...but I have to say that on a grey wet day I did find the twinkly lights quite delightful!
...but I have to say that on a grey wet day I did find the twinkly lights quite delightful!
My favourite salad - avocado, banana, red pepper, cucumber, juice and grated peel of an orange and chopped brazil nuts. Freshly squeezed juice - carrot, apple, celery, kale, cucumber and ginger.
I wonder if this will counteract the effect of the half packet of biscuits I scoffed earlier? I keep biscuits for visitors, but once the packet is opened....
..the story of the Shackleton Antarctic expedition. In this Royal Geographical Society exhibition at The National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh - it is so well told and so worth seeing.
A novel way to guide you to the right place
And a welcoming sign.
In many ways it is an old fashioned exhibition - photographs and words, some original film and artifacts - but such stunning photographs and such moving words..
Endurance was the word.
Simply so enjoyed..
..by sunlight and shadows today,
and wondering how best to use my unheated 6 x 8 greenhouse through the winter..
Apart from starting off some sweet peas, any ideas?
Staying organised is the challenge really - it is an ongoing task but here are a few links (thanks Julia) which may be of interest. The subject still fascinates me!
This new book has a very strange cover photograph - who would organise their books this way? It would be almost impossible to find the one you wanted! (am I missing something here?). Otherwise a very sensible sounding book.
Marie Kondo has kids - How is she coping?
Beautifully I suspect.
The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning (?). I don't think this will be a bestselling title somehow....what do you think?
..if you can to this beautiful tribute to cellist Jacqueline du Pre (no hype/glamourous makeover/scandal/gossip/trash).
A perfect programme
I'm trying to garden a little as often as possible, regardless of the weather. Today four ten-minute tasks -
an ongoing job, a start and finish job, a rescue job and one I wanted to do.
Cutting back and removing moss is ongoing and soggy work (and endless!).
Also ongoing for a while anyway - I am planting 100 Thalia daffodils in pots of various sizes to interplant come spring with some already in the ground (so as not to damage the ones already in).
Selecting some of the nicer logs to stack on the front porch = just because I wanted to.
The start and finish job was to cut off the foliage from the clumps of crocosmia Lucifer. (That's the timer attached to the wheelbarrow at the top! Ten minutes only!)
The rescue task was to pick lots of nasturtiums which were hidden under the foliage.
And bring them in to dot around the house and enjoy in the darkening evenings.
Just a little, but satisfying.
..some autumn rituals, like making a wreath from the bines of the golden hop which gets cut to the ground each year about now.
It doesn't matter how wobbly your first shape is..
As you add more strands you can tug and tweak it into shape.
I try not to weave it too tightly.
The leaves will fall off as it dries and you can trim any ends later too (though I like it irregular and 'home made' looking! Best to dry it flat until the shape is firmed up, then you can decorate it for Christmas. One for me, three for gifts and one temporary one made from the leftovers to hang on the door for a week or two.
A lovely hour or so in nature with the sun on my back. So precious. So peaceful and so simple.
Do you have any autumn rituals? Or spring ones if you are living in the southern hemisphere?
Seriously good questions in this (longish) article.
And you know I like a good question...
A nice wee Scottish town with great beaches,
and long-legged people
with interesting shoes
I wonder who designs the soles?
and if it's a fun job..
Nairn also has
this lovely old postbox
and the best flower shop in the area. (My sister's!)
For a while.
I leave you with a collection of quotes from my style notebook which I have collected over four years and which have made me think, or made me laugh or inspired me - sorry I can't always credit them.
Wear confidence. It is the height of fashion.
Elegance can be quiet but it must be confident.
Elegance is the privilege of age.
Stick with a style and add a piece or two a year.
We want the utopian place where comfort meets good looks.
Buy less and buy the best.
Remember they can stay lovely on the shelves.
Fashion...is life enhancing and, like everything that gives pleasure, it is worth doing well. Vivienne Westwood
To me clothing is a form of self-expression- there are hints about who you are in what you wear. Marc Jacobs
Fashion changes but style is eternal. Yves Saint Laurent
Clothes make the man. Very few naked men have much influence in the world. Mark Twain
Style is wearing an evening dress to McDonald's, wearing heels to play football. It is personality, confidence and seduction. John Galliano
Regarding your own style - Once found it brings complete happiness, It gives you self confidence, always. Yves Saint Laurent
Naturalness is synonymous with stye. Armani
Fashion is all about happiness. It's fun. It's important. But it's not medicine. Donatella Versace
There now follows a short interlude..
I've been on this theme for well over a week but it has led me to such interesting places - sociology, psychology, history, nostalgia.... There are some great books and blogs to explore.
I reminisced in yesterday's post about my family's interest in making things, clothes included. The things they made were more homely than fashionable but in my father's family (coal miners) Great Aunt Jen, Aunt Nan who worked in the fashion department of a big store, and Aunt Margaret who was very pretty had style.
Aunt Jen was housekeeper to a wealthy family, and when she visited home, a two roomed house (that's not two bed-roomed, that's two-roomed with outside toilet shared with another family) I remember her furs, hats, discreet make up, jewellery and perfume - all in the best of taste, and understated, never flamboyant. The lovely thing was she was perfectly at ease about these things and shared her pleasure in them with us all. I think ease with whatever you are wearing is a hallmark of real style. She was quite a character, with a great sense of humour, and I wish I knew more about her. She holidayed in Switzerland. Switzerland!! It might as well have been the moon.
We were thrifty and frugal but knew quality when we saw it. I remember my Mum showing me how some cloth was full of dressings which would wash out and leave the fabric limp. She would also examine the weave for closeness (thread count though we didn't call it that).
Studying Printed Textiles at Glasgow School of Art further refined my eye for good quality, design, and style and when I see someone or something with style I always do a quick analysis - it's fascinating to me, and fun.
What were your influences?
My Mum knitted me this beautiful jacket to a Kaffe Fassett design.
I wonder if you've also been thinking about Linda's questions?
Where do we learn about style and why do some of us become more interested than others in clothes?
I come from a family of makers.
In their free time the men did fretwork and made rag rugs. My mother and her sisters, and their mother, knitted - Fair Isle, aran, Shetland baby shawls, socks, mittens, hats, scarves, sweaters, clothes for us and for our dolls and teddy bears. They even knitted dolls and teddy bears. They did crochet with fine yarn and lacy patterns. They sewed - curtains and home furnishings, dresses, skirts, blouses, (I made a coat when I was in my teens and I designed and made my wedding dress). I have from the earliest age memories of them sharing patterns and ideas and showing each other colours of wool and fabric and discussing the quality and combinations. I was often allowed to choose. I have a lovely memory of the magic of a Fair Isle pattern appearing from the needles and noticing how the colours changed when put in different combinations. My father, a grocer, went to evening classes to learn window display and with a fine hand could paint tickets and prices on the shop window.
They were also a quiet family and much of this activity was conducted in near silence. The click of knitting needles or the gentle sound of the sewing machine were comforting background noise. Reading was the other main home activity. It was all taken for granted really and when I showed some talent for art they would say 'I don't know where she gets it from'.
I was lucky.
The phrase the fabric of our lives occurred to me as I thought of all this. A good title, I thought and looked up Amazon books to see if anyone else had thought of it. They had and I bought a book about allowing grief to become part of the warp and weft of our lives and on YouTube found this...
Thank you Linda.
Style was something else...
I love the comments on this blog! I like that it's a conversation and exchange of ideas - interesting ones from interesting people. Thank you for that.
Guilt! With regard to clothes it's usually that we have spent quite a lot on something and hardly worn it. Evil? Immoral? Wicked? Criminal? No, we just had a splurge for whatever reason. We didn't let our children go hungry to buy it, or risk losing our home. We just splashed out a bit more than usual and now it is sitting there unworn.
a) wear it again, altered perhaps (and practice chutzpah)
b) give it away so several people benefit (charity shop worker has a job, purchaser gets a bargain, end user of charity service gets help and we ourselves no longer feel guilt every time we see it
c) sell it on eBay or similar and buy something we will wear and enjoy wearing.
And I think we can forgive ourselves. That's what you'd tell your best friend, wouldn't you?
Lucille mentioned 'chutzpah' even the sound of it suggests supreme self-confidence. I have looked at my collection of seldom/never worn things to see if there are any that I am simply not wearing because I lack the confidence, and I intend to gradually learn to have more chutzpah. Let's be a bit more daring and not take our clothes too seriously! It won't hurt. Join me?
The interesting question was from Linda who asked in yesterday's comments where our interest in clothes originates. This sent me on a nostalgia trip....which I'll elaborate on tomorrow.
Meanwhile..I am loving these
but they squeak!
The delightful scents of drying lavender and ripening quince are filling the room this evening as I put my feet up after a satisfying day's gardening and consider my next moves on the wardrobe sort.
And the tiny final pickings from the violas cheer me as I do the dishes.
Did you have a good week-end?
A chance lighting effect. Flowers under a lamp are always lovely. These little roses remind me of summer. Yes, as is my habit, I am still resisting autumn!
What I thought was going to be a 'tweaking' of my wardrobe has turned into something more.
It seemed a good idea to put all the things I rarely or never wear - you know the ones you put on but always put back on the hanger - into one pile -it's huge!
Now how ruthless do I want to be? I suppose the answer will be in looking at the pile and asking myself of each thing 'How does it make me feel?' and 'Would I buy it today?'
Reminding myself of how I want my clothes to make me feel....
I think my favourite charity shop is about to get a big donation.
Thank you for sharing your good ideas!
Back to clothes. (I know. From decapitated whales to dresses and skirts is a bit of a leap - you never know what you are going to get on this blog!) Yesterday's post reminded me that a much ignored part of my wardrobe that needs my attention before winter comes is my outdoor outfits...I'll get to that later.
It is fun sharing ideas and from Julia's comment yesterday I got a new one. I will put aside, all in one place, the things I just never wear or use then I will go to that place as if it is a shop and shop there as though I hadn't seen any of it before. And report back! A variation of 'shopping your closet'.
But back to the matter in hand. It will be the work of moments to deal with skirts and dresses. I have two of each! One skirt I never wear - into the 'shop' with it.
Something that I knew would come up and want to find a solution to is the matter of 'good' clothes and in my case 'dressy' clothes. I'm rather fond of dressy clothes but as an artist and gardener living in rural Scotland I very rarely have the opportunity to wear them. Not that I have very many but I'd like to wear those I do have, and I'd like to wear them out!
The secret I think is not so much finding occasions to dress up (though a few would be welcome) but devising ways of dressing down so that I don't feel uncomfortably overdressed but still get the pleasure of wearing my 'best' things.
Today I did jackets and to my surprise find that I have quite a lot of them. But I also realise that I wear them less often as I no longer have a car - I tend to need a coat - though some are thin enough to wear under a coat. I need more time to think about these...
Rather a muddled post today - too many unresolved questions - but that's what the process is about I guess. My little style notebook which I began using in 2013 has been invaluable. Sizes, stockists, quotations, lists of needs and wants....do you have a style notebook?
Simply..don't look further....
..if you are squeamish!
Living in the wilds has it's gruesome side.
A dead Northern Bottlehead whale has been washed up on the shore nearby.
Rare in these waters it is thought to have got it's tail entangled in crabpot lines (though there are alternative theories about military exercises and sonar causing whales to suffer from decompression sickness and there has been a big exercise here lately...). It's lungs were full of water.
First word was that men in huge rubber aprons wielding big knives had been seen on a particularly narrow stretch of the single track road. Experts from the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme were on site but the carcass at almost 7 m long and on a rather inaccessible shore couldn't be lifted, thus the knives. The head has been taken for examination to The National Museum of Scotland, along with samples of stomach contents and entrails. Squid beaks. In the orange boxes.
It is an awe inspiring and very sad sight (and a truly awful smell).
We see seals, porpoise and dolphins, and I know a local boat fishes for prawns (which are sent to Spain!) and when the sea birds are diving you know there is a shoal of fish, but there is so much unknown in the waters of the loch. I did not know there were squid, and I am awestruck at the thought of creatures of this size and larger - this was a juvenile - out there in that other world by day and tonight by the light of a full moon. I wonder how far into the water the moonlight penetrates.
Do the whales look up and take note?
I'm taking the wardrobe sort quite slowly this time. I've considered how I feel now and how I want to feel. (One person I helped felt 'confused' to start with and 'delighted' when we finished. Nice result.)
I've removed everything from the wardrobe that is not ready to wear for whatever reason. I'll examine one category at a time.
I'll start with my problem - trousers. I have many shabby pairs and not many that fit well
There is one beautiful pair I have had for 11 years and not worn for the last five, maybe six? Why am I keeping them? Because they are beautiful, they were quite expensive, I felt so nice in them once....but I try them on but always take them off again and choose something else. I realise they are a bit dated but I could go looking under the same label for an update....
What kind of trousers suit you and your lifestyle best?
Being very small, I suit narrow slim leg or straight leg, full length - jeans/jeggings, one summer dressier pair and one autumn/winter dressier pair, and the one pair which really fit nicely - I am off to buy two more the same to swap with some of the worn ones - that will be the answer for me. I do wear trousers every day.
Because I tried them all on, that took about an hour on yet another rainy day. An hour well spent. Three to donate, one to recycle, two for gardening folded in a drawer, one summer pair to put away elsewhere, five wearable pairs hanging in the wardrobe and one pair on. Nice result.
The tee-shirts took five minutes! Six on the hangers, one on, one in the wash. Some fading and stretched at cuffs and neckline. Could do with three new ones. Standard length, cotton, long sleeves, self colours - a shopping list is developing and the search is on for the right colours. That's my basics.
Are you making progress?
I will change the subject tomorrow - a gruesome tail....
A slightly different angle on questions about your wardrobe ... How do you want your clothes to make you feel?
Comfortable/confident/ attractive/ warm/ dry/ stylish/ creative...
More food for thought in this site - lots to browse if you have the time and the inclination -
Scarves are my favourite accessory and I have lots, hanging on their own set of hangers, ironed and ready to wear. I spend more than I used to on lovely quality fabrics (though I do buy in the sales) and the quick addition of a fresh scarf and perhaps a pair of earrings makes me feel ready for anything!
I am taking out from the wardrobe everything that is not ready to wear now. So, those things that need altered or dry cleaned and the many pairs of trousers that don't fit, as well as the ones which are only fit to garden in because I have way too many gardening clothes.
Do you have things in the wardrobe that you can't or don't wear? Getting them out of there is a great step forward!
Have you thought about your feelings regarding the clothes you have? It's a good place to start. (See yesterday's post.)
So, How do I want to feel when I look at my wardrobe?
Quietly pleased, maybe a little excited? Relaxed, knowing that I have something for every occasion, and that everything hanging there is ready to wear. That I can dress things up or down with accessories I love.
I'm happy to say I don't need to Kondo it - that was indeed a one off - I just need to tweak it a bit.
No big deal.
Just pleasure. If I sound a bit smug, and maybe I am :-) it's because I worked on this some time ago (engaged brain!) and it has really paid off.
Fashion is still my fun!
More favourites. Scarf: The White Company. Necklace: Cos.
Scarf: White Company sale. Necklace: Sahara.
I've spent this rainy day re-reading my own posts under this heading and sorting out, or 'curating' my wardrobe.
There are quite a lot of posts under Simply Stylish. See especially Aug and Oct 2014 if you are also planning a wardrobe sort.
I took my own advice and looked at my wardrobe and asked myself how I feel looking at what is there. Because it has worked so well for me over a few years now I was a little surprised at how many negative feelings came up...
There is the nice dress I wore to Barry's funeral. Will I really ever want to wear it again?
I feel almost taunted by the unworn summer clothes (we have really had no summer to speak of!)
I feel a bit guilty at the number of things I had meant to get altered and never got around to.
I feel enbarassed likewise that there are several things there which are overdue a dry clean.
I feel so frustrated that I cannot buy exact replacements of my real favourites which are wearing out.
And I have to confess there are many things hanging there which I have loved and which have served me well but which I have to accept are past their best :-(
And I may just have crossed the line between subtle and drab!
Work to do, and to enjoy.
Not waving but drowning?
I like the birds shadows on the bed!
Favourite necklace (Topshop) and scarf (Sahara).
Will you join me in an October revamp?
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)