool, cashmere, alpaca, llama, and other expensive fibers.They also will infest fur items. Rugs and drapes, pillows stuffed with feathers, blankets, and shawls. We found out that they like clothes that have been worn the best. So the little scent of a person having worn the item attracts them as well.
Fastidiously inspect everything and freeze things for 72 hours at 32 degrees F or lower is suspect. Better to be safe than sorry.
Please share any more information you have knowledge of for killing them and controlling them without causing risk to humans.
Friday, March 18th, 2011
I have finally finished knitting and finishing this lovely Noro Kureyon Sweater. The color way is appropriately called The Greens. I executed the entire thing in moss stitch, except for the ribbing which is done in a knit 2 x purl 2 rib.
I ended up having to create the pattern myself which has often been the case for me when working with Noro yarns. I wanted a little 1950’s style bolero jacket that would fit snugly under the bust and stay put due to the ribbing. I had to add the wide ribbed button and buttonhole placket down the front and the ribbed collar to make the ribbing under the bust look balanced.
I struggled and ultimately succeeded to make the stripes on both sides of the sweater match up perfectly This took two more balls of yarn, than I would have needed, yardage wise, to complete the sweater. Noro is self striping hand dyed yarn and does not come out in a predictable manner. Every time I have used it I have needed a lot of extra yard in order to match the stripes on both sides.
I love Noro’s yarns and have made a number of garments out of them but without fail I have needed a lot more yarn than sizing recommendations or patterns called for. I highly recommend buying at least two more balls than you estimate you will need to be sure you can complete a garment. It is also made in limited color runs and dye lots so it is often impossible to get more if you find yourself running short.
If you end up with extra you can always use it up in a small project. It felts beautifully creating unusual effects! I do have some left over from this sweater and I plan to make one of the Lady Violette Clutch Purses out of it. It will come out in the same colors as the sweater but felted so the fabric will look totally different! They should be adorable together! In fact, I want to start on that tonight!
I recommend using the One-Row Buttonhole method as the buttonholes described in average knitting patterns usually just create a hole which can stretch out easily. Just google Knitting One-Row Buttonholes to find several instruction methods on how to make them.
If you want to make a similar collar there are patterns in Noro Flowers Book 4 by Jenny Watson with ribbed collars – not exactly like this and shown in different Noro yarns. In fact it would probably be much easier just to follow one of those and use the yarn they recommend.
I really wanted to make my bolero out of Kureyon The Greens yarn and already had the yarn. It is much heavier than any sweaters they show in The Flowers book. I did keep notes but I do not plan on writing out this pattern for others to use at this time. I am on to other knitting projects myself! This one took a very long time to complete and I am eager to plunge into something else now.
Here is the back view of the sweater. I really like the placing of the stripes on this one solid piece of knitting. It is always easier to work on a large pattern piece with self striping yarn than a series of small ones that need to be sewn together. Notice how the stripes are both horizontally longer and narrower in width on the larger back piece than on the two smaller front pieces. I think this shows the yarn off to greatest advantage. To end up with equally narrow stripes on the fronts you would have to break the yarn and attach new pieces constantly which isn’t good to do. I ended up deciding to compensate for the wide stripes in the front by the positioning of the yarn and the stripes in the front ribbing and on the collar. I am satisfied with the way it ultimately turned out but I want to try to work with Noro in larger more continuous pieces of knitting to best utilize the way the stripes naturally form in the yarn if I can.
I plan to wear this bolero with bright kelly green tights, the dress shown in the photo and, for additional warmth, with a dark green hand loomed Irish tweed hooded cape. The green alligator shoes I showed a couple of days ago will complete my look. Yet another good one for Saint Patrick’s day isn’t it?
The necklace in the photographs is vintage Givenchy.
Thursday, March 17th, 2011
“GREEN ~ It is supposed to be an unlucky color. I think that is entirely wrong. I am supertitious and green has always been very good for me. And it is a lovely color and very elegant.I especially like it combined with blue. It is a color of Nature and when you follow Nature for your color schemes you can never go far wrong. I love to see green used in every shade and every material from tweed in the morning to satin in the evening. There is green for everyone and for every complexion.” Christian Dior
I too love the color green and the way it looks with blue. An especially elegant woman I knew growing up always wore Christian Dior navy blue suits with pale blue silk blouses, green shoes and handbag, a green or navy blue hat and oriental jade, diamond and gold jewelry. This combination was her trademark.
Thursday, March 17th, 2011
Interesting ways to combine and wear vintage costume jewelry. On the right side mannequin ~ 4 long strands of green glass beads from the flapper era, art deco crane pendant as pin on right shoulder strap, along with crystal brooch, square art deco crane pendant on decorative chain of short necklace. All from the 1920’s.
Middle mini mannequin ~ tear drop shaped Czech glass “jade” pendant suspended from 4 chains.
On table ~ Large celluloid flamenco hair comb set with emerald green glass rhinestones, from the 1840’s. Two 1920’s thin celluloid bracelets ~ one set with green glass rhinestones, the other with blue ones. Large clip earrings from the 1940s ~ made of mottled green glass cabochons, glass pearls and glass “amethysts,” in base metal settings.
The 1940’s bracelet that matches those large green glass cabochon clip earrings is fastened around the shoulder of the velvet sleeveless blouse on the left side mannequin. I have found this to be a glamorous and unique way that I can wear bracelets that I like but that are too big for my small wrists! I also sometimes use large clip earrings such as the cabochons shown as dress clips.
I often like unusual and dramatic pieces of vintage jewelry but they are too big for my small wrists or my tiny earlobes so I find another place to wear it. This dilemma has resulted in my developing some original personal looks that are mine alone which is always a good thing!
I recommend trying jewelry out in all kinds of ways because you never know what new way you might discover to wear it! The large fringed scarf/shawl draped over the shoulder is also jeweled and embroidered with metallic gold thread and pearls. It makes a lovely evening shoulder wrap and is so large it can also be wrapped and tied as a long sarong skirt or a short sarong dress!
How you present yourself and wear your clothes and accessories is a performance art. How you put yourself together is a feminine art!
Men can practice this for themselves too as a masculine art. There are as many fabulous opportunities for styling men’s clothes out there as there are for women. I hope to eventually be able to blog about those as well! Because a lot of men need help. The first thing they need to do is care about how they look and what they wear. Today they should wear a little something green! For Saint Patrick and for the plant!
Everybody, you are supposed to wear a little something green today so you don’t get pinched!
Thursday, March 17th, 2011
A beautiful pair of vintage dark forest green alligator pumps from Italy with tasteful and comfortable 2″ stacked black leather heels tie in front with a black satin ribbon bow. Handmade, all leather soles, and lining ~ beautifully constructed and exquisitely comfortable. Made by Maraola.
Incredibly well made and very comfortable. European size 38. Just gorgeous!
Practical and their vintage ads said, “Why wear anything else?” This is because they feel so good you don’t want to wear anything else. But they were originally so expensive one might not have been able to afford to wear them!
I do not know exactly when they were made. My research yields an approximate $800 price tag when new! If bought in the 1960’s. The style is timeless so I cannot place the year they were made exactly. It could be as far back as the 1940’s. Or as recently as the 80’s. I got them at a consignment shop in Brooklyn NY. For $30! The owner did not realize they were real alligator and she thought the color green was both unlucky and off beat. I happen to love green so I was happy to take them off her hands.
I know I have used the word comfortable four times in one short paragraph. That came out that way, instinctively because it is really true so I am going to leave it that way! No need to say more!
I am so glad I own these! I can figure out a way to wear them with almost anything! The style is totally classic. I love these shoes! They are green and to me green is very versatile. It is everywhere outside in nature so it follows that it must go with everything!
It goes well with navy. And with many prints. In the top photo the shoes are photographed against my green Karistan flower strewn carpet. In the bottom photo I have used a vintage cotton gauze shawl as a background.
Green can, of course, be worn with black. And these shoes are perfect with Irish tweeds and hand knitted sweaters because of the alligator skins.
The weather has been extremely cold, wet and blustery so this year’s Saint Patrick’s Day will undoubtedly be very cold. As in the dead of winter! I will be happy to dress very cozily!
So these little guys should be just perfect! With a hand knit sweater, warm tights, a tweed suit, a green cape!
Some people think green is unlucky. Christian Dior mentions that in his style dictionary. He also says that green has been lucky for him and he finds it great color for accessories, such as hats and shoes. I have always loved it so I will wear it happily and consider it lucky.
If it was lucky for Christian Dior I think it is lucky for me as well!
There is such a thing as The Luck of The Irish! And I am Irish and I luckily look good in green and I am lucky enough to keep finding lovely green vintage items!
It is wise to rescue things and recycle or reuse them, to go green with the planet and to wear green if it both falls into your lap and makes you happy. I consciously try to do all these things.
Almost everything I own and use is enjoying a rebirth and regeneration in my possession. I want to invite every reader of my blog to recognize this fact and join me in both celebrating the specialness of old and forgotten treasures and finding enjoyment in renovating old things that are often better than new ones and still have a lot of life left in them.
Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
The Irish love hats. And I love wearing a green felt hat on Saint Patrick Day. Being of Irish decent and having red hair and green eyes I learned long ago that this was a huge hit! Walk into any nice restaurant and bar in your charming green hat and every man in the establishment offers to buy you a drink and dinner. Men love these green hats. And the women who wear them on Saint Patrick’s Day! The one on the glass head is a “Daschette” by Lilly Dache. The one in the back with the two covered buttons is by Stetson for Women designed for Maier and Frank in Portland Oregon. The plain round one is a fur felt beret by Tosca of Italy. It is plain and simple alone or can be easily adorned with a clip or flower from your own collection. All these hats are from the 1950’s. Christian Dior advocated adding a clip to a plain hat to personalize it. The Daschette with it’s black ribbon is undoubtedly inspired by the cloche hats of the 1920’s. And would be adorable with a black flapper dress and a cacoon style black satin coat, matching green tights and black low heeled shoes. In fact, I think that is what I will wear tomorrow! With a long strand of green flapper beads as well! There is a painting by Edward Hopper in which a woman is sitting in a restaurant wearing just such a green cloche hat. I distinctly remember her hat! I will try to find that painting over the next couple of days and post it so you can see her hat. I often find good inspiration from paintings and drawings for how to dress!
Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
This is a fabulous wool coat and matching hat trimmed in real beaver fur from the early 1950’s. It fits a stylish little three year old perfectly! It is adorable! I rescued and restored it. When I found it it was damp and very very dirty. It was a risk as I didn’t know if I would be able to get it clean enough and mold free enough to use. I had to have it professionally dry cleaned. Then I restitched most of the lining. I replaced the buttons with new ones – several of the originals which had been dark brown were missing. I didn’t have the same type. But I did have a full set of black velvet ones off of an old jacket that would fit. So I used those. The coat is by Bambur Originals in Tennesee. It was made in the early 1950’s. The adorable matching hat has little earflaps that fold down to cover the ears when needed! They are tucked inside as currently pictured. Two long ties extend from the hat to tie under the chin and keep it on. I got the coat ready just in time for Christmas to wear over holiday dresses but then I realized it is perfect for Saint Patrick’s Day as well! We are certainly getting a lot of use out of this one! It was well worth the expense and effort to fix it! It is on top of my glass coffee table which is placed on top of my green Karistan carpet with wildflowers on it for the photo! I am posting vintage items in green this week in honor of Saint Patrick’s day. I have decided they can be any size and for anyone in the family!
Monday, March 14th, 2011
This is an elegant vintage 60’s formal gown of heavy green silk shantung lined in China silk. The front is a classic figure fitted column. The back is a cape like skirt attached to a yoke with dramatic covered buttons. I particularly like the side view with the cape like effect of the drape.
Designer Emma Domb was American and famous for her bridal gowns, prom dresses and ball gowns. This is an austere model for her as most of her dresses were full skirted tulle concoctions. This green, in person, is about as strong a kelly green as you can get so it seems perfect choice to wear for Saint Patrick’s Day Ball to me!
Sunday, March 13th, 2011
This is an adorable circa 1962 emerald green silk paisley brocade dress suit with jacket. Even more amazing it is new old stock from the prestigious San Francisco store I. Magnin, which means it was never sold and never worn and still has the original tags on it!
It is perfect! A real gem!
Sunday, March 13th, 2011
In the spirit of Saint Patrick’s Day a fantastic pair of green evening sandals that lace up the leg and tie. These are made of green metallic leather with silk chiffon ribbon ties. I will give a couple of views as they were a bit difficult to photograph! Especially without a model!
These were made by BCBG Max Mara and seem just the thing to wear with a Green Greek Goddess Style Evening Gown.
They are designed to wear crossed over, laced and tied at the ankle like a ballet slipper. Very very sexy shoes!
I found these while vintage shopping and they were not my size! They were a size 9 and 1/2 and I wear a 7 and 1/2 But they were fantastic and in great condition.
I had to buy them and I kept them around for a while as pieces of art, then, trying to edit down my shoe collection I sold them on eBay. My criterion being that they didn’t fit me so I should probably part with them.
As usual the woman who bought them got a great bargain and really loved the shoes. And as usual, I miss them! I’m glad she appreciated them though!
I always feel bad when I sell things on eBay and take a total financial loss. These were amazing because of the color and the design. And they have 4 inch heels. They are yummy and precarious and very dangerous to wear! No part of the shoe hugs the foot so there is nothing structurally designed to hold them on. They are what my brother calls danglers, the kind of shoe you wear to the opera and simply dangle your feet in the aisles to be seen for the pleasurable sensual and visual effect. Do not try to walk far or on uneven surfaces, run or dance in them. Because you could get easily hurt! But they would be lovely for a photo shoot! These definitely fall into the category of shoes as primarily art pieces! That is their highest and best use as shoes. And a perfectly justifiable use I might add!
Saturday, March 12th, 2011
This is an amazing opportunity that comes around once a year to get out the gorgeous green vintage items from the 1940’s and 50’s when the exact right color of Irish green was popular for suits, hats, and dresses.
I have some amazing pieces in my collection and I think posting them in my blog during the week before St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect way to show off several! And inspire people to plan the right special green ensemble in advance of March 17th!
Here is a beautiful late 40’s suit worthy of any Hollywood heroine! It is the epitome of femininity! There is no label in it so I do not know who designed it.
The structure of this suit is just beautiful! Note the princess seamed bodice, wide lapels, shoulder pads of just the right proportions, nipped in waist that tapers to a point in the back elongating the lines of the torso, and the graceful peplum. It is made of wool gaberdine and is lined in rayon crepe of the same green. The skirt is unlined as was customary of the times because women wore half slips under their skirts.
It has hand sewn self-bound buttonholes and black shiny buttons which are probably bakelite. I think it would be perfect worn with black suede pumps and a little black suede box purse and, of course, the perfect little black hat. I think Lauren Bacall would have worn this on Saint Patrick’s Day!