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...


And now... for a little pause

So I'll be off for a bit of time soon - see you all again next months and hopefully I'll have some great new stuff to show then. Well, there will at least be a new Willy-nilly, which I can't show yet, as it is a gift that will only be given when I've already left... So, stay tuned!


Timeless Beauty

Time to blog some more of my dollies... Timeless beauty? Yes, for sure! These are all vintage 1960s outfits, all of them favorites, and certainly timeless! So timeless, that they look perfect on modern dolls too - which most of the ones shown here are. And the outfits might not all be complete either - I buy what I like, and some of them look great with modern accessories as well.

Living Barbie, one of my very favorite vintage dolls, wears the appropriately called "Color Kick". Can it possibly get anymore colorful? The doll was a unexpected flea-market find, the outfit from a charity shop - from a whole heap of separate pieces that weren't all clean and many in need of repair came this beauty - it's in pristine condition. That's the thrill of the hunt for vintage stuff!

Quick Curl Deluxe Skipper and Brazilian bombshell Passeio Viky wear matching outfits - "Red Sensation" and "Sheath Sensation". Skippers first outfits all matched her big sisters'. Sounds corny? I think it's cute. And that sheath dress (which was available in a number of color variations later) is one of the sexiest things from Barbie's early wardrobe, which was quite sophisticated. And that color - not for the faint of heart!

Oh, those 1600 outfits! Mattel produced some of the most beautiful (and also most sought after) outfits in 1965/66 with the 1600 stock numbers. "Pretty as a Picture", which Florida Midge wears, is just such a one. Both a vintage Burda sewing magazine and a Finnish fashion magazine from the same year showed similar dresses - same shape, same combination of solid color and small checks. Now, who said it's all the same styles everywhere these days?! Meanwhile, Francie wears "Checkmates", her cute little suit. To lighten things up, the blouse has a lovely embroidery decoration.

Midge (don't tell her, but she's probably the oldest doll in my collection!) wears "Sporting Casuals". I adore vintage Barbie knitwear - these little sweaters and cardigans not only are the height of timelessness, they also look so realistic due to the very fine material. Just beautiful. I fact, I'd love to have that sweater myself! Corduroy Cool Barbie wears what she's been wearing ever since I bought this outfit - "Orange Blossom". The hat is still missing, but never mind! It's such a simple but elegant dress, and just shows how good vintage outfits can look on modern dolls.

More 1600s wonders! Sitting Pretty Kira wears "London Tour". Leather look was all the rage then! A piece of Barbie trivia: Mattel repeated this outfit name in the early 2000s on a Fashion Avenue outfit. I wonder if any of those who thought that up actually realised it. Hollywood Nails Barbie is ready for "Lunch on the Terrace". Another dress I'd love to have myself! The polka-dot top makes sure the whole Vichy-check thing doesn't go overboard. It's such a fun contrast.

Pyjama Party Courtney is "Fresh as a Daisy" and Hip 2 Be Square Barbie's "Pleasantly Peasanty". This is one of many "granny dresses" Barbie had to choose from in the late 60s and early 70s - and probably one of the prettiest. At least it's the that's been in my collection the longest, among all the dresses of this kind. I guess the bright color does it.

Logo-madness is nothing new! The vintage Barbie logo-prints are nothing if not cute. Skipper wears "Day at the Fair" and Picture Pockets Kira wears "Barbie learns to cook" (or "Lunchtime as it was called later). That dress is way too pretty though for the kitchen - Mattel forgot to add an apron to keep the dress spotless! It's a classic little shirtwaist dress, but the vibrant print makes it anything but boring. I found this at a flea-market. There was a box full of newer, badly played-with dolls half-hidden underneath a stand - and one of the dolls wore this dress! I bough the doll with the dress for about $5, kept the dress, cleaned the doll up and sent her on to a new "home". Jewel Girl Teresa finally wears "Knitting pretty", without the matching cardigan, and with the addition of sexy modern heels. Sassy!


Closet clean-out & why I buy secondhand

I've just spent a very successful weekend - fashion-wise, so to speak. It was time for my bi-annual closet-clean-out! It was time to change from summer to winter - get the big sweaters down from the top shelves and put the shorts etc. up there. It's not just a necessity, since I can't keep ALL of my clothing on eye level, it's also a good way to keep one's closet in shape - I can only recommend it!

What do it take?
1. Time! This ain't done in an hour...
2. Power food - an energy drink, a cinnamon roll and some gummies (I KNOW this isn't healthy, but hey, energy is what this takes!)
3. A duster and the vacuum cleaner
4. A trash bag and a big paper bag for clothing still good enough to go to charity
5. Enough fresh anti-moth paper
6. Good music! Recommend - good girl stuff like "Voilà" by Belinda Carlisle or "The Bridge" by Melanie Fiona...

So what I do is basically - get the stuff the winter stuff down, vacuum and dust the shelf, replace the anti-moth paper, and look through both the stuff I'm taking out of "storage" and the stuff I'm putting up there. Why? There might be stuff I still wore last winter, but looking at it now, "from a distance", I realise how bad it actually looks. So worn? How the ***** could I still wear this?! Out! Otherwise, there's summer stuff that I realise I haven't worn all summer, and maybe once last summer? Might be a good time to chuck it out! What's totally out of whack goes into the trash bag, what's still nice, but for whatever reason, not a keeper, goes into the bag for charity (rule: only clean stuff, no damage, no underarm staining - this is not a cheap way of getting rid of one's clothes, someone's actually still going to want to wear this!). It's a piece of work, yes (everybody who knows the size of my closet knows what I'm talking about...), but it's worth it. It also helps me remember what stuff I actually have! I can only recommend it!

So I have two big paper carrier bags full of stuff to take to the Caritas charity shop around the corner and down the road. I admit, I couldn't be happier that I live so near to one of them *g*. Gotta bring them some new stuff, since I did a bit of extra retail therapy there this Saturday, on the way to my weekly grocery shop. It's become sort of a habit - I look in there most of my "shopping Saturdays" - it's on the way anyway, and what do I know what I might find... Doing a quick calculation, I think I can safely say that there's no other clothes shop where I spent so much money this year, than the Caritas. Why?

All clothing that lands there won't land in a land-fill or wherever in the trash. Yes, it probably will some day, but for every piece I buy there I probably buy a piece less new. Fact is, they run a nice shop, everything is clean, the personnel is always nice... yes, there might be cheaper places here in Zurich, but that's where you'd find the dingy stuff (ok, you might just find that hidden treasure too, but that former subterranean carpark turned thrift shop that is the Brocki-Land makes ALL clothing they sell smell damp - ugh!). Still, they have reasonable prices - but not the prices the "trendy" vintage shops in the inner city have. An as-good-as new Ann Taylor pure cashmere sweater for 30 CHF, anyone? No kidding, that's what I found on Saturday. No way I could afford this new. I'm not looking for "names" or labels, but I know when I'm holding something that's good quality. I'll probably have this sweater for a few years... And it's not just people who can't afford to shop anywhere else who buy their clothes there - believe me, I see people of all ages and from all walks of life shopping there! Besides, they usually have a big summer sale - and beautiful shop window displays that change monthly. Quite the boutique! Of course I'm always looking for vintage - but I'm ok with finding new stuff at low prices too. Who cares? If it looks good and it fits... Yes, 99% of their stuff is pretty much every day, but in the two years and a few months that I have been a regular there, I've also found the some true vintage treasures - like the 1950s Dior by Vivier shoes... for a mere 60.-. And there might always be the odd home-made or otherwise one-of-a-kind piece - like the lovely shantung silk evening dress for 55.- that I found on my last "raid". No better way to stay well dressed and wear beautifully made stuff that no one else has (BIG point for buying vintage!). And the other nice "side-effect"? These shops give jobs to people who might not find a job otherwise. At least part of the money I spend there goes to Caritas projects here in the city - after all, I do want this to be a live-able place not just for those who have enough money. And if I take my old clothes there, I know where they're going. They're always sorting through stuff when I go there.

So there you have it. I can't buy everything at this shop, but I think there's loads of good reasons, especially in these crazy times of
consumerism that we live in...



Old loves...

I have been a Beatles fan the better part of my life - there was a time when I drove almost everybody around me mad with it, I guess, and there's not really a favorite song I could pinpoint, and I certainly love all their albums... but it's funny, I keep returning to the first one I ever listened to and I have to admit, it's probably my favorite one, if you look at it as a whole. It's just perfect as it is. It's main appeals? Great sound - and energy. It just won't let you off the hook, and it certainly has all it needs, from the romantic ballad to the the screamin' rock song.

Speaking of energy - it kicks right off with "It won't be long", which couldn't be a better album starter. It hooks you as much as "She loves you" and won't let go! Next off is "All I've got to do" with great harmonies and a cool sort of mid-tempo. Then it's on to "All my loving" which features an excellent solo by George Harrison - there's a slight Country & Western feeling to it, something which turns up again in his repertoire years later. I like that! "Don't bother me" was George's first own composition to get on a record - I admit, he improved in later years (and boy, did he improve!) - not a remarkable song, but I think it's quite "his" and it fits with the rest of the album. "Little Child" must be one of the Beatles' shortest songs, but it's kinda cute. "Till there was you" is the first cover on the album and could have only been sung by Paul McCartney. It seems a bit of a departure, but then the Beatles covered all sorts of stuff in their very early years. Again, gorgeous guitar playing - it also shows how versatile they were. Next off is "Please Mister Postman", where the boys once more covered an early 1960s black American girl group. They covered quite a few of them, because apparently they really loved them. I find that so interesting - and they didn't care a bit about covering girl group songs (which male rock group would do this these days?). I adore all their versions of these girl group songs - they did them justice, really, and made them quite "their own". Their "P0stman" is just one rockin' song. And forget the cheesy cover by the Carpenters!!! You could say I became a fan of these girl groups too because of the Beatles. It all started with a Shirelles Best-of-CD... (whom they covered twice on "Please Please me"). But let's not get diverted! There's no slacking off - side 2 of the LP kicks of with an absolute Rock'n Roll classic - Chuck Berry's "Roll over Beethoven". The Beatles gave it the full-on treatment and George actually sang it. The guitar solo on it ain't bad either! Back to their own compositions, "Hold me tight" has it's own weird charm. The singing sounds a little "off" sometimes - not that I care. I sometimes wonder how this one slipped by George Martin, but as I said - it has a certain charm! Showing more admiration for American soul music, a cover of "You really got a hold on me" by The Miracles is next. You just gotta love John's vocals on it. "I wanna be your man" was Ringo's piece to sing - something slightly along the lines of "Boys", which was his song on the "Please Please me" album. Another good piece of Rock'n Roll. The Stones actually covered it for their first single. "Devil in her heart" is another girl group song, this time with George in the lead. I think it worked perfectly for him. I do sometimes ask myself where they dug up some of the more obscure songs they covered, like this one, but I guess it shows their keen interest in music. "Not a second time" is another Lennon-McCartney original that sounds so wholly different from all the other songs. The lyrics are a bit "darker" too, in comparison so the other songs. It shows how they kept evolving. The album ends with a bang (and John shouting) - with "Money" - just like their first album. And they really rocked it! As superb as their harmonies were, they also always knew how to but the rock into Rock'n Roll vocally!

And now, get yourself to the next used record store and get a vinyl copy (no CDs puleeeese!), and I'll bet you'll have it on heavy rotation in no time. This album is just a masterpiece!