Strawberries and Sundresses

strawberry season, feature image

Summer is out in full force, which means that the garden is growing nicely, we’re beginning to harvest already… and I am ready for falltime! I am definitely not a summer person; when the temperatures start rising, I start looking for a cool, dark place to hide.

picking strawberries

Anyways, I mentioned in one of my previous posts, that I was really starting to run out of clothing to wear for casual days at home, and with the advent of summer, I was really lacking on clothes to wear for these hot summer days. This fabric has been sitting in the stash literally ever since I was a child-  my mom received it from my aunt when I was little. I had always planned on making a long, dirndl style dress with it. I envisioned something like Molly’s blue dress from “Wives & Daughters”. Well, after about five years of that plan, I decided it was about time to sew the fabric up, and into something I could actually use and wear “now”. A peasant style dress is one of the easiest styles of dresses to make, and is so perfect for hot days, especially when it’s made out a lightweight chambray like this, so after managing to squeeze all of the pattern pieces onto the fabric I had (with only a few small scraps left over) I went ahead with the plan.

vintage colander filled with berries

harvesting strawberries

This dress is made off of a pattern from an old dress I had.  I have made it before like this, but this time around I wanted to try and make it similar in style to this dress I used to have (sadly the fabric on that one wore out). I at first sewed up the dress with a drawstring waistband, with the idea that it could be loosened or tightened for comfort. Well…that didn’t turn out so well. It ended up veeerrry frumpy, and the shape it gave was certainly not an elegant “Jane Austen heroine” one. So, I had to take it back apart and then, after tossing about several ideas, settled on putting in a waistband, but sewing elastic channels in the back to give it a shirred look. This ended up with exactly the shape I wanted. It fits perfectly and the little bit of elastic makes it super comfortable! The dress pulls on over the head, and the neckline is gathered with a drawstring, rather than elastic, for a more historical look. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out, and I definitely plan on making up another version of this dress. I’ll just plan to put a waistband in rather than try something new, next time. If it works, don’t try to reinvent it right?

back detail of peasant dress

Of course, when your new dress is covered with a pattern of strawberry vines, you have to take photos of it in the strawberry patch!

We’ve had a lovely abundance of berries this year, though we’ve lost some some to the voles, and some to mould (because we’ve had so much rain this year). But, there have definitely been enough for treats and fresh eating, and even some to freeze for winter- aren’t fresh strawberries in July the best?

How has your summer been so far? Do you have a garden; either a plot or a pot? What do you like to wear during the summer?

holding vintage colander of berries in the garden

handful of strawberries

strawberry picking

in the strawberry garden

picking berries

walking in the garden

bowl of berries

That Fresh Hair Feeling

There’s nothing better than a fresh new haircut, is there? OK, well, yes there are plenty of things better than a new haircut…but when you’ve been waiting patiently for four months, it’s a lovely thing to walk out of the salon with significantly less hair on your head!

I got my hair cut into a fresh bob on Tuesday, and my hairdresser also added in some colour to blend out my platinum, which was starting to look rather brassy and harsh. Growing out platinum is hard, but at least this looks a bit softer. I keep saying that I’ll never dye my hair again, but I probably will again someday- it’s a lot of fun while it lasts!

I don’t have much else to say about these photos except that this is the last of the lilacs. We didn’t get a very good show of them this year. I think that it was maybe too cold earlier in the spring, and the buds got a bit too cold with frost. It’s really too bad, because usually this hedge is just covered, and I love to do photoshoots with it as a backdrop. At least we did still get some blooms, and I got these photos before they all faded away.

What have you been up to lately? Are you long overdue for a haircut, like 99% of the population? Have you ever tried to grow out dyed hair?

And this is what happens when you take photos in the wind!

Days Like These

sitting and looking out of the window

I think we can all agree that 2020 hasn’t really turned out the way any of us thought it would. When we celebrated the return of the “Roaring 20’s”, on New Year’s Eve, I don’t think this was quite the kind of turbulence we were anticipating.

It’s been a rather strange year so far for me in other ways too; losing one of my jobs (before the pandemic even came into view), switching to working only at my work-from-home job, moving out of my apartment and back to the country with my family, and then, of course, the pandemic which put a stop to everything else….and here we are already in June. My lifestyle has dramatically changed in the past six months.

It’s been a bit of a strange time fashion wise too, switching from a job where I worked in a boutique and wanted to look put together every day (of course with my own vintage twist!) to now working strictly from home, at a desk job. I’ve always loved fashion, so curating a “work/social” wardrobe over the past couple of years was a lot of fun, but now with the pandemic putting a halt on going out in public, I really have had no reason to wear many of those clothes, except for my own enjoyment. Most of my days for the past few months have been spent at home; this is a situation I am sure many of us have found ourselves in this year?

at home outfit details and houseplants

I was scheduled for a haircut back in March, but my hairdresser closed their salon one day before my appointment…so it’s now been 4 months without a cut or colour. (In hindsight, choosing to go platinum blonde in February was not a timely decision.) Not getting my hair touched up has definitely saved money, and it’s not as though anyone is seeing my grow-out line, but all I really care about is getting a good haircut! It’s grown so long and uneven that even styling it can’t fix it!

All this to say…it has been a challenge some days wanting to look nice while at home, but then not having a lot to wear that is practical, comfortable and stylish. A lot of my everyday clothing had started getting really worn out (un-mendable holes etc) and with all the shops sadly closed up, I haven’t been able to fill those gaps in my wardrobe. The result has been quite a few boring and repeat outfits over the past few months.

I’ve also realized that I am quite lazy when it comes to dressing for myself. Even though I could wear my dressy clothes at home, I apparently don’t want to, which is a rather ironic thing for a fashion blogger to say, isn’t it?

Upon further thought, though, I think the problem is not so much that I don’t want to dress up, but that I don’t have a lot of clothes that are good for the kind of life I am now living day to day. I don’t like days when I don’t dress nicely, as they always feel unproductive and messy, but it’s been a bit hard getting out of that rut. Its kind of crazy how much of an impact your clothing can have on your outlook, isn’t it?

days at home, polka dot plant

I suppose one good thing that has come out of this period at home, though, is that I have had the time to do a really good evaluation of what is working well in my wardrobe, and what is not. I’ve been meaning to go through the book “The Curated Closet” for while, and decided that this was as good a time as ever, especially considering the drastic change in my lifestyle. I have been taking the time to evaluate why I don’t wear some of the items in my closet, what pieces I do really like and what styles I need more of.

I’m realizing the need to evolve my closet into something that suits how I actually spend most of my days- not how I wish I was spending most of my days. As much fun as dressing up to work in the boutique was, I need to be dressing for my life at home now, and comfort is really key for me. I don’t want to look like a mess, but I also don’t want to wear clothing that is too fussy or precious. I have been working on creating a more defined vision of personal style that suits my lifestyle, and hopefully I’ll have more to share on the process I went through in the next while.

Anyways, things are starting to open again. Here in Alberta, we are three weeks into our reopening. I am so thankful to live where I do, since we have not seen the numbers of cases that other places have seen. (In the area I live in, there has been zero cases of COVID.) Hopefully I will be able to get out and do a bit of clothing shopping soon, to fill in those holes in my wardrobe. And I’ve finally got a hair appointment this week, so this is the last time you’ll see my hair this long (thankfully!)

Even though my wardrobe isn’t at a place at the moment that I find particularly exciting, I wanted to take a moment to document these days, before everything changes again.

How has your lifestyle and wardrobe evolved in the past few months? Have you kept things relatively the same, dressing as you always have, or have you had to make some changes? Do you dress differently at home than you do out of the home? What are your thoughts on dressing up for your everyday?

sitting and looking out of the window

naked sage moonstone earrings

Earrings by Naked Sage Jewellery

reading a book

Seeing People as They Truly Are

my family history

It’s been a very sad, heavy and wearying week, hasn’t it? As much as I want to come onto this blog and start chatting about clothing and personal style and my latest sewing project…fashion just isn’t what I’ve been thinking about. My mind has been occupied elsewhere this past week, as I think we all have been- and rightly so.

For the past few days I have been delving into the issue of discrimination and wrestling through my thoughts on all the sides and aspects of such a complicated topic. I have wanted to run away from this issue. I have wanted to avoid the turmoil and stay wrapped up in my cozy little home. I have been afraid to post in case I say the wrong thing.

But I have not been called to hide, and change must come from each of us. I may not have all the words to say, but I don’t think that I can ignore the issue and post pretty photos of lilacs and dresses either, so I thought that I would write this out, just to get it out on paper, and share it here in case it can be of any help to you too.

I don’t talk about it a lot because it doesn’t come up very often, but I am Native American. I don’t look like it, but my dad’s side of the family is from northern BC & Yukon, and I am in fact a member of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations. It’s not a very big part of my life, because I didn’t grow up in the Yukon, I didn’t grow up on a reserve, and for the most part have lived a very “white” life.

Oh, that and the fact that I don’t look Native.

I live in Western Canada, in Alberta, and I have not seen a lot of racism towards black people in person (the  issue that is specifically tearing the world apart right now), so I cannot speak to that, and it would be hypocritical for me to do so. However, I have seen discrimination against native people, where I live in Canada. My own family members have experienced discrimination because of how “Indian” they look. (Bullying while growing up, getting beaten up, mockery in the workplace, not even to mention the historical oppression of Native Americans…)

I have seen this racism, but I have never experienced it firsthand because I don’t look “Indian”. This just goes to show how ridiculous this kind of discrimination is; I am genetically Native American (with some immigrant heritage thrown in), but because I don’t look like it…I am somehow exempt.

When it comes right down to it, scientifically our skin colour is only a very small fraction of the layers of our skin, and skin colour is a direct result of how that layer reacts to the sun. According to The Body by Bill Bryson, that layer is only about 1 mm thick (so thin that it is translucent). That is a very small amount of cells to divide people so radically.

After thinking about this issue for several days, and wrestling through my thoughts on all the sides and aspects of such a complicated topic, I have come to the conclusion that these problems we are seeing across the world are not rooted in racism.

What is racism really? We are all members of the human race. Whether you are black, white, red, or whatever colour you identify as; we are all human. Biologically there is no such thing as race. Our bodies do not have any defining characteristics to divide between people.

Even though it seems that the root cause of racism may be unique to one people group- looking at someone and discriminating against them because they have a different skin colour than you- that isn’t really the issue. After all, a white person can discriminate against a black person. A black person can discriminate against a native person. A native person can discriminate against an asian person….

I do not give these examples to distract from the very real and scary problems that people of colour are facing every day, but to show that discrimination can come from anywhere, by anyone and it all comes down to the same root problem: a desire to puff ourselves up and selfishly put ourselves first.

The real problem is in looking at someone else, picking out what is different about them, seeing them as somehow “less” than you, and discriminating against them because you don’t value their humanity.

By removing someone of their humanity, suddenly no evil action is beyond the scope of imagination.

Why were Native Americans wiped of their culture, taken from their families, put in residential schools, and made the subject of systemic abuse and stereotypes that exist to this day? Because their humanity was erased.

Why were people with physical and mental disabilities exterminated by the Nazis in the 1930’s and 40’s to sounds of celebration? Because their humanity was erased.

Why were Africans enslaved for hundreds of years in North America (and Europe) and still face real danger and prejudices to this day? Because their humanity was erased.

Why are people of colour being killed unjustly all over the world, no matter which culture or country they live in, still today? Because their humanity is still being erased.

This root of this problem is not racism.

This root of this problem is not oppression and power.

The root of this problem is the arrogance of looking at someone else, separating yourself from them, elevating yourself above them, and refusing to see them as a human made in the image of our Creator God.

The root of this problem is Sin.

When it comes right down to it, our actions towards others are determined by what we believe about others. Why is life valuable? What is it that makes us human? What is it that makes each of us worthy of life, dignity and respect? Before anything can change, we need to recognize the inherent value that each person has because they are a human made by God. We need to believe what God himself has said:

‘Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.’ Genesis 1:26-27

So, what is the solution to the problem? It can’t be fixed with human ideas.

The solution to the problem is not overthrowing those who are oppressing us. There will always be someone new to trample upon someone else.

The solution is not in educating everyone and making them see things from our perspective, though activism can be a great tool.

The solution is not in creating distinctions between people or even in trying to celebrate our differences.

The only real solution that can be found is to humble ourselves, take the focus off of ourselves, and follow the example of Christ:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! ” Philippians 2: 3- 10

I do not give these examples today to point fingers at others. I have done some of my own self reflection this past week and have taken a look at my own ideas. I have wanted to run away from the issue and not think about it; I did not want to stare my own prejudices in the face and see where I have acted wrongfully towards others. I have had to repent of some of those actions and attitudes.

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves.” Romans 12: 10

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends upon you, live at peace with everyone….Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12: 17, 18, 21

I may not have been as eloquent as I hoped to be, and may not have said everything as it should have been said, but I hope and pray that these words, dear friend, will have entered into the chaos and turmoil that is spreading all over the globe, and that they will have given you a pause and a peace to reflect upon. My prayer is that in the midst of all of the pain of the past few days and weeks, we will not find peace and fulfilment in anything on this earth, but will instead turn to the only One who can truly heal.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30