Trying to put my thoughts & ideas down somewhere and give another outlet to my creativity. It's all connected, so I can't say it's a blog about just this or just that. Dolls. Fashion. Art. A little bit on travel, whatever... let's take it wherever it goes...


Indianapolis in Oerlikon

What a fun night! The old open racetrack in my part of the city, which was built for bike races (and is almost a 100 years old), needs friends! The city would like to pull it down, but so far, the people holding the weekly bike races there are holding up against ist.
To draw more spectators, they do what they can, and add special events to the bike races - like vintage car presentations or Harley-Davidson meetings. Yesterday, the vintage cars were on. Ok, it's loud, you don't want to know what or how much of it these cars consume, but it was fun - and fascinating to watch!

There were three presentations with four rounds: motorbikes, motorbikes with sidecars and three-wheeled race cars, vintage F1-racers and similar cars - and the "really" old race and sports cars.

An original vintage Sauber race car.

One of my favourites was this sky blue Citroën racer. Waaaay cool!



Opening night at the Opera

It's the opening night at the opera, so of course the ladies have decked themselves out with only the very best! If you wonder why there are so many more ladies attending than gentlemen - well, that mightjust have something to dowith the singer in the male lead role!

"Carmen" is on tonight, and to get people in the mood, two flamenco dancers have been engaged.

Kenzie, who thinks she's a Carrie Bradshaw-lookalike, has of course chosen a vintage dress, as her idol surely would too - a slinky, sexy 1980s number.

Barbie wears the appropriately named "Diva Supreme" dress from the couture collection by Fashion Avenue (btw - this is one of my childhood dolls whom I've given a new "life" by exchanging her worn out doll body with a new one, refreshing her makeup and giving her a new hairdo that hides how much hair I pulled out by playing and restyling her hair constantly - as much as I loved her, she had to endure a lot!).

Belinda is still wearing her long opera coat... now what might be hiding underneath? Her friend went for short and glittery - might that get her noticed by the guys?

Michelle has opted for a sexy pouf dress by Dressmaker Details - she can afford not only that but also the jewelery to go with it! The attendants handing out the programs have been dressed in toreador outfits - even the girls!

Now, Teresa's dress looks she might have had it in her closet for a few years - oh those early 90s, when everything was just a tad too much!

Pouf dresses seem to be all the rage this season! Sindy might not usually be considered a fashion plate, but she has caught the trend in her creation by Robert Tonner!

Chelsie and Alexandra have gone for Fashion Avenue (but the off-the-rack variety, no couture...) too... a student like Chelsie can't afford more, the ticket has been expensive enough! But she wouldn't dream of missing THIS performance, even if this dress has been to the opera a few times before. Who cares anyway? Alexandra is a bit more conscious though - hopefully nobody notices where her dress is from!

Shelagh though wouldn't want to be caught dead wearing the same dress twice! She's wearing the latest by Jason Wu. Not that she has heard of him before... but if the First Lady wore a dress by him to the inaugural ball, he must be hot!

Kira has opted for a classic vintage dress and big statement jewelery.

Now, Nichelle is sure she has the handsomest guy of them all! And while she hasn't been able to find a vintage dress that fits her, at least she managed to find something retro. She might just be a little jealous of the ladies who actually wear vintage...

Sea foam-green looks best on a redhead, no doubt! One-shouldered dresses were everywhere at the Academy Awards, and she loves nothing better - nobody needs to know after all that she found this beauty at the thrift shop!



The plates on your wall...

The one thing that has caught my fancy lately are vintage souvenir plates (but then vintage souvenir pieces are often so über-cool anyway!). Now usually the term "souvenir plate" or "collector plate" would give me the shudders, and the image before my mind's eye would be of stacks of Albert Anker plates gathering dust at a thrift shop, or Ashton-Drake, Franklin Mint or whatever ads for Thomas Kinkade "art" plates or cheap souvenir plates that nobody would ever venture to display at home voluntarily.

However, two years ago, I happend to find two super cute vintage American souvenir plates, very 50s style, at a thrift shop here in Zurich. Resistance was pointless - I had to have 'em, even if I've never been to Iowa or Nebraska. Of course it would have been nice had there been more of them, but how do you find them, when there's not even a maker's mark on them?

Talk about finding a needle in a haystack! Well, something over a week ago, I had purchased a showcase spot for my sexy Isabelle Allard cocktail dress on Etsy. Not that it helped... but when I checked the spotlight at work (I don't usually do this kinda stuff at work, but honestly, I'm a curious person!), I spotted a collection of souvenir plates on the same showcase... and not just that, one plate looked just like the two I had! Now, how much luck is that? I was giddy to say the least, quickly logged in, dashed off a convo to the seller asking for the shipping costs to Europe and went back to my work. And yes, it did work! I have met another wonderful Etsy seller, who was very helpful.

Today I went to pick up the parcel at the post office. They all arrived undamaged - and nicely wrapped! And there was a surprise - two extra plates at no extra cost!

So here's the Vermont plate to match the other two (and after all, I have been to Vermont!). They're a nice dessert plate size, so I hope to find more to match them, even though I have have enough tableware already (yes, that can be addictive too!).

And here are the other ones:

Featuring Colorado, Williamsburg (note the funky pink buildings!), the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver, Gettysburg, Connecticut, New Hampshire and the Niagara Falls. Most of them are transfer printed, and the Niagara plate is meant to be hung on a wall, it comes with a string attached for that purpose. Most of the plates have no mark, but the Vermont one has one, it was actually produced in Burlington VT - so I'm continuing my search. Two plates are marked "Japan" which probably dates them to anywhere from the 50s to 70s or so (I think later, "cheap" production moved to other countries - at least that's how it was with Barbie doll). Interestingly though, the Vancouver plate was produced in Germany! But my search for the mark has turned up nothing so far.

The New Hampshire plate, though produced in Japan, is they only one which *might* have been handpainted.

Maybe this was sold at Franconia Notch? It's not shown (which really is too bad), but was added in writing at the bottom like almost an afterthought.

I don't know yet what I will do with these other plates. The only kitchen wall that could be decorated is already decorated with things that I like a lot (and at least one is just as kitschy):

A friend pointed me to this site - some fun ideas how to display souvenirs. Great! That lead me here - a dish rack full of colorful souvenir plates might be fun, I think. Or one might go full monty like here. Oh, choices, choices... Of course, the ultimative thing would be a wall full of Marimekko plates! Now there I could get envious....!

I have one other plate (from the same friend), which I display in my "kitsch corner", and which features another very tacky piece of china.

Honestly, isn't this vase fab? No, it's not high quality, but it was just too much fun to not buy it. Ah, the glory days when our offices where in the city and I could venture a visit to the flea market on a Saturday morning, before going to work!

Well, going back to thinking what I'll do with all these plates now...



Sleaze it to me!

Is it art? Well, probably most people will tell you, no. But in the end, someone wrote these books and someone else drew these covers, so there was certainly a modicum of creativity involved. And in my little world pop and kitsch art, it has ended up as a part of a piece of art... And it's something that I adore: the colorful covers of vintage "sleazy" novels. The titles and the graphics are just so much fun - and decorative!

The first thing with a copy of such a cover on it, that I bought, was a key ring - a nice little souvenir from Den Haag.

Note the line at the bottom: "This is an original Nightstand Book"! And as I have found out, this wasn't just meant to say this was the kind of book you kept on your nightstand and didn't read in public - these books were called just that - it was a whole line, that was started in 1959 by Hamling Publishing, after the market for science fiction books had collapsed. It spawned other lines like "Midnight Readers" - they couldn't have put it any better I guess!
And funnily enough, the book above is going to be reprinted... as you can read here (this is also a pretty good blog about sleazy reads).
Talk about chance... this is was only the second link I clicked when I searched for more info on Nightstand Books. Another virtual-needle-in-the-haystack-find.

A few years ago, I also found postcards with sleazy book cover prints that made a nice addition to my willy-nillies:
"Sin on Wheels" made it onto my very first willy-nilly.

And "The Hot Canary" made into the second one - right next to a postcard from Montreal. The subtitle reads "She sang for her supper but did something else for her midnight snack." Now that leaves almost nothing to imagination...

More great covers can be seen in this fun Flickr set: Sleazy Reads. Aren't they the best?

I've never had an actual book of these in my hands - but if I can get my hands on one, I'll give it a try. Can't be worse than some of the bad stuff I've already read. Hey, you can't always read serious stuff only - we all need our dose of fluff! I do admit that I read the modern, feminine version of this - thought there's nothing sleazy about those. Happens that I do keep one my nightstand though. And that's where I'm off to now... nighty-night!



Upclose & personal with Emilio...

Sometimes... one should look at a piece of clothing from the inside. While they usually all look nice on the outside, it's the construction (and not just the material) where the quality shows.

This gorgeous, oh-so-summery vintage Emilio Pucci skirt has been in my closet for some time. It needed a little bit of mending, just a few stitches that had come lose. Turning it over and giving the construction a closer look, the skirt gave away a few of it's secrets...

At the end of the dart on the right, there are the just-there remains of a little pencil (or whatever it was) mark to show the seamstress up to where the dart goes.

The seam. At first glance, it looks like the border was part of the print - but it was actually a separately printed piece of fabric, that was sewn on...

This is also a nice way to hide the seam stiches. The upper edge peeking out here is from the actual skirt, and below is the backside of the border - a piece of "normal" fabric, that was sewn to the border piece exactly on the edge. The accuracy of the work is just beautiful.

A zip that has been sewn in with different colors of thread? There must be a reason... turn it over...

Et voilà! The differently colored threads were used to match the colors of the print! I have never seen this being done on a garment before.

And while we're at it... I love the washing instructions (not that I would ever hand this to a dry cleaner...):

Good night!



Cocktail Hour or Shark Pond?

So, let's try and start this... I am in the process of re-organising my doll collection. I'm about halfway down and I still have some ideas at the back of my head that I've never done. Hope I can realise it all!

So, newest one: looks like the cocktail hour, but maybe it's a shark pond underneath? (Fashion trivia - can you spot the teen pop star's outfit?) At first I had thought of a "Gentleman's Club" - something along the line of James Bond and a posse of sexy ladies... (no, I have no time for chauvinists, but you gotta take some things with your tongue firmly locked in your cheek - and I would certainly have poked some fun at James in some way) however, I needed to put more dolls into this and I realised I'd need some furniture that I'd first have to buy, make, make over, whatever - so I did some make do with what I have.

Agnes seems to be in a perennial bad mood... is she really just powdering her nose, or is she using that age-old trick of watching what's going on behind her back in her powder compact's mirror? With the enigmatic Ms. von Weiss, ya never know... Or is she just keeping near that bottle of vodka?

Holly and her friend definitely are watching the goings-on - no excuse, there's a scandal brewing for sure!

Midge isn't always too keen on these kind of jobs, but at least tonight the entertainment is good!

And these two? As detached as they may look... and as much as they give themselves an air of being above this all... they're watching too! Honestly, Dawn thinks, who cares about who paid for Valia's new mink if HE is ogling THAT woman...!

Now, who's HE looking at?

Kyori? Well, she certainly has pizzazz! And a silk dress by Créations Clo will always steal the spotlight...

Or Grace? Of course she's wearing Dior - she wouldn't dream about wearing any other designer! But honestly, who wears a hat these days?

And what might THEY be thinking? Well, Diane certainly cares more about these two gentlemen than the drama that is unfolding just before her nose. So, who's it going to be? Oh dear - the choices a girl's got to make these days!

Asha, soberly but no less attractively dressed in FR Couture, is keeping quiet. Nobody needs to know she's got a teeny tiny little tape recorder running in that handbag! In her head, she's already composing tomorrow's headline for the "Inquirer". It's gonna be another long night, she knows, even as you can't turn up at an event like this and drink nothing - or only water - HORROR!

Mhhh... I'd definitely opt for the shark pond here! But before the scandal explodes, I'll say good night. 'til next time!