My Grandma and my Mom are amazing gardeners. I am not a gardener. I don’t enjoy digging in the dirt and planting, and watering and weeding and all of the assorted chores that a garden entails. However, I do absolutely love the flowers that result. I also enjoy being in the garden, and I especially love to take pictures of the flowers that grow. (As you can probably have guessed by now, considering the number of floral themed photos that appear on this blog!) This means that, even though I don’t personally enjoy gardening, I will always have flowers, as houses and yards without them, are so cheerless.
I am constantly amazed by the rainbow of colours in nature, the enormous variety of species, the unique details of the petals. . . I like taking photos of flowers as they are so easygoing: they don’t move out of frame (unless it’s windy I guess), they sit nicely while I compose my shot, and I don’t have to worry about them not smiling nicely 🙂
Both my Grandma’s backyard, and my Mom’s garden are full of such vibrant flowers – so, today’s garden is brought to you in technicolor!
Magenta Purple Daisy
Orange Lily & Hybrid purple and yellow Lupin. I say “hybrid” because the first year, they were purple and the next year they grew up, both purple and yellow combined.
I have no clue what variety this rose of my Grandma’s is, but it is absolutely stunning. The entire shrub is just covered in hundreds of bright pink blossoms, that fade to a delicious pale pink. The first picture in this post, is also from the same rosebush.
Soft Blue Cornflower
Such vibrant colours in this Blanketflower
Cornflower & Sweet Williams
Turk’s Cap Yellow Lily. It’s called ‘Turk’s cap” because the lilies hang downwards instead of up.
Allium, or Ornamental Onion. One of my favourites as they are a large, 4″ balls of spiky flowers!
*All technical and horticultural information in this post, brought to you by my mom. I did not remember what all of these flowers were and so I asked her for the names of them 🙂
On this most momentous Canadian holiday, I am marking the day by posting. . . nothing to do with Canada. Whoops! Oh well, I’ll be celebrating the day in some patriotic way I suppose (though I will NOT be dressed in Red and White- as the colour red makes me look ill!) Last week I realized that exactly one year ago, I was in England on summer holidays with my family. And, I actually spent Canada Day last year in Stratford-Upon-Avon, doing nothing patriotic either. As much as I love Canada, I guess I am just not a patriotic celebration kind of person.
Anyways, time does really seem to fly by, as it really doesn’t seem like a year ago, and yet the calendar says so . . . Sigh, at least I have these pictures to remember the trip by.
I was looking through all the pictures again, and I thought- why not share some of them here on the blog? I didn’t before, because I wasn’t blogging last year! I have these and tons of other photographs that I’ve never shared or done anything with, so I’ve decided that I’m going to start a little column here called “photographic memory” where I’ll periodically share old photographs of mine. (get it. . . photographic memory? hahaha. . . ) They might not necessarily be related to anything, but it’ll be nice to do something with them 🙂
So today, in anniversary of that trip one year ago- I present to you “The Doors of England”. Obviously this is not an exhaustive directory, it’s more like “The Doors of Stow-on-the-Wold”, the village where we stayed for 10 days in a little cottage. It was a lovely area, in the Cotswold region of England, and the loveliest thing about it is that because it is an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” (so classified by the British government) it attracts a lot of tourists, and so everything in the area is quite historic and photogenic 🙂 The majority of the buildings are made of “Cotswold limestone” and even the new construction is built to suit the same style. Pretty much everywhere you look there is another beautiful photo opportunity! As a lover of history, I absolutely adored Stow, and the whole Cheltenham area, and I would definitely recommend it to everyone. Coming from western Canada, where we are lucky to find a building that is 100 years old and not fallen to the ground, it was so fantastic to see all of these ancient buildings that are still in use, and still being lived in. The front doors were such a fabulous part of the town as each one was so different and unique.
Can you imagine walking out your front door each day if it looked like these?
I loved the one above, which was the front door to the cottage across the road from where we stayed. It reminded me of a face, and it was so short that the man who lived there had to stoop to walk through it! I also love the ones covered in vines, but really I couldn’t choose . . .
So continuing on the theme of Tuesday’s post, I’ve been thinking lately about the term “dress up”.
A few weeks ago, someone (and not in a negative way at all- but in a simply curious way) asked me whether I was going somewhere special that day, because I was all “dressed up”. When I had gotten dressed that morning I had chosen a rather casual outfit for the day, since I knew it would be spent mostly at home. I was wearing a t-shirt, a cotton pleated skirt, some sparkly earrings, and flat shoes. This was not an outfit I had taken a great amount of effort on: I had simply grabbed the most comfortable garments I had to wear. However, in the eyes of many people (at least where I live) since I wasn’t wearing jeans and a t-shirt I had to be going somewhere special, and the question threw me off a bit, since I have gotten so used to dressing this way everyday.
The question started me thinking about how my own personal perception of the phrase “dressing up” has changed so much in the past few years, since I started wearing vintage, and how I now view clothing.
When I was in Grade 1, my mom made me a fuchsia satin dress for my birthday, It had a sweetheart neckline, puffed sleeves and a full gathered skirt. Quite simply, it was an amazing dress, and a dream come true for a 6 year old. I wore it that day to school, and many other occasions as well. I’m sure that people smiled at the sight of a little girl at recess, or grocery shopping in a satin pink dress, but I was completely oblivious, and to me it was completely normal. (Really who wouldn’t want to wear a fuchsia satin dress if they had one?) I was lucky that, growing up, my mom sewed for me, as my closet was never lacking in the wonderful clothes she made for me.
Somewhere along the way though, I guess I decided that dresses just got in the way and I entered a season in my life that lasted many years. Jeans and t-shirts were the everyday staples of my wardrobe up until my late teens. I did, however, still love the fashions of yesteryear, and Victorian and Regency fashions were my favourite eras. I loved historical fashion, but I never integrated those styles into my everyday wardrobe so I resigned myself to wearing casual, “modern” styles, and the styles of yesteryear were relegated to “costumes” only.
And then, a few years ago, I discovered Vintage. I’m not really sure how I found it; probably link hopping on sewing blogs until I found a vintage sewing blog, which then led me to the online vintage community.
Finally I felt like I had come home. I had dabbled a bit with vintage sewing before for costumes (as many of the pattern companies were reissuing their vintage patterns) but I had never met anyone who wore those clothes as daily wear. Suddenly I was faced with the idea of wearing those styles. . . everyday. It had never occurred to me that that was possible, but with the discovery of vintage blogs, suddenly a whole world opened to me. It didn’t matter that I didn’t personally know anyone who dressed like that- I knew that there were people out there in the world who did- and I could join them!!
So I embraced vintage. I didn’t start out with gloves and hats and petticoats the first day- it was a gradual shift to where I am at in my style today- where almost every item is, either true vintage, or vintage inspired reproduction, and vintage appropriate (to use a term coined by Jessica).
When I embraced vintage dressing, my outlook on clothing changed as well. Or maybe it just reverted to what I thought when I was six: Clothes are fun, and are a great expression of who you are.
The main thing that I have discovered about dressing in an alternative style (which I definitely think Vintage is) is that it is not dictated by trends the way modern fashion is. It is in fact outside of the trends. (Although you definitely see more “popular” vintage styles- rockabilly, 50’s etc) If you want to wear trousers that is great. If you want to wear dresses that is great too. Wear a pink satin dress to school if you feel like it.
Vintage is as varied as the people who lived before us.
One day you can be Dior’s New Look of the 50’s, the next Rosie the Riveter of the 40’s, and the next a Bright Young Thing of the 20’s. Or maybe you want to be all three at once. Who’s to stop you? You can have absolute freedom to express and create who you want to be. Fashion can reveal so much about the person you are and what you want to portray to the world. And I think that in a society that has become increasingly and extremely casual, vintage lovers stand out; not only for wearing a very different style, but also for the fact that we dress up.
By the term “dress up”, I don’t mean that we are literally wearing dresses, or even wearing dressy fabrics, every day, but that we are putting effort into our fashion choices, and curating a particular “look”. In a society where sometimes people seem to be looking for any excuse to dress down, rather than dress up, I think it is so great that an entire subculture of people has decided to rebel in our own little way, by specifically choosing to be different. We are putting effort into our fashion choices: it could be vintage denim or a velvet cocktail dress- but there is one thing in common: intentionally choosing to express a different and unique style.
So really. I said that dressing up doesn’t refer to costumes, but don’t you think “dressing up” really does after all? I say, Everyday is Dress Up Day- who do you want to be today?
Ahh. . . this time of year. The flowering trees, tulips, lilacs. The air filled with the sweet floral scents and beauty wherever you look. One day the earth is sepia toned; tired with the dead of winter. Then, over the course of a few days, the trees start to get fuzzy cattails, and then leaves slowly uncurl. The plant shoots poke their heads out of the ground and then suddenly before you quite realize it, you look outside and the world is green and vibrant and fresh and alive! I suppose that spring flowers are so beautiful, simply because they are so welcomed after winter. Those elegant flowering plum trees, the sweet scented lilac bushes, the graceful tulips, the exotically shaped irises, the cheerful johnny-jump-ups and of course everywhere the mild hum of the busy bees as they go about their work once more. Today, I am so happy that Spring is here once more!