Friday, 24 October 2014

Video Killed The Radio Star

I've never been a radio star but I decided that this weekend I would be a video star. 
 In the video below, please pretend that my bangs are actually this long and that I did not hack them off in a fit of pique.

 This video may not work if you are using Chrome as a browser.  If you do not wish to watch it, that can always be your excuse. I do know that it works with Firefox and Internet Explorer.

My Video is here

Have a Lovely Weekend Everyone.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

I did it again; I wore stuff.

It is part of my overall plan for general well being, to treat myself to wearing clothing I like even if I am doing nothing but staying home and writing or reading, to wearing something that lifts my spirits even if my big adventure of the day is grocery shopping.  That sometimes, or rather quite often, leaves me with outfits to share but no great story to go with them.  Oh well, such is the nature of this blog: It's random and I wear clothes.  If you thought maybe this was a naked blog you will be sorely disappointed.  Or perhaps thankful.

 First, I am excited to show you a skirt I bought recently.  Or perhaps not so recently but I finally have a photo I felt ready to share.  I bought this skirt from Val, and it fits me perfectly.  I was so excited that she didn't want it since it just happens to have my name all over it.  I really love the way it can be cinched up and fastened with the buttons.  I'm sure there is a name for that but it escapes me.  I would love more of that feature in my skirts.  I don't like sticking pins into them, always afraid of leaving permanent holes.

I am wearing another skirt underneath the skirt I got from Val.  One can never wear too many skirts, I say.  Or maybe one can but I have yet to do it.

On one of our warmer and drier days recently I started the day in this outfit.   Then I changed my mind when I saw the clouds rolling in.

Boots and arm warmers went o first.  Then the coat and scarf.  I am someone who always felt privileged to own a different coat for each season.  Now I have more than that and so can be found standing in front of the open closet pondering.  Do I want the red one or the red one?

                         Love that hair!  Yes, my paintings are crooked.

I know it is quite passe to match footwear and bag but most of mine just do match; mainly I use black in winter and brown in summer.  So predictable, I know.  Recently I coveted a pair of purple suede boots but they were not in my budget. 

Sophie and I are seasoned super models.  In fact, we are super model astronauts.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A Material Girl

My name is Shawna, I am a material girl and I really like fabric too.  Okay, I know that was funny only to me and doesn't even really make sense unless, like me, you grew up referring to fabric as 'material', as in "I am going to the store to buy some material to make a dress."  I love fabric, I love textiles of all sorts though I am not much of a sewer.  I mainly mend things and imagine that I am going to sew new things or re-fashion old things.  So I am inclined to buy textiles simply because I fall for them, but I try to be practical and buy them already made into something.  Something, such as a shawl or throw.  I have more than I need of those if you consider that they are for keeping a person warm but to me they are draped art and so I drape them all over.  I recently bought another one and am staring at it as I write, which is what has me pondering this whole material concept right now.

                                   Tibetan Yak Wool Blanket

I had a small holiday, a trip to Victoria, and despite being exhausted I enjoyed myself very much.  Although I cannot do what many would on a holiday, I do not see any reason to deprive myself of one, even if I have to rest in the hotel for half of it.  My favourite kinds of holidays are generally of two types.  One is where I go to a lovely spot such as the seaside and stay in a place with a view and enjoy the fact that I have gotten away to a beautiful patch of nature and do not have to cook any of my own meals.  I would probably not object to the warm sunny tropical beach type of holiday but I have never experienced one yet.  The other type is a trip to a city, where I happily feel anonymous in a crowd and yet go about smiling and talking to everyone like the small town girl I am.  On both types I am more focused on being than on doing.  I just like to be there and do not set myself an agenda of things to do.  This has much to do with not having the ability to spend a day touring, walking, hiking, climbing or rushing from interesting site to interesting site.  It is imperative that rest is incorporated into my day.  It is imperative that I find gluten free food.  It is imperative that I buy books.  Oh wait, no that last one is not imperative, it is just highly likely.

                          Book Inspector Sophie On Duty

On the second sort of holiday, such as the one I have just had in Victoria, I enjoy wandering about the city and I am inclined to purchase things, as any material girl would.  I like souvenirs of my trips but  do not have a fondness for snow globes or keychains.  I am also not likely to be holidaying in a location that is in any way exotic from my point of view.  In other words, I am not gallivanting around the globe collecting treasures from various cultures and decorating my walls with masks, my shelves with carvings or draping my furniture with textiles from the souk, though perhaps if I were living out life in a different body and with a different bank account I might, because whenever I am in a city I head to the fair trade shops and buy something from far away places.  Then I go to the bookstores.  Round this out with an exploration of cafes and pubs at meal times and half my day resting in the hotel reading one of the recently purchased books and you've got a good picture of the sort of holiday I take.

                        Regretfully I lost the tag that explains who made this adorable little purple elephant.  I think it was in Bangladesh.

Some people prefer to purchase experiences.  I am not averse to those at all and will happily go whale watching or to an art gallery, but I will still want to come home from my holiday with things, and I can't come home with a whale as it's just not done!  Instead of feeling guilt about materialistic tendencies I have decided to look at it differently.  I am a person who is drawn to talismans.  If I am out in nature I will come home with rocks and branches and leaves.  If I am in the city I will come home with books and textiles.  It is even likely that I will come home with purchases that could have been made in my own home town.  I know that some of you will shake your heads over that but it makes sense to me.  When I look at that book or that shawl I am reminded of a happy time I had, and I have something that continues to bring me pleasure repeatedly, which is more frequently than a one time experience does. 

 This green flower is one of a set of three crocheted in hemp by women in Vietnam.  It comes on a hairpin but I've just clipped it to my dress in this case.

Yes, you are right, I did buy a massive pile of books on Tarot and assorted pagan issues, both mythical and anthropological.  The joy of being a fiction writer is that I get to research different subjects that interest me when they are applicable to the plot or character(s) of my story.  If I am really fascinated by the subject I indulge in purchasing books. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

I was Exhausted but I Got Dressed

                                  Hocus, Pocus, Waist out of Focus.

                                             Business Casual Witch

                                                 Sexy Witch

This little dress feels like a party outfit to me, but I am testing out how I feel just wearing it at home.  It's getting colder and I am having troubles with my heating so I had to add a layer.  The unfinished Goddess is in the background.

I still felt cold so the more layers I added the further away we got from sexy!

                                            Birthday Witch

                                       Thanksgiving Witch

                               Stay at Home Witch giving the Evil Eye

                                 Cold Witch Piling on the Layers

Sunday, 12 October 2014


Creativity is a little bit unpredictable in my world.  I have days when I long to create but the body or the brain or both will not cooperate.  I have days when I do not feel creative but instead more receptive.  I read a lot on those days, study images and if I'm fortunate enough to have some stamina I get out.  Sometimes I want to be out amongst people and other times alone with nature.  It's rare that I both paint and write fiction on the same day; it is likely to be one or the other but I do sometimes have days of manic creativity too.  It takes me a very long time to actually finish a painting.  The process is slow because I paint what I see inside me not what I see outside of me.  I have to look with more than just my eyes.  I often make a start, shapes, outlines, colours, an idea onto the canvas and then I wait to know what else is needed.

It's a grey but mild day on Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada.  Today is also my son's birthday and I am looking forward to going out for dinner with him. I treasure time for just the two of us.  Not being a religious person, I do not particularly give any thanks to a deity for what makes me happy though our language does not allow me to express these feelings without some degree of belief creeping in.  I can say I am blessed or fortunate, but I am most inclined to say I am lucky.  I am trying to make the best life I can make out of what I have and to remember, on a daily basis and not just on Thanksgiving, the joys I am lucky to experience due to the many wonderful people who surround me, the beautiful place I live in, and the fact that I have the means to live a comfortable and pleasant life.  I do not wish to take any of those things for granted, though I attribute much of them to random luck.  I do believe that what you make of what you have contributes some portion of happiness to life.

Today is as good a day as any to mention the pleasure that meeting so many wonderful people through blogging has brought me.  My life is enriched by you and I treasure the comments you leave for me and the treat of reading your blogs.  You are part of what gives my inner world such colour so I celebrate your creative Goddess powers today. 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

LagenMori: The Multilayered Story of a Forest Witch

Okay, there is no such thing as LagenMori, I made it up, but if one pays attention to all the trivial things I pay attention to, one eventually finds out that there are many street-style fashions around the world that involve loose layers and the always creative and youth obsessed Japanese have invented a few.  Recently I mentioned the Mori Girl style.  It involves layers as does the Lagenlook but is sweeter, girlier, lacier and frillier. Though it is often described as nature influenced and focused on earth tones, most images I have found are more like a twelve year old Edwardian English girl dressed for a garden party.  I confess the ten year old in me loves it, though the 47 year old might look a bit silly wearing lacy ankle socks.

But there are places where it crosses over into something I like, or at least it does according to those who post pictures on line and label them as Mori Girl style.  I came across it because some images are posted and called Lagenlook by one person and Mori by another.  Designers such as Ivey Abitz or Kaliyana promote their clothes as being Lagenlook or Mori as do various sellers on Etsy.  It was due to this use of both terms to sell the clothing that I found  Dark Mori.  A spin off of the sweeter looking Mori Girl, the Dark Mori has a touch of Goth or a bit of a witchy look that rather appeals to me.  She is perhaps the less innocent older sister of the Mori Girl.  She has seen things and done things; she knows things; she wears black and dances with her cat.

I could potentially join the ranks of those of you who love vintage.  It's just that my vintage preference is Edwardian plus or minus a few flapper dresses.  I certainly don't find much (or any) of that in the thrift  shops and even if I did it would not fit.  People were tiny back then and I am from good Viking stock!  As for sewing it myself, well that is not going to happen.  I would have to gain interest, talent, ability, time... and did I mention time?  Sewing is not my art form.  I need a friend who loves to sew and has lots of time on her hands and thinks whipping up clothing for me is just a delight!  I will buy the materials and pay her in chocolate.  A woman can dream!

                           Can't you see me in this?  I know you can!


Since there is a woodsy witch aspect to many of the images found linked to the terms Dark Mori,  short of donning a set of antlers, that whole image works for me!

                  But then antlers are rather fetching, are they not?

           Found on Pinterest originally from Spinning Castle on Etsy.  Here

I have always had a fascination with the pagan, the fairy world, my Celtic and Icelandic ancestry and with magic, even though I am at the same time the most skeptical of individuals and not the type one would describe as spiritual.  I also loath rituals.  I don't even have many personal ones.  I am quite random about my daily routines other than the fact that I do eat, sleep and clean myself.  How is it that dressing like a gothic-pagan-witchy-fairy thing feels less like a costume to me than a blouse and pencil skirt does at this point?  I think it goes back to my childhood, a time when I ran barefoot and made daisy chains for my hair and mixed up potions of flower petals in old tin cans, using a stick I had selected as my magic wand.  Empty lots, wooded areas and the beach were all available to me as places to explore and play.  Perhaps I am just getting old and feeling nostalgic for those days. I am, after all, in a bit of a no-woman's land, past virgin, moving through mother and not yet arriving at crone.  My garden is lost to me and my contact with nature severely reduced.  There is a longing of some sort.  A desire to reunite with what feels like home.

And there is a solution......before completing this post I went for a very short wander.
I was a little bit nervous about walking in the woods alone.  You will remember what happened to Little Red Riding Hood, after all!  So for this reason I chose a section of the wooded part that was a bit more open.  I did not see a single person so happily wandered about with my camera experimenting with flash or no flash and collecting branches.  I wrestled some enormous, twisted, complex branch structures out of the forest and into my car, which required some manoeuvring of the seats and rolling down windows to get it all in.  I persevered and now have the dead remains of trees cheerfully decorating a few rooms in my home.  I was expecting someone to approach me and scold me for tampering with the natural forest floor decaying process but my plan was just to say I am a witch and need some ingredients for various spells and then give the evil eye.  I was most disappointed not to have that opportunity.  Mum says she will keep an eye on the local paper for anyone writing in to complain about a woman dressed in purple stealing branches from the nature park.

It's not a spectacular example of west coast trees; none are first or even second growth but it is, at least, a bit of land set aside as parkland and left natural other than paths.  A stream runs through it which is important to the salmon spawning cycle and just be glad I did not take photos of that.

                   And now I feel restored.  There is a new moon and a new me.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Fifty Shades of Bright

Well, not quite. I did have four shades of purple but the sun came out and the cardigan came off.  This is a bad mushroom hair, lounging at home sort of outfit.  Bad mushroom hair can usually be tamed with a headscarf and life is just simply more delightful when you are wearing a purple smock with pockets. I could not figure out why I was having difficulties with the tee shirt underneath the smock.  It was lumpy and sloppy and refusing to cooperate.  I know it is a size too big for me so I had just written off the problem as due to that when sometime around midday I realised it was on backwards.   I changed it around and trust me, it is much better, but I am not going to the trouble of taking another photo.

Yesterday I got more gift buying done, as birthdays are mounting up this month.  That was most gratifying and exhausting so today I am trying to not move much.  I used my brain this morning, worked on my novel, made a phone call to cancel cable television which I never watch, wrote a couple of e-mails, chatted on the phone with Mum and now my brain has come to a grinding halt.  I am sitting admiring my ankles, which are delighting me at the moment by not yet being swollen.  It is one of those moments where I think Oh wow, this is what my ankles actually look like.  They aren't too bad really.

                         Things more interesting than my ankles.....

Sophie is an installation artist.  This work is called Rabbit in Shopping Bag and is installed in my hallway.

                        One day all of these squares will be a blanket.

In real life the lampshade is not at all pink but closer to gold-beige.  This colourful wooden bead necklace called to me in a thrift shop but I found I could not wear it.  I drape all my unwearable necklaces over lampshades.  Doesn't everyone?

                       The  geraniums are still persistently blooming.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Deep Psychoanalysis For Monday and More Green

Shopping became more productive and much more fun once I knew what I was truly looking for.  That may or may not be a good thing, I suppose. Discovering my true style, like discovering my true style as a painter, was more a matter of giving myself permission to be who I am.  I have always tried to be all things to all people or at least all the people in my life.  I did not always do this consciously and I think I also did it more as an adult than as a child. Letting go of what anyone else might want me to be, which is good because it's not easy to try to be a sexy, conservative, sporty, preppy schoolteacher-wife-mother-daughter and all of those were doing battle with my inner hippie-artsy-bohemian-earthmother-witch.  How exhausting!  So I let go of all that nonsense, said a few magic spells and stirred stuff around in my cauldron while my witches cat played with the toads.  Then, Poof! In a big cloud of smoke, purple smoke of course, I decided to wear what I wanted to wear and that meant two skirts at a time and not a lot of skin showing because that is what I like.  So there, hah!

It got briefly complicated when I discovered there were independent designers out there in the big wonky world making specifically designed pieces and calling it Lagenlook.  I like Lagenlook and I like what I see in many of the pre-assembled designer outfits but in the end I prefer to assemble my own from disparate pieces. That means no matching fabrics  in identical colours and textures for me, though it did inspire me to try monochromatic dressing a bit more.  When I had put designer-laganlook back on the shelf after a thorough examination I came across a Japanese street style called Mori Girl.  I cannot describe what Mori is in any even remotely brief way and it has variations and sister styles but it is also a layered style of dressing that is generally both earthy and feminine so that aspect appealed to me.  It is, as all Japanese street style seems to be, very young looking and I think one might need to either be under 25 or at least look under 25 to really pull it off.  That being said I believe anyone can and should wear whatever he or she wants to.

With Mori style the clue that it is intended for the young is that is has the word "girl" incorporated into it.  Not woman.  A Mori Girl is supposed to look like a girl of the forest.  The look is appealing to my inner ten year old but it is far too sweet and young to look anything other than like a costume on me.  Many of the concepts the Mori Girls try to embrace do apply to me though and are essentially what I already instinctively gravitate towards.  Something called Dark Mori has evolved for those who find the regular Mori just a little too sweet and innocent looking.  It has a dash of Goth to it and looks more like the forest girl's older sister is dabbling in dark magic.  I enjoy admiring the images in the same way someone might admire the look of a pin up girl but not dress the part on a regular basis.  It would come across like a costume and that is something the Japanese appear to enjoy doing. I do not happen to be my  town's resident eccentric, at least not yet.

Today's layers are a bit reminiscent of Christmas, but I say why should only Christmas enjoy red and green together and not let us have it any other time?  The green shawl is yet another of my scarf-shawl hybrids, which I have in many colours.  I could not wear something that bright all over but enjoy a dash of it like this.  Then I have a black cotton dress with a red tartan skirt underneath it.  The camera has emphasised how the grey stripe over red on the skirt looks a bit like purple so I will experiment with wearing the skirt with purple as well. 

For going outside, I decided I need a hat today.  It's cooler, yes, but if I am  honest it is more want than 'need'.   Not that it matters.  I am just inclined to be honest.  And here is the shawl-scarf worn the other way I typically wear it.  I am cleverly posed with a red and green painting behind me and we are going to pretend I did that on purpose.  A friend told me I look like a French school teacher.  Or perhaps it was a teacher of French.  Either way I only have enough skill with French to convince an English speaking kindergarten student that I am bilingual.

This last photo is to help Natalia count the layers, which she tells me is her new game.

I am linking up to Patti's  Visible Monday  over at her wonderful blog Not Dead Yet Style

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Insert Amusing Title about Green Here

Green is one of my favourite colours and mother nature was very wise to use it so liberally.  It goes with everything.  I have not found many green clothing items in the shops lately and by lately I seem to mean several years as my collection of green items had quite dwindled.  There are many shades of green and I love them all but not all of them suit me and then when you consider that I also have to find something green in a style and fabric I like, well, somehow green had been eluding me until recently.  My favourite green is bottle green, with dark forest or pine green being quite acceptable in its place.  However, the forms of green that I mostly have are that shade which is either a blue-green or a green-blue depending on the mix.  On camera they all read very blue or aqua and then my darker greens can be so dark they read almost black the same way navy blue can.  This is all my way of saying that when I made this post I felt I was sharing some green outfits which now that I look of them don't seem all that green.

This dress is jade green but looks more aqua.  I started with a tee shirt under a basic jumper style dress, added socks and leggings, a cardigan and then a second skirt.  The scarf is also wearable as a shawl....

     Just like in this picture above, where I have not yet put on the second skirt and thus found that I felt a bit naked.

I am quite pleased with these arm thingies, which we can call gauntlets, arm warmers, fingerless gloves, or old tights which I cut up.  The tights were thick cotton with a nice texture to them but would never stay up so I re-purposed them.

The next supposedly green ensemble was also a combination of blue-greens and black. As the owner of two black vests and a dark grey one, I could not quite decide which I liked better with this outfit and wore them each at various times during the day trying to decide.  I must clarify that I wore them separately and did not at any time wear two vests.

Yes, I do wear this skirt often.  The trousers are dark green though read almost as black in this photo.  The draw string ankles have white strings, as you can see here on my right ankle (my right and your left)  which irritate me in their whiteness.  I would like to replace the white strings in all my drawstring trousers with colour- matched ribbon.

I have officially recovered from my guilt about my wardrobe size and thrift shop habit and I shall tell you why.  Thrift shopping is in my genetic makeup, I am quite certain.  My parents have long done it and were also once very avid attenders of the weekly garage sales.  The popularity of garage sales has dropped off and Mum and Dad don't attend them any more but they are just as, if not more so, addicted to thrift store shopping as I am and I think it is now possible that Dad has found more trousers at the thrift shops than I have skirts.  Add that to his golf club finds and not only do I see that I cannot help having great thrift shopping skills, but clearly I am also not the only one with a full closet.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Delightful Little Bits

I am not one to get terribly involved with seasonal decor, since I like what I like and I like it year round, thank you very much.  I do change my mantle decor about twice a year, giving it a beachy summery look half the year and a warmer, heavier look I consider winterish for the other half.  I am still living with that gold I don't like but hope to change it soon.  My mantle always features candles, the large oak framed mirror and the painting by my great grandfather.  The summer theme includes driftwood, beach stones, shells, coloured glass and a lone little air plant pretending to be sea grass. By the end of this month I will have changed the mantle but before I do that I'd like to show you something new.

Recently I added something just  perfect for my theme, it delights me to no end and is made by the very talented Val, Queen of Miniatures. Her marketplace page is on her blog here.  My little treasure just over there by the tall blue bottle, but let me zoom in.

Here is my little beach hut.  I can just imagine sitting here and sipping something cool, the smell of salty air, the sound of gulls and if I'm lucky a light breeze.  It was the seahorses that first caught my eye when I saw Val had this for sale.  My grandmother loved seahorses and so they always remind me of her.  There is something very very appealing about them, I agree.

Here is a better look at the beach as seen from the beach hut.

There are many people enjoying the sun and sand.  Just like the view out my window we can see sail boats with colourful sails and fluffy clouds piled up in the sky.  Val's talent for and patience with conceiving of and assembling these miniatures amazes me.  I have always loved miniatures and in childhood fantasised about both large realistic dollhouses and electric train sets with detailed landscapes surrounding them, but I have never actually tested my ability to put such things together.

I love how the reds of this little beach hot pop out from all the blues and greens I have on my mantle and yet balance the warm tones of the painting at the opposite end.

In keeping with this theme of little things, I thought I would share a couple other incidentals from around my home that are pleasing me right now.  They are nothing like as impressive as a miniature beach hut, but for what they are worth, here they are.

Sewing is not really my thing so this is still pinned and who knows when I will get around to properly sewing it.  I actually have two identical such curtains placed in two different doorways where a solid door was not useful to me.  One is a storage room which also contains the litter box.  Thus I want it easily accessible by Sophie but hiding the contents.  The other is a tiny laundry room off the second bathroom.  Again, I wish to hide the contents but this time I want a bit of air flow that I don't get when the door is closed.  The 'curtains' are thrift shop bed sheets and I have pinned them onto a tension rod.

Sophie also loves to hide behind this curtain and then leap out at me.  Her timing is a bit off and she tends to leap out when I am half way down the hall.

My other little bit of pleasure is also curtain related and is an upgrade to my bedroom curtains.  I once tied them back with twine but have since done something much more clever.  (shameful boasting)  On the day I went to Qualicum with my sister-friend, I dressed and put on my red leather flower bracelet and thought to myself, 'I need a pair of these to use as curtain tie-backs.  They were magic words I uttered because I happened upon some in a shop in Qualicum that very day.

And there you have some little things making me happy in a big way.  The parcel from Val contained something else in addition to the miniature beach hut but that is yet another post.