I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend, dear readers, wherever you are. If you are located in Canada, or many other parts of the Northern Hemisphere, you might just have experienced what I did this last weekend: SNOW! Yes, we got a snowstorm last Thursday, and it didn’t let up until Saturday night. I was glad when Sunday dawned bright and clear but, alas, the sun was not warm enough to melt all of the snow away, and we still have snow covered ground out there. All of my visions of Easter bonnets, and flowers, and easter egg hunts and just Spring in general, were quite hopelessly dashed! My visions of a lovely Easter photo set outdoors, were also dashed as well! I didn’t feel like doing supposedly “Spring” photos in a snowdrift! (Especially as last year was so sunny and bright . . . )
So, in order to avert a small blogger crisis, I decided to take a page from Vogue, and many other photo shoots of years-gone-by, and create a set in the living room (by literally moving all of the furniture, opening doors, putting pins in the wall and generally tearing apart everything in sight. . . don’t worry- it’s back in order now). This minimalist backdrop (aka: a white bed sheet) worked out fine in a pinch, and as this outfit is rather “New Look” in style, it lent itself well to the very minimal background and gave me a chance to try out some fun 1950’s poses. Most of these poses are based off of Vogue covers from the 1950’s, or other famous poses (such as Dior’s bar suit)
I originally planned to wear something bright and colourful and well. . . “Springy” for Easter Sunday, however, that didn’t happen. Of all the days in the year, Easter Sunday is the day when you just have to wear an Easter Bonnet, right? Since none of my more colourful dresses had coordinating hats, I decided to forgo the brighter colours in place of a hat and ended up with this cream coloured straw, which is probably my best hat, and this new-to-me vintage dress, which coordinated nicely with the cream tones.
This dress is the one I picked up last fall from the thrift store. It is a true vintage piece, but it desperately needed some work before it was wearable. It is made out of some kind of synthetic material (which creases terribly, I discovered!), some of the dye has faded in places, the bow on the front was rather limp, there were rips under the arms that had been mended very poorly, and the hem was about two inches too short. I was able to bring the side seams in about 1.5″ on each side, to fix the holes, as well as fitting the bodice better, I reshaped the bow, and also let out the hem. I believe that the dress had been hemmed by the previous owner, as the hem was hand sewn- but with three different colours of thread! 🙂 It is too bad that, whoever she was, she trimmed her hem, as I wish that there had been one more inch to let down. It turned out rather nicely though, despite not having that extra inch in length.
After I had let down the hem and altered the dress, I realized that what the dress really needed was a petticoat, in order for it to hang right- as well as giving that nice “New Look” silhouette. I didn’t have a petticoat that worked with the dress, though, as mine was much too full to wear with it, so two days before Easter Sunday, I got the crazy idea to start “Operation: Save The Petticoat”. I managed to alter my existing one – in the process sewing 17 yards of netting into submission – and finished it just in time. (ps. I will have a post in the future about how I altered the petticoat.)
It was rather fun to wear such a recognizably vintage outfit like this on Sunday- with the hat, shoes, purse, gloves and full skirt. I don’t usually go all out like this, and instead wear more “vintage inspired” outfits on a day to day basis. It was kind of nice to break that mold and do something new- or rather – should I say “old”? 😉
Did you get snow for Easter this year? Do you like to wear an “Easter Bonnet”? And do you like to dress in a more recognizable “vintage” styles, or do you dress in a vintage/modern hybrid – or do you even dress in vintage at all?
“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ Then they remembered his words.”
Luke 24: 1-8.
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
Happy Easter, dear Readers. ❤ I will be taking a break this week from posting, instead focusing on celebrating this season with family and friends, but I’ll be back next week. May you each have a wonderful Easter holiday, as we celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
Those of you who have been following this blog for a while, will already have figured out by now just how much I love fair trade. Really, I wish that there didn’t even have to be a term such as “fair trade” as the very wording implies that some people are not being paid fairly. Sadly, this is a reality for many people around the world, but it is so encouraging to see just how many fair trade groups there are all around the world who are ensuring people are being paid fairly for their work and helping them to escape the cycle of poverty that they live in.
I always love finding new fair trade groups. My go-to here in Canada is Ten Thousand Villages, as they offer a great variety of wares (mostly jewellery, scarves, housewares, etc), they have travelling fairs which come through all the small towns, and if I buy online I don’t have to worry about import/duties. I always love finding items that are both fun and unique (this is why I also love thrifting!), so if those fun and unique pieces are also fair trade, well, that’s just the icing on the cake.
Just this last week I learned about a new (to me) group called Fair Trade Friday. At my church’s final Ladies Bible Study, one of the ladies in the group surprised us all with a gift from Fair Trade Friday. Fair Trade Friday is a monthly subscription box based out of the USA, where each month you receive three to four handcrafted items such as jewellery, housewares, fashion accessories etc. which have been made by women all around the world.
It is a program which is run by Mercy House Global. Their aim is to help empower women who are living in impoverished conditions, struggling single mothers, and women who have escaped the sex trade (or other slavery and abuses) by helping them to obtain meaningful employment. They work with various fair-trade artisan groups around the world, who are dedicated to providing assistance to these women, not through charity and hand-outs, but rather by helping these women out of their situations, teaching them skills and providing employment for them to make a living wage and support themselves.
In each box, there is also information about the women who have made the items, which countries the items came from, and how many jobs were provided that month because of the box. Some of the items are signed, or have a tag including information about the woman who made the item, which is such a lovely personal connection. Additionally, some of the artisans’ websites also have information about their teams, and give background information to the women who are making the items.
You can buy individual boxes, or sign up for a monthly subscription, which you can cancel at any time. They also have a “Bracelet of the Month” and “Earrings of the Month” offer, and they also sell individual items in their shop. And the best part is that 100% of the money from the purchases goes towards the workers.
I think that the unique part of subscribing to Fair Trade Friday is not only do you receive a fun surprise package in the mail, but you can also consider it to be a donation to help their ministry. And, if you decide that you don’t want to keep the items for yourself you can always give them to others, just as the lady in our group did. She was originally going to choose an item for each of us, but then decided to instead let us each choose our own item. Here is what we (my Mom, my sister and I) chose from the box!
I, amusingly enough, picked out the exact item that she was going to give me! I guess she knows me well 🙂 I chose this hand dyed cotton Batik and leather jewellery roll by Batik Boutique. This artisan group is based in Malaysia and employs over 50 people. The women who work for the Batik Boutique set their own wages and hours which gives them the flexibility to be able to support their families monetarily, while still being able to care for them. The income they earn making these items is helping their families to escape poverty. They offer a small selection of Batik items such as other jewellery rolls in different patterns (this one is not available anymore), place mats, scarves, and various bags.
I am so excited to use this jewellery roll the next time I travel, as the last time I threw all my jewellery into a zippered pouch and ended up with a bent earring and a lot of tangled necklaces 🙁 This will be much nicer for organizing, and it’s just really pretty too!
The gift that my Mom chose is this beaded necklace from Kenya. It is made of gold beads interspersed with lacquered rolled paper beads and was made by a lady named Rose, who works for a group called Have Hope. This group started up with help from Mercy House Global and consists of housewives who had no income because their husbands were unemployed. Originally the women were meeting for a Bible Study, but with the help of Mercy House Global they were also able to start making jewellery for Fair Trade Friday. The women now have a steady source of income, are able to feed their children, are moving out of the slums, and are even starting their own businesses. I don’t believe that this group has their own website, as I couldn’t find any, but they do sell through the Fair Trade Friday shop and the subscription boxes.
My sister chose two items (as there were some extra gifts left over at the end). The first is this beautiful leather journal with recycled cotton pages made in northern India by the talented workers of Village Artisan. Village Artisan has been around for sixteen years now, and provides fair employment for over 100 artisans as well as being an eco-friendly company. They sell other eco paper products, recycled sari scarves and bags, jewellery and other items. I am a stationery hoarder, so I am eyeing up all those beautiful card sets 🙂 Also, a bonus for me and my fellow Canadians is that orders over $50 USD receive free shipping to Canada!
This bead and pottery necklace is from Haiti by the group called Papillon Marketplace. Papillon Marketplace trains women who have had no education in order to give them marketable and useful skills. They use as many local products as possible to benefit the Haitian economy and pay their workers a living wage which is three times higher than the country’s minimum wage. They make pottery, tote bags, jewellery and t-shirts.
It is so exciting to see these beautiful handmade items, but also to know the story behind them- who made them, where they came from and how these women’s lives have been changed because of it. One thing that really stood out to me, too, is how so many of the companies’ prices are not much higher than, or are equal to, the prices you would see for similar items at a retailer. I often have a misconception that because items are fair trade they are going to be a lot more expensive, but really most of them have not much for markup and the majority of the money is going directly to the workers themselves.
I looked into buying a subscription box for myself, but because the program is out of the USA, with shipping, dollar exchange and duties, sadly it ended up being too expensive for me per month. I also wondered, because I do dress in a very defined vintage style, if many of the pieces would end up not fitting with my “look”. (With just my luck, the subscription box would include a t-shirt, coffee, a fabric headband and scented soap. Hint- none of these items are things that would work for me!)
However, I did look at some of the sites of the artisan groups who sell to Fair Trade Friday. The majority of these companies sell jewellery, scarves, pouches and bags and other small items like that. They sell lots of things which I think would make great gifts, even if you don’t need them for yourself.
The company JOYN in India, sells both leather and vegan leather and canvas purses and bags. They have a really lovely brown satchel, which is kind of a modern take on the classic 40’s style bag.
The group Purpose Jewelry sells jewellery and they have a collection of simple and graphic pendants and chains. Their main focus is on providing employment opportunities for young women who have been rescued from sex trafficking. (hence their name “Purpose Jewelry”)
Vi Bella has centres in Haiti, Mexico, the USA, and also partners with workers in India and Ecuador to create jewellery. They have some more “global” pieces of jewellery made out of products like horn and clay, as well as more delicate pieces made of metal and polished stones.
Have you ever heard of Fair Trade Friday? Have you ever purchased a subscription box of any kind? What are your favourite fair trade companies to buy from?
This may not look like it to some of you who are living in significantly balmier climes, but Spring is in the air! The pussy willows are out and the tulips and crocuses, and even our peonies are starting to poke their brave little heads up out of the dirt. The day we took these photos didn’t really feel like spring; in truth it did feel more like a crisp fall day, because it was overcast and rather chilly, and everything is still brown, but nevertheless I know that it is indeed spring. And that knowledge is indeed cheerful, after the many months of winter! I love my winter clothes, but I am more than ready to ditch the tights and the wool and the scarves and the many layers.
I think we might be wearing some of the warmer pieces and layers for a while yet, but I have been attempting to lighten up my colour palette a bit the past couple of weeks. This outfit I wore last week looks a bit more fall inspired than spring inspired to me, now that I look at, though. Maybe it is because of the mustard yellow, which is a bit more of an earthy colour. Oh well! I felt a lot more seasonally appropriate than I have felt for a long while. Changing seasons can be a rather awkward time for ones wardrobe. . .
This week I am planning to rotate my wardrobe to more seasonally appropriate attire. Mainly that means just putting my thick wool skirts away, and moving my winter coats to the extra closet and switching out my winter hats for my straw hats. It is so nice to switch things up and revive for the season. Because even if it doesn’t quite look and feel like it, Spring is definitely here!
Do you switch out your wardrobe seasonally? How do you transition for the seasons in your dress?