lifestyle

What’s In My Bag?

What's In My Bag, the artyologist

For the majority of history, women have not carried purses or handbags wherever they have gone. In fact it’s only been the last hundred years or so, that women have done so and yet, for many of us, we can’t imagine leaving the house without our purse. I’m always curious as to what different people consider to be the “essentials”. I personally don’t like carrying too much around with me, as it is too heavy and cumbersome, but if I don’t bring some things with me, I always end up needing them. (Like bandages. Always bandages. . .)

This little purse I bought last year in England is small, yet mighty. It doesn’t look like it would be able to hold much, but it is actually like Mary Poppins’ bag. 😉 So here is what’s in my bag.

what's in my bag, toiletries, the artyologist

  1. I find it hard to apply lipstick without a mirror as I always end up getting it crooked, so I like to carry around a neutral/tawny shade. I like it as it is light enough in colour to apply easily without being too obvious if I get it crooked, but it dresses up my look just a bit. 🙂
  2. In a dry climate (hello, Alberta!) lotion is an absolute must! I always just grab some random lotion samples from hotels whenever I stay at one.
  3. I got this cute little pill box at a vintage sale, and it is a pretty way to hold some painkillers.
  4. Nail clippers, because NOTHING is worse than getting a snagged nail when you don’t have clippers with you.
  5. I like to keep all these loose little items in a bag (and even better if it is a sparkly beaded fair trade bag), so they don’t get lost in the depths of my purse. Also, I switch purses with each outfit, and it is so much easier to just grab the bag and toss it into my new purse, rather than trying to rummage around and find each individual item.whats in my bag, mirror and lipbalm, the artyologist
  6. I got this lipstick case many years ago from my aunt and I love it. I don’t carry lipstick in it, but rather my lip balm, since I started wearing it long before I wore lipstick. 😉 Also, it makes finding my lip balm easier. Because again, Alberta is dry. And lip balm is a necessary part of life.
  7. A little compact mirror. Because apparently I need to see what I look like at all times. 😉whats in my bag, mending kit and notepad, the artyologist
  8. A little notebook made out of a greeting card with my initial on it, and a pen. Because even though my phone is great, sometimes you just need to write things down.
  9. A cute little vintage mending kit. Yes, I have definitely used this before to save the day! And the scissors are invaluable.whats in my bag, the artyologist
  10. Not pictured, because I found it afterwards, is a bandage. Because I am prone to getting inexplicable cuts and wounds, and always seem to need one. . .
  11. Also not pictured, because it is ugly and broken, is my phone.

What essentials do you carry with you in your bag? Do you switch purses with each outfit, or do you have one purse that you always use? And have you ever been out and about and wished you had remembered to bring something with you?

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

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist

‘Tis the season to . . . organize! I don’t know what it is about a new year, but I just get the itch to organize and declutter and get rid of everything. I’ve never really bothered with “Spring Cleaning”, but New Year’s cleaning? Oh yes! Maybe it’s because we are pulling all the Christmas decorations down already, and if you are going to the effort of cleaning up after the holidays, it isn’t that far of a stretch to start cleaning up other areas too. I was a bit late this year to get to my regular organizing habits, as I was traveling the first week of the New Year, but last week I was able to finally get around to doing some much neglected organizing.

I was originally going to do a wardrobe declutter, but as I went through my entire closet and found only two sweaters that I no longer needed, I thought that would not be a very exciting blog post! Thus, I turned my attention to my jewellery collection. One of my “style resolutions” this year, is to wear all of the things that I own, and never seem to get around to wearing. One of the major things on that list is my jewellery collection. I have necklaces and bracelets given to me for Christmas last year (as in 2015), that I have never worn. 🙁 This is obviously ridiculous, and I decided that I needed to do something about that. One of the main reasons why I don’t wear much of my jewellery is because it was such a mess. If I can’t see things at a glance, I forget that I have them when I go to choose accessories, and I always end up grabbing the same old things over and over again. Am I lazy when it comes to getting dressed? Yes. Yes I am.

Thus, the first step to start wearing more of my pieces, was to do some jewellery organizing in order to make it easier to see what I have. I also remembered to take pictures, so you can see what I unearthed along the way. . .

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, The Artyologist, Before

About 10 years ago, I made this jewelry organizer with an old picture frame, some cotton fabric and a glue gun. Over the years it has proved invaluable as an organizing solution for my ever growing collection of jewellery. Back when I first made it, I sewed 3 pretty buttons across the top (to hold 3 necklaces) and pinned a few brooches along the sides. Well, since then, my jewellery collection hoard has more than doubled in size and this organizer has gotten quite unorganized. What a mess. (This is not all of what I have. I also have two small jewellery boxes for pieces that cannot hang on this frame, and one large one for all of the sparkly special occasion jewellery I don’t wear very often.) As you can see, there are so many items overlapping each other, and all jumbled together that it was nearly impossible to take them off and wear them, let alone find them in the first place!

The first step was to take all of the items off of the board, and then sort through each piece to evaluate whether it needed to go back onto the frame, or whether it was time to pass it on, fix it or store it somewhere else. I decided that this frame is where I want to put my “everyday” jewellery, and the special occasion items can be stored elsewhere.

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist, favourite earrings

For some, these would classify as “special occasion” earrings, but I love to wear these sparkly earrings everyday. I’ve only owned them for a little over a year, but they have already proven to be invaluable accessories. I wear them all the time, as they give a nice bit of bling to an outfit. Thus, they were all given permission to go back on the frame.

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist, brooches

My collection of brooches has grown quite a bit lately. I love brooches, but seldom wear them as I am often afraid of them putting holes in my clothes. (I’ve had blouses ruined before from brooches). However, recently I have started wearing them more on my berets, as well as pinning them to my wool coats, so they are definitely getting more wear. I like all of these- some of them are gifts, like the artist’s palette, which was given to me by Jessica. Some, like the goose, I’ve had since I was a child. Others, like the pink basket, are passed down from my Great Grandma. The buckle, I would like to try wearing as a scarf slide, and the stick pins, I would like to try as hat pins once my hair gets a bit longer. Thus, I like each of these pieces and am willing to give them a place on my frame.

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist, pendants

One of my favourite things to wear, are pendants on long chains, and I have a lot of them. However, I was not wearing many of these, mainly because the chains were all jumbled on the frame, so I always grabbed whichever one was on the top. Also, some of the pendants didn’t have proper loops, so it was difficult to put them on the chains and I always passed them by. I have now added proper loops to all of the pendants, and have given each chain and pendant their own place on the frame. This way all I have to do is grab and go.

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist, statement earrings

These are my “statement” earrings. I used to wear big earrings 90% of the time, but for some reason I have started to gravitate away from them. I never reach for these more “earthy” pieces, even though I do still really like them. I have placed them on the frame, and have made a note to try to reach for these pieces first, when planning an outfit. Hopefully I will get more wear out of the them now, but if I find, after a while, that I don’t wear them anymore, I will pass them on. It’s OK to change your style over time.

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist, jewellery to pack away

These are all pieces that were on the frame, but really didn’t need to have such a prominent place. I only wear the Christmas pieces . . . well at Christmas! So, they don’t need to be on display year round. The necklaces and earrings I’ve had since I was probably 10, and I never wear them anymore. However, they hold memories, so I want to keep them. The lion pin I bought at a theatre production of “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe”. It is more of a souvenir than an accessory. So, all of these pieces are going to go into my little jewellery box, where they will be safe, but not taking up valuable display space. And, come next Christmas, I’ll know where to find them. 🙂

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist, pieces to fix

These are all pieces that I don’t wear, because they are broken. Leaving them in my room is obviously not the right place for them to be, as some of them have been broken forever, and I always forget to fix them. The earrings needed cleaning. The ring needed to be glued back together. The gold chain needed to be re-looped as it hung crookedly. The butterfly’s antenna needed to be straightened etc. I took all of the pieces and have since fixed them, (or am going to bring them to the jeweller’s for repair) and I am now able to wear them again. Fancy that!

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist, pieces to get rid of

And here are the jewellery pieces, and other interesting things I found, that are not going back onto the display. A random blue flower, (I have no idea why this was on there) some coins and a key. These are not jewellery, and do not need to be on display here. The pink flower and feathers are hair accessories, so they can go elsewhere. The owl is adorable, but not a colour scheme I ever wear, so I gave him to my sister (who loves owls). An earring that has no pair (and makes me cry every time I see it, as those were my favourite earrings!) The rest of the pieces are just not my style anymore, so I also passed them on.

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist, After

After sorting through and deciding which pieces were keepers and which I was giving away, I put each of the items back on the frame (or into the other assorted jewellery boxes). I have now organized the jewellery by type (all the brooches together, chains together, earrings etc.) Each piece has it’s own place, and hopefully now will not turn into a messy disaster within the week!

I am so much happier with how this looks, and how neat and tidy it is. Already I have been purposefully grabbing pieces to wear for my “style resolution”, and I think that I am going to be much better this year about wearing the things I have. Being able to see the majority of my jewellery at a glance is so invaluable to my dressing routine. Now I can be as lazy as I want to with choosing accessories, because it is all right there at my fingertips 😉

So, have you made any “style resolutions” for 2017? How do you store your jewellery, and what are your jewellery organizing tips? Do you find yourself wearing the same old pieces all the time, or are you pretty good at branching out and wearing everything you have?

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist, jewellery frame

Thrifting Treasures

grey-dress-feature, thrifting treasures, the artyologist

Old things are just prettier. Don’t you agree? OK, I guess not all old things, as I have seen my fair share of terrible old things too, but as a general rule, old things are just prettier. The packaging is more thoughtful, the details are a bit more unique and the fact that they have lasted this long already, and have a story of their own, makes them just a bit more special.

I used to hate thrifting, because you could never find what you were looking for. But then, about 5 years ago I realized- that’s exactly the fun of thrifting. You never know what you are going to find and it’s like a treasure hunt. Now, I love to go to the local store about once a week, if I can. My local thrift store is a community store staffed by all volunteers (most of whom are older ladies) and all of the money they make goes directly back into the community (by giving the proceeds to the Boy Scouts, Cadets and Santa’s Anonymous etc.) I love to shop there because they get a ton of stuff donated, there are always new things out on the floor, and their main concern is really in getting it out the door, so they keep the prices very low, and every once in a while, when they have too much stock, they have a half price sale. The funny thing about thrift shopping is that I get into a bit of unrealistic bubble about prices, and then I catch myself saying “$3.00 for this vintage wool skirt? I don’t know, I wish I could have gotten it for $1.50 when it was the half price sale.” Oh right. . . $3.00 is a pretty amazing deal.

The past few weeks have been pretty good, and I have found quite a few thrifting treasures, so I thought that I would share them with you.

vintage grey dress, thrifting treasures, the artyologist

This piece has a bit of damage, where it looks like the dye has faded or discoloured, and some seams that need to be resewn. Since it is a larger size, it won’t be a problem to bring in the kimono sleeves a bit, though. It feels like a acetate fabric or something of the kind, and is rather lightweight, and has the prettiest metal rhinestone buttons and buckle on the front. It is about 2 inches too short for me, but it has a really wide hem, so I am going to let the hem down to amend that problem.

black-stars- vintage dress, thrifting treasures, the artyologist

black-stars-dress, thrifting, the artyologist

This dress has a lot of damage, and is going to require quite a bit of help, but the fabric was just so pretty, and it has flipped up sleeve cuffs . . . it was calling to me! It is some kind of artificial rayon/taffeta fabric (it is drapey like a rayon, but heavy like a taffeta). There are areas of the fabric that are shredded, like it got pulled apart, so I am going to see if I can fix them by patching from the underside. So, needs a bit of work before I can wear it.

tag-closeup, wool dress, the artyologist

wool dress vintage, thrifting, the artyologist

This one is too small for me in the hips 🙁 It fits perfectly in the top though, and since there is a hole in the skirt, I am going to transform this into a shirt. I know some people feel that vintage shouldn’t be altered, but since this piece is damaged as it is, I am OK with changing it; especially as I know enough about sewing to not destroy it! By refashioning this piece into a shirt, it will have a second life, and I will finally have a winter appropriate top to wear with my favourite pleated wool skirt! I like the fact that is brown, black and grey too, so it will coordinate with a lot of things I have in my wardrobe.

thread-spools, thrifting treasures, the artyologist

pile-of-spools, thrifting treasures, the artyologist

Next are the bags of sewing notions! I found two ziploc bags full of wooden spools of thread and other assorted vintage sewing notions. I love wooden spools- it’s so sad that spools are plastic now, don’t you think? There were thirty eight spools, and I love the variety of colours, and the labels too.

thread-spools-grid, the artyologist

These are some of my favourites. Top L-R: 1. I love the carved end of this spool. 2. This colour of green is so perfect. 3. I just liked this label. Middle L-R: 1.Another pretty blue. 2. This is the label for the blue spool. I’ve never heard of “The Canadian Spool Cotton Co.” 3. This deep royal/navy blue thread is so shiny and smooth. Bottom L-R: 1.Another carved spool and this time for silk thread. 2.This is the silk thread, a grey/mauve colour, and it is so pretty and . . . well. . . silky 😉 3. And the last one: there are two unopened spools of lilac. I guess I’m not the only one who buys thread for a project, and then never gets around to using it 🙂

notions, ricrac and hem tape, the artyologist

vintage needle-book, thrifting finds, the artyologist

needlebook-zippers, thrifting treasures, the artyologist

vintage sewing pamphlet, thrifting treasures, the artyologist

The elastic thread that accompanied this paper was long past useable, but this little instruction booklet has some great illustrations, don’t you think? They all look rather 1950’s in style to me, but the logo says “known over 50 years for Quality, Style, Value” and as the company started in the 1920’s, I guess it would date this paper as the 1970’s. Maybe the illustrations weren’t current, but rather a throwback to earlier times, or maybe they just never updated their illustration style?

books, thrifted treasures, the artyologist

Two lovely vintage books. They didn’t have a price on them, so the lady gave them to me for $0.25 each! #thriftscore

vintage xmas ornaments, thrifting treasures, the artyologist

When you doubt whether your outfit is really festive enough, just add this corsage. Instant Christmas kitsch! How could I resist it? Also, these ornaments were just in a ziploc bag, and tossed into a bin. I don’t think they realized that they are glass! One was broken (fortunately it was a modern and ugly one) but all these vintage ones were intact, albeit a little scratched, but that’s OK. 🙂

bonus-ornament, the artyologist

And, one “extra special” bonus treasure that was also included in the same ziploc bag, was this Limited Edition beauty from 1986. This is literally a glass ornament, with plastic wrapped around it. Yes, that nativity picture is a piece of shrink wrap. Why was this a Limited Edition (with capital letters)? And the better question to ask ourselves is, why did someone buy it in the first place?

Have you found any great treasures lately? (I’d love to hear about them!) Do you like thrifting items if they need to be fixed or altered, or do you stick with only things that are good “as is”? And, what are your feelings on refashioning damaged vintage items?