Saturday, 31 December 2016

the end of summer

The summer we enjoyed this year was spectacular.  

Then the weather got a little cooler and the air a little crisper.  I remember the first day I had to reach for boots.  Ugh.

The good news about fall is ponchos!!

When people say, "the best thing since sliced bread", I feel they are doing a disservice to ponchos.  Anything that feels like a blanket, which can be worn at work and while running errands, should have it's own idiom.

Enjoying snuggly warmth while impressing people with my fashion acumen is always a big plus.  Usually when I'm this comfortable, I'm wearing sloppy, over-sized, sweats.

One day when I was trawling through the Halloween costume rack at Value Village, I stumbled across this beauty. 


I peered at the label and was delighted to see it was made in the USA.  Bemidgi Woolen Mills is in Minnesota and judging from their website, they sell all manner of cozy things to keep you warm. Technically this isn't a poncho, it's a cape. But whatever.

I wore the cape during an especially chilly 5 degree Celcius day, and it kept me toasty warm. It's the perfect thing to wear if you plan to spend extended time outdoors.  If I were going to a daytime, outdoor event, I would wear it over a heavy sweater and jeans.

If you walk or commute, it's the best thing ever.  It has pockets where you can keep your cell-phone and bus pass.

If you drive, you will have to take a few minutes to tuck the folds of woolen material around you. 

I found this lovely in the beach-coverup section.  I guess it pays to check all the weird aisles to find ponchos.


I refuse to acknowledge cold weather (until I really have to).  So if wearing a poncho means delaying putting on a coat, then it's all good. 

Other great things about fall are boots, sweater dresses and road trips with amazing blue skies.

Roots stripey poncho, vintage silk blouse, RW leggings.

Most comfortable boots ever.

American Eagle sweater dress (thrifted $5!) Plaid coat (thrifted) Canadian made boots (Hudson's Bay)

If you are visiting Ontario during the autumn, you're in for a treat!  The fall colours are so beautiful.

Wardrobe staples for me are silk blouses over cotton t-shirts, my favourite RW leggings and boots.  Toss on a poncho and you're set for chilly offices or a walk outdoors.

Here are some pictures from my fall road trip.  Driving across Ontario makes you really how really BIG Canada is.  I stopped to take some pictures.

It's common not to see anyone for miles on the highway.  So when I saw this train, I had to take a picture.

Canadian or what?

Small town Ontario.

If you look closely, you'll see stacked rocks on top of the rocky outcrop.  I saw scads of Inuksuks  and stacked rocks along the highway.

Spectacular sky.

happy thrifting everyone ;)

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Thrifted dress bonanza!

Freeow!  It's almost the end of the year, and I've almost finished watching the entire season of "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency", again.  I'm not saying I've been a total, Netflix sloth...spending hours and hours supine on the couch. But then again, I'm not NOT saying that either.

I am saying that it's inarguably the BEST time to thrift, as the thrift stores are positively BURSTING with amazing clothing.  

In the past three months I went on several shopping sprees and I literally left loads of scrummy clothing behind because I found too much good stuff.  Sigh.

I've been obsessed with dresses and velvet...and the 90's. Here is a selection of amazing dresses that I found.  Prices ranged from $2-$25.

In no particular order.

I bought FOUR black dresses at Value Village.  I originally had many more in my cart (yup, it was a dress-apalooza). But I exercised great restraint and put most of them back.  

Here are two of the dresses. The dress on the left is particularly becoming.  I have never owned a dress with asymetric details before - I am quite happy with it. The dress on the left is a thick cotton knit with jewelled neckline.  It still had the tags on it!

I bought two other black dresses.  One with a sweetheart neckline and mesh, beaded shoulders.  The other was a floaty, long 90's dress...I love the 90s!!  

Have you ever had one of those dreamy, thrifting moments?  You know, when everything is incredibly inexpensive?  And the aisles are loaded with everything you could possibly want?  Welcome to my Salvation Army shopping spree.

I sorta regret not buying this 80s tafetta for $2.  It would have made an amazing sleeveless, dress.

I came home with this $2 velvet maxi.  I wore it to a comedy night.  It was excellent for an evening of laughter and great food.

I nipped into the Sally Anne during one of their 50% off sales.

Imagine my surprise when I found this lurking amongst the Old Navy and George.

I squealed when I saw the label.  Which may explain why I'm holding the dress so close in this picture - I wasn't going to let it get away!!

This St. John dress likely retailed for a pretty penny.  It came home with me for $5!!

Hello, is that jacquard?

Why yes, I'll take you home with me.  And that crushed, grey velvet dress too.

This bright green, silk sheath came home too.  It's J Crew, hurrah!

Nothing is more practical for our Canadian climate that a loose, sweater dress.  Especially when it's made of easy-care acrylic.

Joe Fresh $5

I've already worn it to work. Paired with leggings and boots.  It was a hit!

I also came home with some yarn, a couple of scarves, and some china.

10 skeins of Canadian wool

Four scarves

Feeling lazy, I threw the mohair scarf in the washing machine on the delicate cycle.  It did shrink, but in a good way.  It's dense and lightweight.  I wore it on an especially chilly, windy day and it did an excellent job blocking out the Artic air.

I also find that washing mohair helps blunt the extreme, hairy itchiness.

Forgetful idiot that I was...I unrolled the scarf forgetting that I had this china cup rolled inside.  The cup cracked, so I threw it away.  I still have the tidbit saucer, which I've used to hold my tea-time dainties (which is a fancy way to say Kit-Kats).

Back to my thrift haul.  I found some extraordinary items which did not come home with me.  But I took pictures to show you.

Fabulous vintage coat

English made "Official" velvet halter dress.  If only this vintage beauty could talk!  I bet it went to wonderful parties!

The neckline was embellished with glittery stones.

The quality of the velvet was amazing.  I hope it went to a good home.

I also found this vintage maxi.

And this more, modern leopard print.

I did buy this Liz Claiborne.  I do like a lined dress that you can scrumple up and squish into ball for packing.  It doesn't wrinkle!!  I packed it away for the spring. 

This black watch, tartan dress joined the other tartan items in my wardrobe.  It's a tad snug, but I can wear it unbuttoned as a duster.

Last but not least, this Ikat print, Anne Klein dress.  Also, packed away for the summer.

Whew! That was a long post.  I could use a cuppa!

happy thrifting ;)

Thursday, 22 September 2016

I can, you can! We all can!!

This is one of my favorite summer rituals!  You know when it's finally summer.  And our local, mom 'n pop ice-cream shop opens up!

One scoop of coconut, chocolate-chip please!

I can't deny that the temperatures are getting a little cooler at night.  Plus we have these guys carbing up for their migration south.  

Lucky so-and-so's!  The rest of us have to buy a plane ticket!!

The head goose wasn't happy.
I backed away....slowly.

Summer was a bountiful one this year.  A co-worker let me harvest rhubarb from her property.  When I was done, I couldn't see the car for the rhubarb!


The rhubarb was spectacularly tall and thick (almost as tall as I!)

Trim the leaves off, they're poisonous, eh?  Give the stalks a wash.

Chop, chop, chop.

Just add some strawberries.  And a bit of honey.

Throw everything in the pot.  I finally perfected stewing rhubarb.  The key is to add a little water and keep stirring until rhubarb breaks apart into chunks of threads.  Then add the strawberries.  You can skim off the foam if you want.

Canning kettle and preserves, on the go!

Here's the first batch.  I used too much liquid, but the vacuum is good - this will be tasty!!

Second batch!

Peaches and tomatoes were on sale.  I got a few looks from fellow shoppers.  One of the store clerks stopped to chat with me - I think he thought I planned to eat these myself, ha!

These 3 litre baskets of Ontario peaches were on sale for $2.99.  I bought about 12 baskets.  The crate of Roma tomatoes were $8.99.

I carefully sorted through the fruit - most of the fruit needed a day or two to ripen.  When the fruit was ready for canning, the kitchen became a busy place indeed!!

Soak and a gentle wash.

Lots of slicing...I leave the skins on.

I tried a new recipe.  4 cups of sliced peaces, 1 diced mango, 4 diced jalapenos, 2 tablespoons of diced ginger, bit of salt, 2 cups of diced onion, balsamic vinnegar, lemon juice and sugar.  All the ingredients for peach/mango chutney!

Get ready for delicious!

Batch  #1

Batch #2

I also tried canning plums.  These are purple plums.  

I added mangoes and sugar and kept mixing until I had delicious, tangy plum preservers.  The plums and mangoes cooked into a yummy looking red.

I tried my hand at peach/pepper preserves.  The jury is still out, let's just say it's a taste sensation.

Peaches with ginger.

Batch #3 of Peach Chutney!!  It's delicious with chicken!!

The tomatoes are ready!!

Wash, slice and dice.  I kept the skins on again, I'm a rebel that way :)

I made a crock-pot marinara sauce.  It turned out more like a stewed tomato with oregano, basil and parsley.

I also made was delicious!!

With all cooking and heat, the pears I bought ripened early.  So I canned them with a few apples.  I also threw in a diced jalapeno, ginger and cinnamon in a light syrup.  Haven't tasted it yet...I'm daring that way!!

It was the last batch!  After 2 weeks of slicing, dicing and sticky kitchen floors, I was done with canning.  The best part of canning is carefully fishing the jars out of the kettle, laying them on a towel, and listening for the gentle "thwucking" sound of the vacuum sucking the lid in.  

Onto other projects.  I'm trying to plow through some sewing projects.

This material came from a dress, which I bought second hand for $3.  

I wanted to DIY the cotton dress into drawstring shorts. 

The first pair of shorts were far too small - hopefully the second pair will be better :)  If at first you don't win, try, try again.

Onto the outfits!!  I have been feeling very lazy lately.  Anything with an elastic waistband is good. 

The necklaces and purse were thrifted.

I love this thrifted, maxi-skirt!!  

I thrifted some fabulous dresses.  Two sweater dresses, one denim dress and one camisole dress.  All four dresses were $5 each.

High humidity makes for rosy checks and frazzled hair!

I won't show you the rest of the dresses until the humidity subsides, you're welcome :)

happy thrifting!