A Fashion Moment with Creative Hands: Evening Wear

lady wearing a white crocheted long dress with a square motif

Because Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, I thought today would be the perfect time to share some of the evening wear and wedding looks from the Creative Hands book series from the 1960’s – 1970’s. (Also published under the name “Golden Hands”) There are a lot of eras in the past that had elegant evening wear…the 1970’s wasn’t one of them, unfortunately. However, there is still much inspiration to be had!

I have published some more images from the Creative Hands series here, here and here.

Starting off with the wedding looks, I don’t think the above image is supposed to be a wedding look, but it has that iconic space boho look the late 60’s and early 70’s was famous for.

wedding long coat with a hood from the Creative Hands series

Here is a wedding look featuring a floor length coat with a hood and the front buttons all the way down. I love this piece!

vintage 1970's evening dress with batwing sleeves and a regency styled wedding dress

Here is another wedding dress, on the right. I wish that the fabric they had chosen was softer so the gathers didn’t pouf out like that, but it’s a pretty Regency style which is also very iconic for the era.

two 1970's fashion illustrations of a wedding dress and a stole

Here’s the final wedding look, and a knitted stole. I love the fashion illustrations in these books; these two are so detailed.

silver crocheted sleeveless dress with a cowl hood from the Creative Hands book

Now this is an interesting evening dress in silver yarn (with matching silver platform shoes too). The cowl hood is crocheted separately and added afterwards, it says.

crocheted lacy evening top with a silver belt

They were really into the silver yarn/thread, as this lacy top demonstrates. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be an evening look, or not, but because it’s silver I thought I’d include it!

angora knitted sleeveless top and a fringed shawl

Here is the last silver piece; an angora sleeveless top. Definitely not my favourite look. That shawl would be very pretty if worked in a natural fibre and not synthetic, though.

red evening skirts in patterned fabrics and patchwork

I love the floral skirt on the left. There was definitely a thing for patchwork in the 70’s, and it’s actually a great way to use up textile scraps. We should bring it back!

two green dresses with patchwork and embroidery

Another patchwork look- this time inset onto a plain background. And on the right an amazing embroidered dress. Both dresses are in the popular A-Line style.

elegant fashion illustration form Creative Hands book of a dress with bishop sleeves and a lace collar

And to finish off, this beautiful fashion illustration of a dress with bishop sleeves and lace collar and cuffs. Made of a very soft and lightweight cotton/silk blend, or a chiffon this would be so elegant! It’s definitely got that Gibson girl look of the Edwardian era.

Which look is your favourite? Would you wear any of these dresses? Do you like to dress up for holidays such as Valentine’s Day? 

A Vintage Cottage Inspired Bedroom Tour

a bouquet of dried baby's breath in an amber bottle in front of a gallery wall of frames and pictures

It has been few months since I moved into my new bedroom… but I’ve finally finished decorating it! I might change some things in the future, as I do like to redecorate occasionally, but for now it’s pretty much finished, and I love how it turned out. This room really feels like “me” in a way that I don’t think I’ve had since I was 8 and had a pink and purple room with Barbie wallpaper. I’ve had a lot of different bedrooms over the years, but somehow none of them ever felt just perfect…and this one does. The only thing that would make it better is if I had vintage wooden floors instead of vinyl (haha).

When I was planning to move into this room, I took some time thinking about what I wanted it to look and feel like, what colour I wanted it to be, and after moving in, to take my time deciding where to hang pictures etc.  I’m glad I did, because I love its eclectic vintage cottage inspired feeling. A few years ago I read something about defining your decorating style and I came up with “a fashion designer moves into her granny’s kitschy English cottage”. There usually isn’t much of a rhyme or reason to my decorating- I just decorate with things that I like. And the things that I like are usually fashion related, English cottage, antique, natural, a hit of 1970’s kitsch, and I always like to add in a least a few ugly or funny things to keep it from being too serious!

view of the room from the doorway facing the window

First, when you enter the room, you see the opposite wall with the window. Because this is a North facing room, I chose to paint the walls a warm, ivory white. The colour is “Acadia White” by Benjamin Moore. I got paint chips and debated getting a sample to test the colour first, but just decided to jump in headfirst with it, and it was a great choice. It has a slight undertone of ivory/yellow in it, but it’s not too saturated. In a South facing room I think it would definitely pick up those yellow tones, and perhaps lean a bit towards buttery yellow, but the cool light in this room tones it down to a perfect cream. I found in the past that crisp whites can turn grey in the shadows, so this was a perfect choice of colour and the room is always warm and bright even on cloudy days.

another angle of the gallery wall

If you turn to the left wall, you will see one of my favourite two things about this room: my gallery wall! I have been wanting a full gallery wall like this forever, and have been collecting frames and artwork for years. Now I was finally able to put them all together like this on one wall…and I love how it turned out. I didn’t start out planning for a gold, black and cream colour theme, but as I started gathering the artwork and frames together, I noticed the colour scheme emerging and decided to continue with it. I left some of my more colourful art pieces out of this arrangement and will hang them elsewhere.

framed botanical

To hang this gallery wall, I took a photo of each piece, and a photo of the wall, and then moved them around in Photoshop until it looked like a good arrangement. (Making sure there weren’t too many black frames or wooden frames beside each other etc.) Then I traced each frame onto wrapping paper I had saved from Christmas and taped the pieces onto the wall. Once I was sure of the placement, I measured where the nail needed to go, and then hammered it right through the paper. It worked like a charm! I didn’t have to mark up the walls at all, and every single frame was exactly where it needed to be without gaps or spaces. If you are planning on hanging a gallery wall, definitely do it with paper. It was my first time with that method and I am never going back.

detail of my artwork story of a dress in my gallery wall

There are definitely no secrets about what my hobbies and interests are in this room. Almost all of the artwork is fashion, floral or vintage themed! (Or portraits of people we have no clue who they are). My wall is a mix of postcards and greeting cards, calendar pages I saved, one of my own artworks, book pages, some photos of my family and friends, and some art pieces I’ve picked up along the way. (Two pieces that are, sort of, still available are the black framed diamond print of The Five Solas that I got online here. And I have a print that is similar to that “Story of A Dress”, of a dress, but without the text, available in my Society 6 Shop here. ) Many of the frames are second hand or thrifted, some are IKEA frames, and a few were picked up at Michael’s craft store or Walmart years ago.

vases and candle on top of a bookshelf

Also along this wall I placed a short bookshelf, which gives me a spot to put flowers and seasonal decor and other knick-knacks. I wallpapered the back of the shelf, but unfortunately the glue just didn’t want to stick, so you can see the seam. Maybe some day I’ll get around to redoing it.

small bookshelf with vintage books, baskets and boxes and shoes on it

As you saw in my closet tour, I keep shoes on the shelf, as well as clothing/shoe care items in the basket. Gloves and sunglasses are in the round box, stationery is in the shoebox, a couple of clutches are on display and then all of my vintage books are on the top shelf.

shelves with vintage books and boxes on them

gallery wall

I love lace curtains and I hung these with curtain rings to add some interest.

vintage lamp turned on and casting shadows across the wall

Turning to the right there is a small pathway as wide as the nightstand alongside the bed. I like to have my bed out from the wall, if possible; it’s so much nicer to make the bed when you can access both sides! On my nightstand is the ever present stack of books to be read.

lamp casting shadows on textured beadboard wallpaper

And here you can see my other favourite thing about this room: the bead board wallpaper. I turned on the lamp so you can see the shadows picking up the texture of the wall. Up close it doesn’t fool anyone, but from a distance it really does look like bead board. I love how it gives such a cottage look to the room, as well as being a subtle focal point.

beadboard feature wall in a cottage inspired bedroom

I was originally planning on hanging a row of three botanical prints above the bed, but after living with the room for a while, I realized that I liked having this wall left bare. It gives a bit of negative space, while not being completely boring. And this way I can have all the artwork on the opposite wall without overwhelming the room. (And I love being able to sit in bed and look at the artwork).

battenburg lace pillow shams

My bed is covered with my favourite Battenburg lace pillows and the quilt and pillowcases made from vintage sheets. I used to have a lot more decorative pillows on my bed, but I got tired of having to remove the mountain of them every night.

vintage wooden dresser with a mirror above it

To the other side of the bed is my vintage dresser. I inherited this piece from my parents. I didn’t ever officially inherit it, I just had it in my room for a long time, and so I kind of absorbed it into my belongings. It was originally my great-grandmother’s and she refinished it with Danish oil which gives it this lovely patina. And it has such a pretty mirror, doesn’t it?

view of the closet and dresser and chair

Continuing full circle in the room, we at last come to the least pretty part of the room (because there’s no way to hide my very plastic air purifier!) I’ve already shared a more thorough look at my closet in this post here, so I won’t share it again today. That chair is just there temporarily, because I have plans for another project to take it’s place…if all goes well I will be able to share that on the blog sometime in the future.

a hatstand and tray on top of the vintage dresser

Finally, here is the top of the dresser. A hat stand, featuring a seasonally appropriate hat, and a tray with perfume and jewelry on it. And, on the right side you can see the handle of my vintage mirror and brush. I don’t use the brush, but I do use the hand mirror all the time!

Well, there is my vintage, English cottage inspired bedroom! I’m so happy with how this room turned out, and I enjoy spending time in here. I’m going to be sharing another post about decorating either next week or the week after, so stay tuned for that.

How would you describe your decor style? What is your favourite thing about your home or bedroom? Have you ever moved into a “blank slate” and, if so, did you take your time or did you know right away how you wanted to decorate it?

baby's breath bouquet in front of a gallery wall

Social Saturday | January 15

gallery wall with a bunch of artwork hanging on it

Hello and happy Saturday, dear Reader. How was your week? Mine has felt a bit hectic, with a big project at work that I’m trying to finish up today. (Plus all the other things of daily life mixed in!) Earlier this week I took some new pieces to my display at the gallery and I remembered to snap a picture of what it looks like right now.

Some of the new illustrations are these three vintage dresses.

framed dress illustrations

I have also added this trio of dresses to my Society6 shop. They are available with or without words as greeting cards and I have prints too. I hope to do more of them, because vintage dress styles are just so fun to draw and paint!

Well, that’s all for this post and I hope you have a wonderful weekend however you spend it.

vintage style dress illustration

In the Dark Mid Winter, From my Fashion Scrapbook

Lady wearing a beautiful boucle wool coat standing in front of a stone bridge

I know that many people don’t like the cold and dark of winter, but I can’t bring myself to hate the season. As much as I sometimes find the cold and snow to be too much, I also can’t imagine living without four distinct seasons. Though perhaps I could do with a bit more daylight…

Each season has it’s own unique fashion needs, and winter is the one where all of the lovely outerwear can shine! Here’s a peak at some of favourite magazine tear sheets that I have saved in my fashion scrapbook, all featuring some gorgeous winter appropriate pieces!

lady wearing an embellished coat and a giant feathered hat

Both of these images above are from a Vogue magazine- I think they are both from the same 90’s one. I love the detail of the garments and the elegance of the photography.

ladies wearing dyed furs

There’s no better time to wear fur than in the winter! ladies wearing embellished and dyed fur coats

This is one of my favourite fashion ads, found in another Vogue magazine, for all the elegant yet still fun fur coats! I’m not sure I would call new furs a “responsible choice” as the ad claims, unless I knew for sure where they were coming from, but I definitely love the wearing of vintage furs. The leopard printed one below is gorgeous. I would love to find a good 1960’s leopard print fur coat someday….

ladies wearing fur coats in a field

Wool is another fibre perfect for cold weather and these pieces below are so interesting. That dress with an integrated cape is gorgeous!

ladies wearing wool capes and outerwear

lady wearing a camel wool jacket and matching skirt

Finally, some dramatic silhouettes for the winter months! I do love the look of black opaque tights paired with a simple skirt and blouse.

two ladies with dramatic silhouettes for winter wear

Well, that’s all for today. Which is your favourite? Do you like to collect magazine tearsheets?

A New Year & New Closet Organization

closet organization for the new year

While I’ve actually been living in my new bedroom for a couple of months now, I figured that the New Year was a good time to share how I have finally settled my new closet organization. I love to organize, but I also like to make my closets and storage areas “aesthetically pleasing”, so here is how I have done that in my new room, in case you are also thinking of conducting a closet refresh for the new year!

rows of wooden hangers with shirts hanging on them

The closet in my old room (here) was designed with shelves across most of the area, in order to hold sewing fabric and supplies, with a small rod on the side to hold the UFO’s (UnFinished Objects) and Projects-In-Progress. So, when I moved into the room, as a bedroom, I had to change the way I sorted things, because of the small rod area. Now I have moved into a new bedroom which has a standard closet with a full rod, though there are small shelves on the left side of the closet, so I again have had to change the way I organize my clothes.

stacks of cream coloured hatboxes

Starting with the top shelf, all of my out-of-season hats are stored in hatboxes. While I do love to display my hats, they can get dusty, so I have opted to only leave out a few hats for the season. These cream hatboxes are ones I recovered with a map printed wallpaper and I’ve got labels taped on, so I know which hats are inside without having to pull everything down.

large blue storage box, a white fabric bag and a metal cake carrier

I also have hats stored in this large blue box. The cloth bag holds my petticoat, which I don’t wear all that often, and it takes up less space in a bag than hanging.

rose metal cake carrier

And no, I don’t have cake stored in my closet (I wish!)- guess what’s under that cake carrier?

hat inside a cake carrier

Yep, another hat! It was my mom’s idea to keep a hat in there, since I didn’t have anywhere to store the carrier- and then that way I can enjoy looking at the cool vintage cake carrier!

stack of shoeboxes

On the far right of the top shelf, I have a tall stack of shoeboxes. I keep all of my neutral coloured shoeboxes (not the neon orange Miz Mooz ones!) to store my shoes in when they are out of season. Since I don’t need to access them regularly, the stack is all the way to ceiling! Closets with headers are annoying, so I always like to keep infrequently used items up there. I also have these boxes labeled with what is inside.

In front, I have a spray bottle of vodka. Despite the fact that my closet is starting to resemble a pantry, it’s not actually for sneaking a drink; it’s for spraying clothes in between washes. Spraying clothes with alcohol is an old theatre trick to keep costumes free of odours in between shows. I use it for delicate and dry clean items or for things that aren’t dirty, but for which I want to extend the time between washes.

wool and fur coats

Now moving down to the rod, on the right I have all of my fancy evening dresses under garment bags in the very back of the closet. Then in front of them I keep my dressy winter coats. I keep these coats in this closet because I like to select them alongside my outfits, whereas I keep my everyday winter coat in the front closet.

hanging scarves and belts

Next I have my scarves, organized in the iconic IKEA Komplement organizer. I didn’t have enough scarves to fill it, so I folded it in half. I don’t love having the scarves in my closet like this, since it makes browsing a bit more difficult, but I don’t have a better place to hang them, so it works for now. In front of the scarf organizer I have a hoop shaped hanger to hold my belts. Again, not the best spot, but it’s what I have for now.

hanging bottoms and tops

After the belts comes bottoms on wooden hangers with clips. I have organized my items by type and each type of garment has a different kind of hanger.

For my tops, I have these vintage wooden hangers I got off of Poshmark. They were originally from a fur storage vault in Toronto. Since I’ve kind of got a capsule wardrobe right now (from getting rid of so many clothes in 2020-2021) I’ve switched from using slim velvet hangers to using these. They definitely take up a lot more horizontal space, and I might not use them forever if I add to my wardrobe in the future, but right now I am quite enjoying seeing these lovely vintage hangers in the morning when I get dressed!

hanging knitwear

After the tops, come the knits. I KNOW you’re not supposed to hang sweaters and knitwear, but I really can’t be bothered to iron or steam creases out every time before wearing them… and so I keep my most commonly worn knits hung up. I use vintage satin padded hangers, which, again, do use a lot of horizontal space, but they are so pretty that it’s worth it! Knits that I don’t wear as often are stored on a shelf, but for these, I’d rather hang them up than be wrinkly.

extra hangers

And at the end of the clothing rod, I keep my extra few hangers from items that are in the laundry.

organized and pretty storage shelves in the closet

Now moving on to the shelves along the left, which hold a lot of my accessories and knitwear. I use the top shelf as a bit of display area; here’s where the aesthetics perhaps take precedence over the economical use of the space.

top display shelf in the closet

I don’t like having all of my jewelry on my dresser, so I store my special occasion pieces here in the closet, and everyday pieces on the dresser. I also like to keep a few hats out on display, so I’ve got one sitting here and one on my dresser. I also put this little miniature tea set here just for fun.

I have a couple purses leaning in the back, but I might replace them in the future with a picture. I have a small print of this piece by Marc Johns, and I’d like to put it in here once it’s framed, even if it’s something that only I will see, because it will bring a smile every time I look at it!

knits and berets on a shelf

The next shelf down also holds knits- the ones I don’t wear as often. I put in this wooden half shelf (which fits perfectly!) so I could double the amount of space and put my berets here too.

row of purses on a shelf

The next two shelves hold my purses and bags. My small vintage clutches and travel shoe bags etc. are stored inside the cream overnight bag and the large wicker bag.

row of purses and luggage on a shelf

And finally, on the floor at the bottom is a basket I use to hold my work clothes… the old ones I wear to refinish furniture or other messy tasks like that, but don’t need access to all the time.

vintage metal laundry hamper

To the right, under the shorter hanging garments, sits my vintage laundry hamper. I will always be indebted to my brother for this hamper, because I found it at the thrift store for $2….and their debit machine wasn’t working. I didn’t have any cash, so he lent me the money (forfeiting whatever he had found) so I could buy it! Since then I have seen people selling these for MUCH more- sometimes for up to $50, so I am so happy that I got it when I did. Oh, and yes, I always carry cash now, just in case!

jewelry oval frame organizer

Now moving out of the closet and to the left, on the wall beside my dresser I have my jewelry frame. I made this probably 14 years ago, and it has proven to be one of my most useful projects. I did a terrible job attaching the fabric with hot glue, but even so, after 14 years it’s still holding up! And it works so well to organize long necklaces, brooches and dangly earrings. I am a person that needs to see what I have or I will forget to wear it, so this works perfectly for me.

drawer full of fur collars

In my dresser I store my “unmentionables”, socks and tights in the top two drawers. And then in the bottom drawer…fur collars! A bit unconventional, but I decided to put them here to keep the dust off them… it works.

rows of shoes on a bookshelf

Lastly, to the right of the closet sits my bookshelf. I use the bottom two shelves to store shoes and boots; I keep my everyday winter boots in the front closet, but all the other shoes stay here. I keep them here so I can match them to my outfits easily, but also to keep them from getting battered in the communal closet! In the basket, are all of my shoe and clothing care items.

So that’s pretty much how I organize my closet! It always varies a bit from season to season, but I think this will be how it stays for a while. This is only my in-season clothing too, by the way. The rest of my summer clothes are stored in two plastic bins under the bed. I don’t like keeping everything in my closet year round because it overwhelms and clutters the space, and I think it is good to give my pieces a rest from hanging if they aren’t being regularly worn.

(Oh and, not pictured, I keep my fabric tote bag and everyday purse hanging on the back of my door, along with my bathrobe and shawl, for easy access.)

How do you set up your closet? Do you like to do a closet organization refresh in the New Year? Do you prefer to put an emphasis on the practicality or the aesthetics when you are organizing?

hat and jewelry box on display