It is February, and you know what that means: it’s time for my favourite holiday- Valentine’s Day! I know that some people- OK a lot of people- hate Valentine’s Day, but I’ve never really been able to figure out why. It has recently come to my attention though, in a conversation on Instagram, that in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is a holiday that strictly celebrates only romantic love. Well, of course that is how it started off back when the Victorians “invented” the holiday. Originally Valentine’s day was a feast day honouring St. Valentinus- and there are many different legends of why that came to be (who really knows?) However, over time it originated into a holiday celebrating love, where couples would exchange hearts, flowers, confectionery and love letters or “valentines”. By the time the 19th century came about, the Victorians, who were were obsessed with everything to do with romance and courtship, helped to turn it into the holiday we recognize today- where St. Valentinus is quite forgotten, but hearts and flowers and chocolates abound!
Even though the holiday was originally a celebration of only romantic love, over time, in Canada (and the USA I think too) it has turned into a day to celebrate all forms of love. When I was in elementary school, we always brought valentines to exchange with our classmates, and often had a party too. (Because really, who doesn’t want an excuse to eat pink heart shaped cookies and cakes?!) Nowadays, I hear the term “Galentines Day” circulating around, which has gotten fairly popular in the last few years; the idea being spending the day with your best girl friends instead of focusing on only romantic love. Even if you don’t have an opportunity for romance in your life right now, (I don’t) that’s no reason to dismiss Valentine’s Day as “Single’s Awareness Day”. Yes, romantic love is a beautiful thing, but having a holiday to celebrate all different kinds of love is a very nice idea too, I think. There are somany different kinds of love in the world, such as agapewhich is the love of man for God, and the love that God has for his children, eros or romantic love, philia, the beautiful love between friends, and storge which is familial love- just to name a few. Why should Valentine’s Day celebrate only eros, when there are so many more kinds of love in the world that are worth celebrating? I have always had that mindset about the day- and have always used it as a chance to send cards to friends and family and celebrate philia and storge love. Sometimes in past years, like with last year’s cards I’ve used the chance to highlight God’s agape love. And don’t forget that heart shaped cake too; which perhaps is an example of philautia- self love! 😉
Because Valentine’s Day is such a Victorian holiday, I usually make cards inspired by the era, so I thought I would show you all the cards I made and sent this year. Making and mailing valentines cards is such an old fashioned tradition, which is probably why it appeals to me so much 🙂
And, I also thought that since I can’t send all of you dear readers a Valentine of your own (I really wish I could!), it would be fun to share a Valentine’s card with you all in the form of a download! Just in case you haven’t gotten a card for someone special, but would like to give them one this year, I have a design I created a few years ago which is my Valentine’s Day card to you! I hope you enjoy it and I’d love to know if you decide to use it too!
So, is Valentine’s Day a strictly “romantic” holiday where you live? Or do you celebrate friends and family and all of the heart shaped things? And, do you make your own Valentine’s cards?
I’m not doing too well with the first week into my second year of blogging am I? I celebrated my 1 year anniversary and then promptly got sick and have been away from blogging for a week now. Sigh. At least I did have this post mostly ready to go, and I am on the mend now with lots of ideas for posts to come!
Winter fashion consists mainly of outerwear. In the winter, you can come up with the most fabulous outfit ever, but eventually you are going to have to put a coat on over the top of it. This video, which my brother showed me a while ago, illustrates this effect perfectly, and humorously. (Although I really do want each of those vintage coats!!) Fashion and winter don’t mix well, and this is why it is important (as in not important in the grand scheme of life, but important from a fashion point of view) to have multiple winter coats, and to make sure that your outerwear, whatever it may be, is fashionable. Your climate, to some extent, does dictate your wardrobe so, for me and many others, this means coats.
This is my everyday winter coat. I bought it from a thrift store four or five years ago, and it was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. It is a cashmere and wool blend (no man-made fibres except for the lining) and is the warmest coat I have ever owned. I used to walk to and from work during the winter (in some of the coldest weather I have ever known- one day the temperatures dropped to -49 degrees, I kid you not) and I was toasty warm during the 15 minute walk. I think it is so warm because of the fibre blend and that it is almost ankle length. A long coat like this keeps your legs warm, and thus the rest of you as well. This coat does such a good job of insulating, that I can’t wear it any time the temperatures warm up!
I believe it is from the 1980’s, judging by the raglan sleeve, but the style is so classic that it easily lends itself to any era. It’s a “vintage chameleon”, to quote Jessica. The only thing that it doesn’t work well for is full skirts, as there is no room for pouffiness and you end up looking rather squashed in. When I first got the coat, it had a tie belt, but as the belt made it look rather like a bathrobe, I quickly amended that situation by removing the belt loops and have been wearing it this way ever since. Thus, it is one of the most versatile and weatherproof winter coats I have ever owned. It is starting to show some wear, and the lining is starting to shatter (I am not looking forward to that repair job!) but I do believe that it will have many more serviceable years ahead. You just can’t get quality like vintage anymore, can you?
It actually wasn’t very cold the day we took these pictures, which is why I was actually able to take the coat off so you could see what I was wearing underneath! The photos kind of go in stages: toasty warm wearing the coat, then the scarf off, then the coat over the shoulders and then finally no coat at all. Of course, right when I had the coat off, a giant and freezing cold wind came up and cut that short! It’s as though the weather was scolding me- “What are you doing out here without a coat on, you silly girl!”
Do you often find yourself having to cover up your outfits with outerwear, or are you able to get away with lighter layers or no coats at all? What requirements do you have, when it comes to outerwear? And what did you think of that video? 🙂
Scarf: a gift from my brother, which he got in Nepal
My colour scheme in this outfit was directly inspired by this lichen covered tree. No, just kidding. I just noticed it when we were out and thought that it was funny the colours matched so well to what I was wearing 😉
I thought that since I was not organized enough to get together a round-up or year in review post for New Years, and also considering that I would have been one month short had I published such a post before now, I would share my favourite posts since I started blogging a year ago. When I looked at my blog stats, I was surprised to see some of the posts that came up as the most popular, although the #1 post is also one of my favourites too. So, without further ado, here are my top 12 posts from the past year, in case you missed them the first time around!
Oh, and ps: So sorry to everyone who was trying to leave comments in the past few days and having difficulties with the all caps situation going on there. Somehow, when I changed my blog format, I switched the comment form to all caps! It is fixed now, so you should have no more difficulties 🙂
This was one of the most fun posts to write, and it took me forever to gather all the facts and write it. There is so much more I could have said, but then I would have had to write a book, I suppose. 😉 This is the most popular post I’ve ever published; I’m still getting page views on it six months later.
For some reason that is quite beyond me, this little post I wrote about my vintage Astra faux fur coat and advertisement has proven to be very popular as well, and I still get plenty of views on it too.
This was another favourite post to write, although I look at the pictures now, and think that I could have done better. Oh, well. I am really looking forward to writing some more fashion history posts this year.
This was a project where my blog proved to be an accountability partner. As I had told the entire internet I was going to take part in this challenge, I had to do it! Unfortunately the weather turned cold right after this was sewn, so I haven’t had a chance to wear it out yet, except for these photos. It is waiting patiently for next summer, but this post has proven to be a rather popular one in the meantime.
One of the more serious posts I’ve written, for Slow Fashion October, this outlines some of the reasons why I choose to shop and wear ethical fashion and why the effects of the cheap fashion industry should matter to us all.
Hands down, this was my personal favourite outfit post of the year. Not only do I like the 1910’s inspired outfit (which is a bit different of a style for me, and one that I am incorporating more and more into my wardrobe), but the photos were taken on the brink of a summer thunderstorm! We got the photos just in time to avoid a soaking downpour.
One of the first times I ever did a proper shoot of photos, not just quick snapshots, these were taken on one of the most beautiful days of Spring, right in between rain showers. The lilacs were absolutely stunning that day.
Wow. It’s already been a year? In some ways it doesn’t seem like it was one year ago that I wrote that small little introductory post and pressed “publish”. And yet, in other ways it seems like forever ago. It feels like sometimes I can’t remember what it was like to not be blogging. In some ways it’s like there is “life before blogging” and “life after blogging”. 🙂 And it’s crazy to think how much has happened in the past year, and how much my blog has grown since the beginning too! Blogging definitely hasn’t turned out to be what I thought it would be like: it has turned out to be even better. I’ve learned a lot in the last year, so I thought that I would share a few of those things I’ve learned along the way.
1. I have become a lot bolder and confident in my style since I started blogging about it. Instead of wondering whether something is too “out there”, I go for it. I know what I like to wear, so I just wear it; instead of fearing the reactions of people around me (who by the way are very nice- I’ve never had a terrible vintage wearing experience like I know some people have!) It’s just my assumptions of what people will think of me, and that they will think I’m strange. Surprise! I am strange, so what am I worried about 😉 I’ve talked a bit about my vintage “journey” before, here and here so you know I haven’t always been so confident in what I wear. I’m still not always confident, but knowing that I am supported by a large vintage community of people who are also wearing the same kind of offbeat style, is so encouraging. I may not see you in my day-to-day life, or ever cross paths in real life with another vintage lover, but I know that you are out there, and I am not alone. And, because I am sharing my outfits here, it encourages me to try new things, sew new pieces, put together new ensembles, and generally keep me out of the rut of wearing the same old thing over and over again.
2. I should have started this blog years ago like I dreamed of, but never had the courage to. I was afraid of whether it would fail. And I haven’t failed. Yet. (haha!) I have all of you lovely readers who faithfully read what I have to say. This blog, and each of you, has given me the courage to try other things that I was afraid to do, like selling and showing my art and other crafts at several Christmas markets and art shows. (And, I am going to be starting up an online shop soon too, so stay tuned for that!)
3. I really enjoy writing and making things and taking pictures and dressing up. This blog has given me a bit of purpose, I suppose, for all of those things. I have a place to share what I’m doing, the photos I’m taking, the things I’m learning and the outfits I’m wearing. I love to write, but I hadn’t done much since leaving high school. Now I can write as much as I want, and I have a purpose for it. (Some of my favourite posts have been the ones where I had to research and really take the time to think it out and write, such as my post on the history of harem pants.) I love to dress up, and now I have a place to share those outfits I’m really proud of. I love photography, and now I have a reason to improve my skills, and somewhere to share the pictures. I love to sew, but am famous for starting and never finishing projects. I am terrible at procrastinating and putting off the things I truly enjoy, but having a blog has given me a reason to do those things that I already love to do, and the accountability to stay with it till the end. This blog has turned out to be a great creative outlet, and I really look forward to coming up with more to share with you all.
4. I’ve made so many new friends since I started blogging. Instead of being on the outside of the internet community, I’m now smack dab in the middle of it. Before I started this blog, I would rarely leave comments or engage in the conversations I saw happening on the internet. But now, I realize how valuable comments and emails and participation actually are. I truly enjoy each comment that you dear readers leave, and I now love leaving comments on other people’s blogs too. Since starting this blog, I’ve met so many interesting people, (both online and in person), have written two guest posts (here and here) for some lovely fellow vintage bloggers, and have established a personal connection with many more. Each of you, my dear readers, I consider to be friends. You are the ones who make this fun for me, and I always look forward to what you have to say, in the comments and on your own blogs too.
5. Blogging is a lot more work than I thought it would be. I look back to my earliest posts, and I am not super proud of them. (So don’t go looking back at them, OK?) I didn’t really know what I was doing back then, but also I just wanted to quickly put a post together and publish it. I posted a lot, but those posts didn’t have much substance; I didn’t take the time to write something interesting or take good photographs. Fortunately, along the way, I made the decision to be more purposeful about what I post. I now take the time to take better photos, and write something useful. It now takes much more of my time, but I am much happier with the look and feel of my blog. I am always seeing areas that need improvement, but overall I am glad to be putting in the extra effort. The posts that I am most proud of, are the ones that took me the longest to write and put together. All things that are worthwhile take time, right?
6. Becoming a famous, full time blogger is probably not something that is going to happen to me. When I first started blogging, I looked at all the other bloggers out there, and thought it would be the same for me. I thought that once I had been doing this for a while, the sponsorships and collab posts would start pouring in. OK, well I didn’t think they’d start “pouring” in, but I did think I would get some notice, and that I would be able to make some money from blogging. As of now, I’ve gotten one email from a company, whose product didn’t fit very well with my style, or this blog, and so I turned it down. For a while I was kind of disappointed, but then I realized that it’s OK if I’m not a professional blogger. I don’t always remember to take pictures every time something noteworthy happens and sometimes those photos don’t turn out how I like, even if I do take them! I don’t dress up perfectly every day and plan the perfect outfit, and then make sure to post it to my social media. I can’t stay in a “niche” to save my life as I end up posting about any and everything I like. And, I realized, I don’t want to post only the things that will get followers and likes. I know there are practices that I could put in place to boost my readership and followers, but I don’t really want to feel boxed in like that. The result is that I don’t have a 100,000 page views and 20k followers on Instagram. That’s OK. Because I actually like my blog, and I look forward to posting. And I’ve realized that it’s OK if it remains a creative outlet, and never turns into a paying job someday. (And besides, I’ve got all of you lovely followers here and on Instagram. What more could a girl want?)
7. After a year I realized that my blog direction has changed from what I initially thought it would be. I originally thought I would post a lot of artwork, some fashion and a bit of lifestyle thrown in for good measure. That order has changed a lot, as my main focus is now on fashion, and especially vintage. Fashion history, vintage style outfits, thoughts on ethical fashion and vintage “fashion moments” make up the majority of what I post. I haven’t posted a lot of my artwork, or photography, but I do like to dedicate a few posts solely to that creative pursuit. And as far as lifestyle goes, I hardly ever have anything to say about that. As you can see, I have now updated my blog style to reflect the changes. The watercolour header and bright colours didn’t really suit my style, and it had the appearance of being strictly an artwork blog- with no reference to the vintage aspect of the blog. So, I’ve changed a few things to reflect that more vintage focus, while still having a “homemade” and “artistic” look to it. I am not going to be changing what I post- I just think that this design reflects more clearly what I am already posting: the creative expressions of a girl looking at the world through vintage coloured glasses 🙂
Whenever people change their blog format, I always think “Wait- what was it like before?!” So, now you can compare.
All in all, I see how much has changed in the past year, and I am very excited about where this next year will lead. I have lots of ideas for posts I am very excited to share with you all, and I am always learning ways in order to make this blog better. On that note: is there any feedback you have for me? What kinds of posts do you enjoy the most? What would you like to see more of?
So, on my one year of blogging anniversary, I thank each and every one of you dear readers who have been following along with my journey here, whether you’ve been here since the first post, or just started reading this week. And, if you’ve never left a comment before: please introduce yourself, I’d love to meet you!