Tea and Tulips on a February Day

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist

It is in February when I start longing for the sunshine and flowers of spring and summer. November and December hold the anticipation of Christmas and the snow is fresh and clean and appealing. January brings the promise of a bright New Year and fireside days. But, by the time February comes along, the snow is not a novelty anymore, and the days seem cold and lifeless. The weather warms up just enough to tease us with promise of Spring, only to freeze again. It is in the later days of February that we start to look towards Spring with expectation. I am not one to buy cut flowers often, but sometimes a bouquet of flowers is just the perfect thing to brighten up those long winter days. My mom surprised me and my sister this year on Valentine’s Day with a bouquet of gorgeous yellow and purple tulips. Yellow and purple are two colours that go extremely well together, and these tulips created a beautifully simple, yet elegant, bouquet.

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, tulip vase

I love tulips as they are one of those funny kinds of flowers that seem to have a mind of their own. As soon as you arrange them in a bouquet, they rearrange themselves and completely undo all the arranging you did to them. Tulips actually continue to grow in the vase, and these certainly did as soon as I put them in the vase. I promise you that they were arranged in some kind of order, but by the time I took these photos, they had drooped and flopped all over the place. It’s OK though, as it makes them seem that much more natural and alive; and they do give me hope that Winter is not forever!

What could be more inviting on a cold February day than a bouquet of Spring flowers and a piping hot cup of tea in a pretty china teacup?

Do you like to have bouquets of flowers in winter? And tea in a pretty cup?

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, vase and teacup

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, tulip details

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, teacup top view and vase

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, tulip detail

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, teacup and vase

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, horizontal tulips

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, teacup

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, tulip and teacup detail

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, top view teacup

Bringing Back “Coupon Busters” One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time

bringing back coupon busters, one pair of shoeclips at a time, the artyologist

In one of the later season’s of Foyle’s War, (a British crime drama set in the 1940’s, which I highly recommend, by the way, if you enjoy murder mysteries and period wartime dramas) there was an episode where the character of Sam is seen discussing shoes with a coworker. Her coworker had recently purchased a pair of “coupon busters”, which were an ingenious pair of shoes that came with detachable heel covers and shoe clips. The heels and clips could transform the single pair of shoes into three different pairs, simply by removing the sensibly shaped heel cover, which made the shoe appropriate for office wear, to reveal the more sensuously curved heel which was perfect for evening. Adding a shoe clip to the toe created yet another fashionable look.

I don’t know if coupon busters were a real invention in wartime Britain, as a way for women to stretch their rationing coupons, allowing them to purchase one pair of shoes, instead of three separate pairs, or not. I couldn’t find any information about them at all. I think that coupon busters are rather a clever idea though, and it really is too bad that they are not being made today. Even though we don’t have to worry about rationing coupons today, I would love to be able to transform one pair of shoes into three, wouldn’t you?

Although a manufactured shoe like this is not readily available, there is, however, an easy way to transform the look of your shoes, and that is by wearing shoe clips. Shoe clips are one of those accessories that have wavered in and out of fashion throughout the years. Shoe buckles were very popular in the 18th century, not just for function, but fashion as well. In the 1950’s shoe clips rose in popularity with the invention of proper shoe clip hardware. My mom had shoe clips in the 1980’s, and I remember a few years ago they were a trend again. However, they are not a common thing to see for the most part. I really don’t know why, as they are so fun and versatile, and can transform your shoes into a completely new look. I personally think they make your shoes look like “princess shoes”- don’t princesses always seem to have big bows and what-have-you on the toes of their shoes?

I have been wanting to find shoe clips for years, at least five years now, as I got these coral flower decorations with the express intent of attaching them to shoe clips. However, apparently shoe clip hardware is an impossible thing to want, and I could never find any for sale. I put the flowers aside and forgot about them, until recently, when I found them again in my craft stash, and got the idea to look online to see if shoe clip hardware was available. Sure enough, on Amazon I found a pack of ten pairs of clips! Score! I immediately pulled out the flowers, and set to work creating several different pairs of shoe clips. I mean, I do have ten sets of clips now, so I can make a lot of pairs of shoe clips. At this rate, I’ll never have to wear the same pair of shoes again! 😉

I thought that since shoe clips are such a versatile accessory to change up the look of your shoe, I would demonstrate with two pairs of shoes. Shoe clips work best on open, classic style shoes that don’t already have too many details, straps or embellishments, and they work equally well on heeled or flat shoes. Here you can see how shoe clips transform the look of the shoes and lend themselves well to any occasion.

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, the artyologist, Navy shoes, no clips

First up are these navy peep toe pumps. I wear these shoes a lot as navy is such a versatile colour, and this pair is so comfortable. They are a plain and serviceable shoe, so you’ll see how much they change just by adding some clips.

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, Navy pumps- princess pompoms, the artyologist

Round pom-pom flowers turn these into statement shoes. These are Cinderella shoes for sure- don’t they look like something the Disney princess would wear?

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, Navy pumps, sparkly brown clips, the artyologist

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, Navy pumps, green clip ons, the artyologist

Did you know you can also use clip-on earrings as shoe clips? You have to be careful with which ones you use- I have some pairs which have too weak of a clasp, or come up too high above the edge of the shoe, but some pairs clip on rather nicely to add some sparkle. Both of these, the brown and the green are clip-on earrings I seldom wear, but I think they work rather nicely to dress up the shoes. Clip-on earrings are also much easier to find than proper shoe clips.

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, navy silver clips, the artyologist

These are true shoe clips which I found at an antique sale. They add just the right amount of sweetness, sparkle and vintage flair. Vintage stores and sales can be a good place to look to find real shoe clips.

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, the artyologist, black no clips

Now here are my black pumps: they have a band across the toe which has sparkly gems on it, but you’ll see that they still work rather well with shoe clips, because of the open shape of the shoe.

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, the artyologist, black, coral clips

Here are the coral coloured flowers. I absolutely love the shape of these as they are very “princessey” too. Unfortunately I have very few clothes that go well with the colour, so that is definitely something I’ll have to change!

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, the artyologist, black bows

I think that bows work really well for a vintage look. Bows were a very popular shoe decoration in the 1940’s, and they have a very classic look about them. Bows that are the same colour as the shoe, work very well for daywear as they look like part of the shoe.

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, the artyologist, black, yellow flowers

The last set of shoe clips are these ribbon flowers I made. They add a nice splash of colour, yet are small enough to be discreet.

And case you would like to make some shoe clips for yourself, here is how:

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, the artyologist, making your own shoeclips

I used a pre-made flower for these, but some of the others I made from scratch. Attach your decoration to a felt disk, either by sewing or gluing it on. Once it is attached, you can then sew your shoe clip onto the felt. Attach it near the top of the disk, so the decoration will sit lower on the shoe. Clip them onto your shoes and enjoy! I got my shoe clip hardware off of Amazon- if you search “shoe clip blank” it should bring some up for you. I am sure there are other places that sell shoe clip blanks as well, I just purchased them from Amazon because I live in a rural area which apparently doesn’t see much demand for shoe clips and the stores didn’t carry them! 🙂

One note of caution I do have, is that depending on the material of your shoe, metal clips may leave indentations or marks. If you have soft leather, or suede like I do, you may want to put some kind of “padding’ in between the clip and the shoe to keep it from getting ruined.

So, have you ever worn shoe clips? What do you think of them? And, would you want a pair of “coupon busters”?

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, the artyologist, black, shoeclips assorted

Love is Forever. Winter is Not.

Love is Forever. Winter is Not. The Artyologist

I know that as soon as I type these words a huge winter storm is going to blow in, and we are going to be covered in snow for the next two months, and everyone will blame me for bringing it upon us with my false hopes, but I just can’t help it: it’s starting to feel like Spring! My head knows that this is ridiculous, because we have a long ways to go here in Canada, before we can even start to think about Spring, but nevertheless- my heart wants to believe that Winter is drawing to an end at long last. This past Valentine’s Day, it was so warm, that we were able to go out and get pictures of my Valentine’s Day outfit, without even wearing coats. OK, I was chilled by the time I went back inside, but nevertheless, it was wonderful! The sun was shining, the snow was melting quickly, the birds were out singing, and we even found some lovely green moss that had been hiding under the snow waiting to peek out at us.

Love is Forever. Winter is Not. The Artyologist, moss and Valentine's outfit

In light of this beautiful warm weather, florals were not out of place for a Valentine’s Day outfit either. Not that I dress strictly for “the season”, but it can be hard to wear summer clothes in winter, when you have to add 100 layers in order to make it warm enough. It was a very nice change to be able to wear pink, and flowers and bare legs and arms, and not look completely out of place (or freeze to death!) I chose to wear this outfit for Valentine’s Day, because as it is one of my favourite holidays, I couldn’t miss the chance for a themed outfit. However, I don’t have much in the way of pink and red clothing; I have a few separate pieces, but not ones that coordinate very nicely. This was the best I could come up with for a Valentine’s Day outfit: a black floral skirt, and a pink flower in my hair. Apparently this skirt is becoming a bit of a tradition too- because I wore it last February 14th as well! I wear this skirt all the time, so I was hoping to wear something different, but oh well. I guess now you know what you can find me in 90% of the time on weekdays!

For accessories with this outfit, I chose to wear my locket since my post on Tuesday was all about their sentimental history and I thought it would be appropriate. Also, this is the first time I have curled my hair since I started growing it into a bob! I am so excited that it is getting long enough to style, so I added the pink hair flower, to make the outfit a bit more put together. I did this hairstyle with a curling iron, but I am hoping to try pin curls again soon. It’s been over two years since I’ve done pin curls, so maybe I’ll wait for a day where I’m not going anywhere to attempt them 😉

Anyways, I had a lovely Valentine’s day spent with my family. My sister gave me a sweet Valentine card, my mom surprised me with a bouquet of tulips, I baked heart shaped scones for breakfast and my mom baked a chocolate cake for dessert. It can’t get much better than that!

How was your Valentine’s day? Did you dress up in a special Valentine’s Day outfit, or celebrate in any other way? Do you wear themed outfits for holidays, or just wear whatever you want regardless of which “holiday” it is?

Outfit Details:

Shirt: owned for many years

Skirt: Made by me

Shoes: Earthies

Belt: thrifted

Hair flower: made by me

Jewellery: gifted

Love is Forever. Winter is Not. The Artyologist, hair flower and Valentine's Day Outfit

Love is Forever. Winter is Not. The Artyologist, Valentine's Day Outfit, portrait

Love is Forever. Winter is Not. The Artyologist, moss

Love is Forever. Winter is Not. The Artyologist, locket and Valentine's Day outfit

Love is Forever. Winter is Not. The Artyologist, locket and Valentine's Day outfit skirt

A Sentimental History of Lockets

a sentimental history of lockets, the artyologist

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! When thinking of what I wanted to post for this Valentine’s Day, I immediately thought of lockets. (Actually my sister suggested that I write a post about lockets quite a while ago, and I hadn’t gotten around to doing it yet, so here it is now!) Lockets are one of those very sentimental and romantic pieces of jewellery, and I can’t think of any better piece of fashion history to delve into on Valentine’s Day, than the history of lockets!

When we think of lockets, we instantly think of romance, and sweethearts separated by circumstance with only a small token left behind as a remembrance of each other. This is very true that lockets are a sentimental piece of jewellery, but their origins are actually not as romantic as you might think and sweethearts were not the first to own and exchange lockets.

A locket is by definition “a small case usually of precious metal that has space for a memento and that is worn typically suspended from a chain or necklace / a thin chain necklace with a gold or silver disk which opens to reveal a picture of loved one, or lock of hair”.  Although lockets are typically worn as a necklace, there are also many examples of locket rings and locket brooches.

the_hockley_pendant-610x250source

No one really knows when lockets were invented, but it is thought that they evolved from the amulets and pendants of ancient times and the Middle Ages. Pendants had been popular for a long time before lockets appeared on the scene, and many pendants had cameos on them or other special engravings and symbols (some of which were supposed to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck to the wearer). The first lockets often served purposes far removed from “love” and “sentimentality”. Some of the earliest ones held herbs or medicine for the wearer, some held perfume to help mask odours arising from less-than-thorough hygiene and some (owned by people of questionable morals) even held poison! You never know when you might just need a handy supply of poison to get rid of someone, I guess. . .

Elizabeth_I_Locket_Ring_2source

Lockets did quickly evolve into mementos though, and one of the earliest known examples of a locket with a picture in it, is the locket ring of Queen Elizabeth I. This ring, dating from 1575, was very precious to her, (my preciousssss!) and contained a portrait of herself on one side and her mother Anne Boleyn on the other. She is said to have never taken it off; it was removed only after she died.

AN00031077_001-662x1024source

In 1649, many supporters of Charles I wore lockets containing his portrait or locks of his hair after his execution, as a sign of mourning for him. These lockets were worn secretly and, though not romantic in nature, were nevertheless cherished pieces to the wearers. During this century, lockets became a way to remember someone special who had died, and often contained a lock of their hair, or a miniature portrait. The lockets of the 17th century were enclosed, and the hair or portrait was concealed inside the piece, which gave the lockets a sense of secrecy and privacy, as only the wearer knew what was inside. At this time, lockets were extremely expensive and often made of precious metals and gems; thus they were worn mainly by the wealthy.

Queen_Victoria_s_Locket_of_Albertsource

During the Victorian era, lockets became extremely popular and turned into the piece of jewellery we recognize today. There are several reasons the locket became so widespread during this time period. The first reason is that Queen Victoria, who was both extremely admired and copied by the people of the time, had two lockets of her own. One was a locket bracelet given to her by her husband which contained locks of hair from each of their children and the other was a very special locket with a portrait of Albert, which Victoria wore after her dear husband’s death. The Victorians were a very sentimental society, so seeing their Queen so publicly wearing a sign of mourning and love for her husband set off a new “trend” for mourning jewellery. Lockets of this time period contained locks of hair, miniature portraits, and even tiny portraits of a person’s eye. Lockets of previous eras had been worn with the lock of hair concealed, but during the Victorian era, lockets of glass also became popular, so the hair could be seen inside without needing to be opened, and the hair was often plaited or woven to create a design, rather than being hidden away. There was also a rather macabre practice of creating jewellery directly out of the hair of the deceased. (Google it, if you dare!) Am I the only one who finds this a little. . . disturbing? I am totally fine with carrying a lock of hair from the one you love, but why must you create a piece of jewellery that is literally made out of the hair itself??? Anyways, moving right along. . .

large-hair-locket-cameo-pendant-3source

Though lockets were often worn as a sign of mourning and remembrance during this time period, we also see them become a token of romantic love. Up until this point in history, lockets were a symbol of love, just not a symbol of only romantic love. The Victorians were a culture obsessed with love and courtship, and a locket was a lovely symbol of promise between lovers. In the USA lockets, sadly, rose in popularity during the Civil War, when soldiers gave them to their sweethearts as a memento in case they didn’t return home.

3-Antique_Victorian_Engraved_Gold_Locket_Necklace_6d3b1592-37f0-4304-aa02-ce72f267c1d3source

Antique-gold-book-locketsource

In previous eras, lockets, as with all jewellery, were very expensive and were owned only by the wealthy, but during the Victorian era they became quite affordable. Because of the Industrial Revolution, and advances in technology and manufacturing, jewellery became easier to manufacture, thus dropping the price to a level that many could afford. Also, with the advent of photography, lockets could now be worn without a lock of hair inside them or a commissioned miniature portrait.  Photography was affordable for the masses, and it soon became popular for lovers to wear lockets, with a picture of each person on either side of the locket.

locket_pocockphotosource

During WWI and WWII, lockets again jumped in popularity as many of the soldiers who fought in the war gave lockets with their pictures to their wives and girlfriends, as soldiers had done years before them. Many of the lockets at this time were very cheaply made, which made them affordable to everyone. They were available everywhere- even being sold at post offices!

After the wars, lockets diminished in popularity overall, though many people of course do still wear them. Today they are seen as a rather traditional type of jewellery, and are often given as gifts for special occasions. I’ve also seen in recent years that glass lockets have come back into style again, though often they don’t contain pictures of loved ones, and instead hold pressed flowers, charms or other pretty tokens. There has also been a resurgence of interest in vintage lockets- and you can find lots of antique ones for sale online and in shops.

Nowadays people don’t wear only lockets as sentimental pieces; instead any piece of jewellery can be a special one- such as a charm bracelet with meaningful and personal charms, or even a simple necklace or ring that was given by someone special. I also think that the reason lockets are not as popular today as they once were, is probably because we are not as “separated” from our loved ones as people of the past were. Before the era of technology, people didn’t have photographs or other ways to keep each other close, so sentimental jewellery pieces like lockets (cameos would be another example) became a common way for loved ones to remember each other. Nowadays, in our era of technology, many of us have an abundance of photos of our loved ones and we also have the “connectedness” that the internet gives us, which was simply not possible before. Still, there is something so special about the thought of wearing a cherished piece close to your heart, isn’t there?

sentimental history of lockets, my locket, the artyologist

I own this silver oval locket, which was given to me when I was 11 or 12, by my parents. Somewhere along the way it got a dent in the front of it- I’ve no idea how or where that happened, but it is still completely wearable, and though I don’t wear it often, I do love it still.

heart locket, a sentimental history of lockets, the artyologist

oval locket, a sentimental history of lockets, the artyologist

My sister owns two lockets. The heart shaped one was my mom’s locket which she received as a graduation gift. The silver oval one is one that my mom gave to her.

Even though lockets are not as popular as they once were, I would still say that they hold a rather prominent and special place in history and amongst jewellery collections today, and there is nothing more fitting to wear on Valentine’s Day than a locket or other special piece of jewellery. Do you have a cherished locket or own any other “sentimental” pieces of jewellery? Did you know the history of lockets, or was this new to you- as much of it was to me?

This is not an exhaustive history, of course, so if you want to find out more about the history of lockets here are some of the sources I used:

Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion (book)

The History of Lockets: Uneak Boutique

Secret Life of Lockets

Lockets: What is the Big Secret