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...


A day out shopping & waiting for the Oscars

Yesterday I spent a most pleasurable Saturday - first sleeping in, then an afternoon vintage shopping and discovering totally new shop - could there possibly be a better way to spend a day?

First, on the way to my weekly "big" grocery shop, I dropped a bag full of books off at the Caritas shop. German books sadly do almost not sell at the flea-market, but this Caritas shop takes only German books right now - and the shop assistant certainly was happy with my bringing them in. Of course that was also a good pretext for a browse around *lol*. And it was certainly worth it! First, a pair of new and un-worn Italian pumps - very chic, very comfortable, and I can already see them looking great with skinny jeans!
Also, the sweetest little blouse, made of black crepe and blush heavy silk and with lovely slightly puffed sleeves came with me. It's tiny, but it fits me ;-).

I love the label too, though my research has so far turned up nothing... sadly!
After that, I later took another bag - with English books too - to the Salvation Army. Again, the shop personnels' reaction to this was super-thankful.
They happened to have clothes at only 2.- a piece yesterday, but of course all the "good" stuff was already gone. And not a single dress left there! Well, two English books came with me at least, and their new special sales plan - of course the annual toy sale is always the most interesting.

Leaving the Salvation Army, I came upon a combination of graffiti and stencil art that was just too much fun not to photograph.
The quote reads "someone (female) has to do it after all".

My next destination were the new shops in the old railway viaduct near Geroldstrasse - Im Viadukt. There were shops there once before, but it was bare walls, darkness, musty smells and a general feeling of dampness - in short, it was pretty simple. Then they were all closed and the viaduct completely renovated. Now it hosts a row of hip shops, a market hall, restaurants, art galleries and other things, catering very much to the hip in-crowd that has moved into the area around it in the last years. But there are some jewels in between. Like the Caritas. The shop almost looks like a posh boutique, but the prices remain at Caritas niveau and the personnel was super-friendly. They have a whole rack full of evening wear, and I spotted quite a few very colorful 60s and 70s poly maxis. More vintage than my local Caritas shop usually has. I enjoyed it immensely and was just too sad the custom-made silk cocktail dress from Hong Kong that I tried on was about a size too big. Ahhh... black shantung silk with accents of hot pink silk satin... a shirred bodice with a low-sitting skirt - with several layers of softest tulle underneath *sigh*. Well, in the end I discovered a beautiful vintage Maggy Rouff silk scarf, which was a steal at 25.-.
Further down the road, the shop Famous Ape caught my eye. Now that is a place after my heart. It reminds me a little bit of Urban Outfitters, but on a much smaller scale. A smattering of trendy clothes from labels I admit I've never heard of, crazy t-shirts, loads of weird gag and cartoon things - both useful and useless, decorative and simply tasteless, and an interesting selection of vintage things upstairs. However, the prices were still on the reasonable side, and I have certainly never, ever, seen such a collection of the most garish, colorful, huge, sequinned chunky sweater from the 80s... you know the kind. Even better if they have shoulder pads... What a picture they made - the were even arranged by color. Well, in the end I left with a sweet new romper for summer, and an eel-skin purse from Denmark.
I continued on to the market hall, which is lovely and sells lovely food - better not look too long or I would have spend too much money on too much food... Memo to self: next time go there when the fridge is empty!

Tonight is the night of the Oscars! I admit, I record the whole show every year, and watch it all. I'd never watch it live though - too many commercial breaks, and I do have to work on Mondays... Why do I watch it? Yes, of course I want to see all the dresses. Call me shallow, but honestly, I want to see it all, the good, the bad and the ugly. Again and again I am mystified by the fact how some Million-Dollar worthy movie star can turn up in a dress that looks so bad no sane woman with less money (for example - me!) would wear it if given it for free. And there is always at least one of those. Of course, I also want to see those whose style (or stylist's choices) I nearly always like and who seemingly can't do wrong - like Cate Blanchett or Kate Winslet. And it's never the same seeing a dress "in action" as just seeing it in a magazine. But then, the magazine is part of the yearly ritual too - next week I will buy at least two celebrity magazines to get the low-down on everything I didn't see on-screen. This really is the one time of year I go a little celebrity-mad (unless there's a big-bang royal wedding on *lol*). And of course the whole thing has to be capped off by going through the good, the bad and the ugly with someone - an over-the-phone-glee-fest with my mom. "Did ya see that dress...?!" Oh the joy of it!
Well, of course, this year, I also have to keep all fingers crossed for Colin Firth - he really SO deserves it! I haven't seen "The King's Speech" yet, it only started in cinemas here last week, but he's such an amazing actor, and he already didn't get it last year. And his performance in "A Single Man" was so incredible, so heart-wrenching, so... can't even fully describe it. But then, I always found him an amazing actor. And he looks goo on top of it, no questions asked. And if you must ask, yes, I did first see him in "Pride and Prejudice", but it certainly wasn't because of that wet-shirt-scene that I adored him immediately. It's funny, when people nowadays talk about that series and Colin Firth, it is always about that scene. Let me be honest - it never impressed as being so terribly sexy that I would have to swoon - which it sounds like judging by certain comments (in my humble opinion - the fencing scene and his muttering afterwards "I will conquer this" is much more so). No, I just loved his acting. Just upon watching the whole series again in one go a few months ago, I thought to myself, show this to someone who doesn't know the story and tell them to pay extra attention to his facial expressions - and they will know exactly where this is going. It's all there in his face, without saying a word or without overdoing it. And that is what impressed me from the first moment.


Scarf of the month, new vintage finds & more

I know I haven't been exactly communicative for some time - sorry 'bout that. Production of our new brochure was harder work than usual (not that we hadn't know that) and the last week, when the goal was pretty much in view, cumulated with a few ummmhh... night shifts. Anyway, I have have learned a lot, and the thing is at the printers' now, so I actually have my life back!

I know, the Scarf a Month is already overdue, so I won't dally but introduce it right here:

Silken polyester??? What an incredible idea for a fabric! The weave certainly looks like a heavier silk, but the touch, even the sound of it and the way it falls immediately give it away as synthetic. Still, I like it! I've a mind to test it that claim on it being water repellent...

Despite all the chaos at work, the late evenings and the rare time spent at home, I did make some more fab online vintage buys, and I shall present them here in time. The first search, which I had started on already in December, was for vintage housewear. There was a time when one would have a house dress or lounging gown or whadammayacallit... The idea was that it should be "dressy" enough to answer the door in - or even receive friends in it, if it had to be, yet it was something that could be pulled on fast & easy, and it should also be practical for wearing probably all-day at home. Styles, and maybe also reasons to wear it changed over the decades, but anyway, after spying some fab pieces online, this seemed to be just THE thing. Stylisher than a track suit, and maybe even comfier. Of course, the best pieces also command prices that you probably wouldn't pay for something you buy to slouch around at home in. In the end, after a few long evenings searching through etsy and VFG member shops, I came up with these two that I finally bought:

Okay, this is later than what I had been looking for, my guess is early 70s, but it's just too darling not to buy it! Synthetic velour, but comfy & warm enough, easily washable, and the victorian styling is adorable.

This is about what I'd actually been looking for, and it was just a little bit over budget, but too perfect to resist. A beautiful 40s house dress, slightly longer in the back, with a sweetheart neck, a long zip down the front and two big, practical front pockets, made from the most beautiful rayon. The fabric is relatively heavy and falls beautifully. And of course the dress has shoulder pads too... (and no, I have still kept two track suits - for cleaning...)

Even though I said that my living room walls are full... they have recently received a few additions. First is this lovely set of illustrations, which might originally have been ideas for book or advertising illustrations. They're beautifully framed, and even though the black and yellow would fit perfectly with my bedroom's color scheme, their style is just too pop-artsy as not to put it up on one of my living room walls.

Also, my gorgeous vintage souvenir plates have finally found their place just above my sewing table.

Why not in the kitchen, you ask? I found that I don't have a heart to take anything on those walls down, to be honest! And besides that, my sewing table has recently developed such a "domestic kitsch" leaning, that it seemed only naturally to put them there.
In fact, that all started with a Christmas gift - the cutest ever pincushion, made from a vintage silver plated cup and saucer. Add to that a small porcelain pot that I took out of my display case when selling part of my small china collection online. Nobody wanted this one - no wonder, besides the hand-painted Augarten and Herend stuff, this one here, whilst pretty, is transfer printed and just didn't impress anyone. However, I've decided to keep it to hold my sewing machine needles, which keep lying around here & there because I have to change them quite often, depending on the fabric I'm working with. Add to that my new sewing machine cover, which I whipped up on a Sunday afternoon when I desperately needed to do "something different". Fabric courtesy of Forget Me Knots in Christchurch.

On another note, I have also recently received a few issues of a very interesting vintage magazine. My friend in Vienna found them - don't ask me where. They're practically falling apart, and she thought they might provide some fun additions to my Willy-nillies. It's called "Little Puck" and was a bi-weekly magazine aimed at those wanting to learn or better their English. It contained a few pages of short essays, conversations, jokes etc. with explanations of more "difficult" words, together with some readers' letters and some grammatical explanations. Judging by the ads, the target audience of Little Puck seems to have been young men (the kind who needed to earn their own money) all over German-speaking Europe. The letters from readers and companies in the ads range geographically speaking from Switzerland to Germany to Austria-Hungary to Romania and wherever else German was spoken at the time. They were all published in 1909 in Hamburg. A lost world, if you will. I don't know yet if I will cut them up or not, to be honest. Somehow they feel too much like a piece of history.

Those living in Switzerland will have seen the cover of last month's issue of the fashion magazine Annabelle everywhere I guess... To celebrate the 40th anniversary of women's vote in Switzerland (yes, we are THAT much behind!), and aided by the fact that our national council for the first time in history is dominated by women, they put said four women on the cover. Nope, I did not buy the mag. I don't usually spend money on fashion mags - too many expensive ads and not enough brains if you ask me - but this issue miraculously landed in my letter box as a "try out issue". Oh yes, once the Ringier publishers have your address, you're registered for life! I'm just wondering I haven't received one of their famous "would you like to subscribe" calls yet. Honestly. Oops, sorry, I'm losing the thread! Anyway, to be honest, I found the cover pretty bad. Stilted, posed, and the black & white didn't help either. Can't see why they needed a "star photographer" for that. Sorry. However, upon opening the mag, I found a spontaneous shot that is just so much better...!
And will I subscribe? Or by the mag again? Nope. They may say all they want, and Annabelle might have a little more brains than most of them, I still can't get into it. I'd rather spend my money on the occasional celebrity rag - at least those are a laugh!

On a last note, as today was my sew & mend day it seems, I also took care of this little lovely, which I picked up looking like this last autumn at the Caritas:

Even though it had two rather nasty looking, but not very big, stains, I bought it. The embroidery is exquisite, the fabric a lovely, soft, light cotton, and the price was reduced due to the stains (I have already reduced them but am still working on them).
Looking at it at home, I came upon some obviously newer alterations like shortened straps (it actually closes with metal snaps at the straps on one side), a not very nice, more utilitarian looking cotton ribbon through the loops, and some traces of darts, which had been removed at some time.
I asked the VFG forum about it and they deemed it older, possibly even late teens to early 1920s, probably a shift - the thing you wore underneath your corset. Wow.
Well, today I removed the old ribbon, added a nice satin one (though that's just for show - I will have to buy one that's a bit wider), ironed it and re-sewed the darts, which give it a bit more shape:

Now, I have the idea of wearing this in summer. Don't know yet with what underneath, bit it a non-see-through slip, three-quarter-lenght leggings or whatever... (suggestions, anyone?). But I finally found that perfect wide waist belt at Yendi on Saturday (so much so that I bought it both in white and black), and I say I find it rather fetching paired with that:

Well, that's all for now... there'll be more to read here again sooner than the last time - promise!