30 June 2012

The Muse: Lost

Given that my mother and I rarely agree on a television show to watch, and the fact that we are a decidedly unmodern one television household, we had to reach an impasse. This comes in the form of Dvds, we've watched all kinds of miniseries, films, and boxed sets of television shows (mostly ones that were on too late for us to watch when they were on TV). The most recent is Lost, which I mentioned to her after getting it from the library was one of Stephen King's favorite shows, needless to say that hurt its case more than it helped it, but eventually I talked her into it and we've almost finished season three. Now I won't lie, huge chunks of it are up until this point totally pointless, though obviously it may make more sense in the future, but overall I like it. If nothing else the scenery is a real treat to look at (and I don't just mean Josh Holloway with his shirt off). This dress, actually being from Hawaii (the show was filmed entirely on Oahu) needless to say came to mind. Not that it would at all be practical if I were plane wrecked on a desert island. In fact I think that's why I find the show so fascinating, because frankly I would have been the first one kidnapped by the Others, or run down by the smoke monster, in fact I'd have been the first eaten by a polar bear. But at least I'd look good while he was doing it.
 Dress: vintage, Hukilau Fashions, thrifted via Goodwill
Scarf: vintage, thrifted via Goodwill
Brooch: vintage, thrifted via Wrentham Antiques Market Place (now closed)
Sandals: Rasoli via T.J. Maxx
Purse: vintage, Whiting and Davis, thrifted via Pastimes Consignments

The sandals really threw everything off, other than them this outfit is entirely thrifted vintage, all very high quality too for very low prices, the dress was $6.99 and the scarf was $0.50, I can't remember exactly how much the brooch was, but $10 or less. The sandals alas are new. In truth I find that shoes are the most difficult thing to buy secondhand, first because the take a beating even from light wear and secondly the materials they are made of often don't hold up well, especially if they aren't well cared for. Cloth is easily stained and worn, and leather cracks and dries out. I have had a few pairs of second hand shoes literally fall apart on me, which is why I only have handful. 
 I took these pictures at what is turning out to be my favorite time of the day for pictures, late afternoon/early evening as the sun is going down. I've read a lot of bloggers who warn against taking photos in bright sunlight, however I think the pictures by far come out the best. Not only does it give everything a sort of rosy glow, but colors come out more intense, and best of all you get some really great and very dramatic shadows.

29 June 2012

The Muse: Ring of Fire

Marion's Trend of the Month Link-up argues that a colorful blazer worn over a neutral bottom makes the color even more prominent. Now I'm not a huge fan of blazers, mainly because I'm big chested. Its difficult to find a flattering blazer that fits in the chest and isn't huge in the hips. In fact the majority of blazers I like and wear often are actually men's blazers, naturally cut wider across the chest. This is one exception, I'm not sure it even necessarily qualifies as a blazer given its length, but for years I had longed for a velvet blazer and was very please when I found this on the 75% off rack at Krazy Daisy, it had never been worn, tags still on, and retailed for $150, I got it for $14.99. Other than the fact that it was still hovering near 80 when I took these pictures, I only fell into a figurative ring of fire in this jacket.

Blazer: Coldwater Creek thrifted via Krazy Daisy
Dress: I Heart Ronson via J.C. Penny
Necklace: Goodwill
Shoes: Monsoon (United Kingdom)

28 June 2012

The Cameo Shoppe

The complete Spring 2012 collection from Miu Miu

The Miu Miu cameos were offered in four bold colors
cerulean blue, poppy red, marigold yellow, and
a pearl gray, none of them traditional cameo colors.
 I have always had a weakness for cameos of all kinds, and yesterday when I bought a new one it occurred to me that I've built up quite a collection. Granted I am certainly no expert, and I don't have the money to buy real top notch examples. But I think I have a pretty good eye for them and have picked up a few interesting variations on the traditional look. Cameo, strictly speaking referrers to the way a piece is made, rather than what it depicts. So a cameo is a carved relief (raised object) in contrast to its background, a positive image, whereas an intaglio is carved into the background,  negative image. Intaglios are far more rare than cameos. Though the art form predates the Romans and can be seen in many different cultures in a variety of mediums (bone, gemstones, wood) by far the most common and best known are carved from conch shells and have a distinctive peach-pink color. These came into vogue in the mid-Victorian age around 1850 and stayed in fashion almost continually. In fact I've seen 2012 be referred to as the year of the cameo several times, most likely because they featured so prominently in Miu Miu and Lanvin's collections. Miu Miu's are bold and graphic, not traditional carved cameos but rather assembled cameos made of crystalized material. Assembled cameos, made of both plaster and plastic are much more the norm today. I'll try to describe what each cameo is, but like I said I'm not an expert. I won't lie though, modern techniques of not I do lust after the Miu Miu cameos, unfortunately I lack the $500-$900 budget to acquire one. I'll stick to the thrift stores and flea markets, I've done very well there so far.
In addition to the unusual colors, the subjects
of the cameos, traditionally either Roman
or in more modern versions Victorian or
Edwardian ladies the Miu Miu cameos feature
more of an Egyptian Nefertiti style woman


Pastimes Consignments, conch in 14 K gold, $16
The only real conch shell cameo I own, it isn't a true pink
anymore, this is one of the downfalls of conch as a medium
the color tends to fade, darken, or otherwise change over time.
This was a really cheap brooch mainly because the carving is very
poor quality, you can't tell form the picture but its also very small.
Plaster Victorian cameo set in painted tin,
Flea Market $5. A very common modern shape and style

Plaster/ Plastic set in metal, Vintage Haven $2. Very cheap in terms of materials but with pretty details and a nice (if common and traditional) carving.
Ring: Free People, glass cameo set in metal $10

                              Cameo Bracelet plaster set in metal, Vintage Haven $2.
                            An interesting variation featuring a young girl with short hair from perhaps the 20's of 30's.
                         The metal of the bracelet itself is very cheap but the cameo is well made and heavy.

My most recent purchase from Revival $25, the tag
read painted milk glass, but I own several pieces of
milk glass and it doesn't have the right texture.
I think its merely painted and gilded porcelain.
It has a few chips in the paint and I suspect it has
been reset into this silver curlicue frame from the traces
of glue visible around the frame on the back.
Brooch/ Necklace.
Floral Cameo Locket, Goodwill $3. The Goodwill
in South Attleboro at one time had a great jewelry
counter, alas no more. This was a real gem, and I think I
got a real steal on it, obviously not shell but
its definitely carved.

Clip On earrings, yard sale $.0.50, these aren't
really cameos but rather coins with
Queen Elizabeth II on them,
but are definitely in the cameo style.
Bracelet Anthropologie $9, I'm also a real sucker for anything
monogramed and had admired these bracelets priced around $50, but wasn't willing to spend that, then after Christmas I found this one on sale. Most people assume its a design rather than a letter.

Purse, Forever 2, $7-8. I feel in love with this little clutch a few years
ago and it definately was ahead of the times both with the cameos
and the chandelier and bird motifs which are everywhere in design
these days.


vintage Whiting and Davis (most famous for
 their metal mesh purses, and a local company
based out of North Attleboro, MA)
This is silver set in enamel with a gold
 plate edging and back. A gift.
vintage Shell  cameo brooch originally
set in silver (inner rim) reset in metal,
Twice the Diva, $15.  An interesting subject,
the muse of music perhaps with her harp.
The graduated coloring is fairly common in
shell cameos, carvers had to deal with the
medium regardless of variations
 or imperfections. At least 110 years old.


Glass carving on a mercury mirror background set
in metal, the Big Flea (flea market), $30. One of
the more unusual cameos I've ever seen and
probably my favorite of my collection, the details
is really exquisite and very modern
Sterling silver brooch Roman centurion,
unusual in its male subject.
Pastimes Consignemnts, $4.

Glass cameo brooch set in pressed metal, Pastimes Consignments, $6.
Another of my favorites because of its unusual setting, shape, and the Art Nouveau design.
Also the figure is hte same as the pink bracelet with one flower on
the left, three on the right and short hair with a bow.

Wrentham Antiques Market Place (bought at the closing sale)
 $10. Green glass intaglio in metal.
This is the only true intaglio I own, but the setting is beautiful and
ornate, you also don't often see cheaper versions of any type of
green cameos.

Clip on earrings, painted image with faux pearls set in metal, Pastimes Consignments, $6. These miniature portraits are obviously painted not carved, but the image, an oval portrait of a woman is definitely what we today think of as a cameo portrait.

Plastic portrait on copper ring, Forever 21 $2.10. I actually found this ring in two pieces at Forever 21, the picture part had separate from the metal and they sold it to me for 75% off and I glued it back together. Another example of a cameo style portrait of a young woman.

25 June 2012

The Muse: Rainy Days and Mondays

 Today did not inspire much in the way of anything, besides moody 70's folk music from the Carpenters. I will admit the thunderstorms that rocked New England from the crack of dawn until about one this afternoon were impressive but pretty much discouraged moving far from the couch. When I finally did drag myself out, for an extremely exciting trip to Shaw's to buy lettuce and tortellini I wasn't left with a whole lot of options for photos, so enjoy the best the interior of my car and the garage have to offer in terms of photo opportunity. Also I have to confess this skirt was sort of unlawfully borrowed.  Four years ago when I worked at Taunton Catholic Middle School for Halloween I dressed up in the student uniform, this skirt, a white Oxford, and a cranberry V-neck sweater. The skirt and the sweater I found in a box in one of my classroom's closets along with probably 15 others of each item as well as the boys gray uniform pants. After Halloween I washed and dried them and put them in a shopping bag to go back, as often happens they just sat there. At the end of the year when I left TCMS the box went down to the office for students who couldn't afford to purchase uniforms, as you can see I still have the single uniform I borrowed. I discovered the bag when cleaning out a closet probably a year later, and well never being one to waste any item of clothing... I doubt anyone missed it but at least someone's wearing it!

Shirt: LOL Vintage via Target
Skirt: Royal Park Uniforms via Donnelly's
Necklace: J. C. Penny
Bracelet: bought by my grandmother at CVS
Sandals: Capelli New York via T. J. Maxx
Purse: vintage, Nine West, thrifted via
Second Time Around

The one ray of sunshine on this otheriwse rainy Monday was that Saver had 50% off everything in there store today. After Shaw's I stopped by and fought the crowds. No luck in terms of clothes (like I need luck when it comes to finding clothes) but I did pick up two pairs of boots off season. One pair I was practically ordered to buy by a rather scary girl who paid me one too many compliments for comfort on how good my legs looked in them. Looks like we both got a good deal, I got new boots and she got the cheap thrill of seeing me try them on. Everybody wins.

M.C. & Powers boots $6.99, paid $3.50 on sale

Kenneth Cole Reaction boots, brand new, never been worn
$29.99, paid $15 on sale

24 June 2012

The Muse: Pretty in Pink

Its a great dress for twirling
 Pink is a difficult color for me personally, I wear it in moderation, and am usually underwhelmed. Today however I was more than pleasantly surprised with the results, so much so I added the pink necklace on just to boost the pink to brown ratio. My mother is a pink girl, take one look at her bedroom and closet and that immediately becomes evident, me not so much. Taking my inspiration today from the Brat Pack film, ironically my least favorite of the three major Molly Ringwald films, I maintain that I like Annie Potts original 1950's style dress much better than the creepy praying mantis type ensemble Molly Ringwald's wearing... but alas the film was made before I was born so they didn't have the benefit of me as a fashion consultant. Also I think you have to acknowledge that the concept of  reinventing vintage and thrift store clothing was way ahead    of its time and can in no
 way be discredited.

Dress: Jessica Howard, swapped
Sweater: Express (ancient)
Brooch: via J. Marcel
Necklace: vintage, thrifted via Goodwill
Shoes: Steve Madden, thrifted via Goodwill
Purse: ??? (no tag) via DSW