Search Results for: me made may

Easy DIY Recovered Hatbox with Fabric or Wallpaper

stack of hatboxes with a straw hat sitting on top of them

When you collect hats, you soon discover you also need a way to store them. Back in the day, this used to be easy since most hats came in a hatbox. However, most of my hats, either vintage or new, have not come in a conveniently sized box. I used to display them by hanging them on the wall or placing them on hat stands, (I rotate my wardrobe for fall/winter and spring/summer, and only put out the current season) but they always got so dusty. I now only keep out a couple of my really wide brimmed hats that are too large to fit in boxes and keep all the rest in labelled boxes. (I use hanging chalkboard tags so I know at a glance what is inside)

About 10 years ago, round boxes were a very popular trend for storage boxes, and you could find them readily at stores such as Michaels and Home Sense, but at some point people realized that round boxes don’t make the best storage boxes for things other than hats! It’s too bad that I didn’t stock up at the time, because it’s almost impossible to find round boxes now.

black and white printed hatbox before re covering

Anyways, to get to the point of this post, every once in a while I do still come across a hatbox at the thrift store. They are usually in very ugly colours, or have seen better days. However, it is very easy to re-cover a box with either wallpaper or fabric, so that’s what I did to transform this one!

Supplies You Will Need

a hatbox with a lid

fabric or wallpaper of your choice

Mod Podge or other decoupage medium

tacky glue to secure edges, optional

masking tape

knife and scissors

ruler and measuring tape

foam brush to spread the glue/decoupage medium

lace or ribbon for the lid, optional

supplies needed for recovering the hatbox sitting on top of the desk

I used an unbleached canvas for the outside of my hatbox, and some Art Nouveau wallpaper I had leftover from this antique dresser refinishing project. I chose the canvas because it is neutral and doesn’t clash with the other boxes I’ve done with vintage map printed wallpaper. The thickness of this fabric did lead to a few challenges, but I still like how it turned out.

First, the key to covering a box, is that you need to take into account the thickness of the fabric or wallpaper, which will add bulk. Depending on how tightly the lid fits onto the box already, 2 layers of fabric may add too much width for the lid to fit on afterwards. If you need to make your box a little bit smaller to fit the lid, then remove the wall of the box from the bottom by sliding a blade between them. Cut a vertical line along the seam.

cutting the box open to make it smaller

Next, cut a piece out of the side/ring of the box, to make the box circumference smaller. I took out 3/8″ for this box. My canvas fabric was pretty thick, so if you have a thinner fabric or paper, you will probably not need to remove quite that much. Take out a small sliver, and then figure out how much you need to remove by wrapping the top edge with the fabric and testing it. Once you’ve made the side wall smaller, tape it back together with masking tape.

making the box smaller

Then, trace the new circle onto the bottom piece and trim away the excess so the bottom will fit back inside the smaller box walls.

cutting off the excess cardboard and placing the bottom back into the hatbox

Before you tape the box back together, take a moment to trace the circle onto your fabric and lining pieces. It’s much easier to use the deconstructed ring to trace your lining pieces first, rather than after you’ve reassembled it into a box. (I know this because I didn’t remember to do it this time!)

Trace one inside circle for the bottom lining of your box.

Trace one inside circle for the bottom fabric of your box.

Trace one outside circle onto the lining for the lid.

sanding the outside of the hatbox and then reassembling it

Tape the bottom of the box back to the ring by wrapping tape around the outside, notching it and folding down the tabs. Don’t worry about taping the inside of the box, because the fabric/wallpaper will reinforce that seam.

One more step, if your box is plastic coated, is to sand it lightly so the glue will adhere better. Also, if your box has a bold pattern, like this one did, you may want to check to see if it will show through your fabric. If it does, then cover the box with a coat of white paint before you move on to the next step.

covering the outside of the box

Cut a piece of fabric the length of the circumference of the box plus 1″ and the height of the box plus 1″Using Mod Podge, glue the fabric to the outside of the box, folding under the raw fabric edge where it meets. If the Mod Podge won’t hold it in place, you can use glue to secure the edge.

notching and glueing edges

Cut triangle shaped notches into the fabric all the way around and fold the tabs down gluing them to the bottom of the hatbox.

covering bottom of box with wallpaper

Take your bottom fabric piece, or you can do as I did and use a piece of neutral coloured wallpaper, and glue to the bottom of the box to cover the tabs/raw edges. Smooth the bottom, and weight it to hold in place so it won’t curl as it dries.

covering top edge of the box

Turn the box back upright, and simply fold the fabric to the inside and glue in place. Use clothespins if you need to hold it in place until it dries.

lining the inside of the hatbox

Measure a piece of your lining the exact length of the circumference and height of the box wall. Now take your piece and mark a line 1/2″ from the edge. Cut notches up the line. Fold the notches along that line. Coat the inside of the box with Mod Podge and then place the lining on the inside of the box walls. Once you’ve pressed and smoothed the lining and notches into place, you can place your bottom lining circle over top to finish the box.

Now the lid can be done it two ways. I used a thick canvas fabric, so I had to cover the top of my lid with this method, below. If you’re using wallpaper or thin fabric, cover the lid using the same method as for the box- covering the sides first and then using the lining and top circle to cover the notches and raw edges.

If you’re using a thicker fabric like me, then continue with this method.

covering top of the lid

Trace your lid onto the fabric, and then add 1/2″ all the way around. Attach your fabric piece to the top of the lid and then notch and fold down the 1/2″ along the rim of the lid.

Cut a piece of the fabric the length of the circumference of the lid + 1″ and the height of your lid plus 1″. Glue this piece around the outside of the lid to cover the notches. I cut my top edge very precisely since it was going to be exposed and not folded under. If you have a piece of ribbon the width of your lid, this would be a nice alternative, but I didn’t have a coordinating ribbon.

outside edge and lining of lid

Now trace your lid onto your lining and add 1/2″ all the way around. Notch the edge of the circle in the same way you did the fabric for the top. Glue in place on the inside of the lid and then fold your fabric to the inside covering the notches with the fabric.

inside of lid

Mine ended up a bit messy where the two meet since I left it with the raw edge, because I didn’t want to add any more bulk. If you have a thinner fabric you will be able to cover those raw edges much more neatly, or you could even cover them with a ribbon.

adding lace to outside of the hatbox lid

My fabric also ended a bit lumpy on the outside, since the notches showed through, I glued a piece of lace over the top to disguise it. I really like how it looks so I might even add lace or ribbon around the lid as a detail in the future, even if I don’t need it for disguising purposes!

hatbox finished with the lace around the lid

And then with that, your hatbox is done. Once you let it dry for 24 hours or so, you can start using it.

How do you store your hats? Do you like to have them out on display or tucked into a hatbox? 

finished fabric covered hatbox sitting on an antique dresser

finished fabric covered hatbox sitting on an antique dresser. The lid is off and you can see a hat inside.

Social Saturday | February 18

diy book stand made out of three pieces of wood and then painted white

Welcome weekend (and long weekend to my fellow Albertans)!

Lately I’ve been…

Reading this cookbook, Traditional Meals for the Frugal Family by Shannon Stonger. I tried a few of the recipes (her beet and sweet potato soup is amazing!) when I got it from the library, and then liked it so much that I bought it. All of the recipes are gluten free, and can be made to accomodate other dietary restrictions as well.

cookbook and a cup of tea and an envelope sealed with a wax seal

Oh, and while we’re on the topic of books, Jenni Haikonen, one of my favourite artists, recently compiled this lovely list of her favourite botanical books.  

One other book related thing you may find interesting is this site Anne Manuscript. They scanned every page of the original Anne Of Green Gables manuscript in L.L.Montgomery’s handwriting, and it’s so interesting to peruse.

Loving lighting a candle in the evenings when I read. It adds such a nice atmosphere. I never used to remember to light my candles, but then I put my matches right beside the candle, so now it’s so easy to light it…who knew that something that simple would remind me to use it so much more often!

I also tried out my new wax seal kit. The wick in the wax didn’t want to light, but I managed to melt enough to make a couple of seals, and the stamp is so pretty! It really makes the mail so much more elegant.

beeswax pillar candle lit and sitting in front of a mirror so the flame is reflected

Making a few little projects here and there. Firstly, the bookstand (in the first picture) for my bedside table. It perfectly holds my few “current” reads for easy access, and is so much tidier than the haphazard stack I inevitably end up knocking askew.

I also created these little 4×4 scripture memory cards to put out on my shelf. I stop often throughout the day to read the current verse and I hope to be able to memorize them all!

scripture memory cards with floral watercolours, leaning in a little easel sitting on a shelf

Watching YouTube, as always. I pretty much don’t watch movies anymore, but one of my favourite YouTube channels, Crows Eye Productions, released this great fashion history video featuring a scene from Pride and Prejudice which I really enjoyed! They plan to make more!

Eating these tasty Protein Truffles by Joyous Health (I decreased the cinnamon to 1 tsp.) I’ve been enjoying them in the afternoon, paired with a delicious cup of Genuine Tea’s Cream of Earl Grey.

Thankful For the Family Day long weekend. I have no plans, but it’s kind of nice to not have plans and just go wherever my projects take me!

I hope you have a lovely weekend, dear Reader!

calligraphy practice sheets

ps. here’s my latest calligraphy practice sheet- don’t look too closely at the ovals!

10 Chic Wardrobe Essentials For Every Woman

a navy blue cotton dress and several t-shirts and sweaters hanging on vintage wooden hangers in a closet

There are so many articles out there, each claiming that you need “these 10 wardrobe essentials” in your closet to make you a stylish and well put together lady, but that usually doesn’t work out the way they claim. While I do think there are a lot of pieces out there that will add value to your closet, the details might look different for each person both in terms of personal style, and body type and what suits one woman, may not the next. That being said, I think there are a lot of pieces that in general can be useful for everyone, and when thinking about capsule wardrobes and my post about 10 pieces I still love after 10 years etc. I started compiling this list of 10 chic wardrobe essentials I think every one could use in their closet, curated and personalized to each individual of course. If you are looking to level up your personal style in 2023, then I hope this list can help! I made it a bit more open ended in order to help inspire your wardrobe, rather than stifling it.

a tan neutral circle skirt paired with different tops for a completely different look- a great example of wardrobe essentials

A skirt in your “Neutral” colour

“Neutral” can mean different things for different wardrobes. For many women, black is their neutral simply because that is what is the most readily available. For me, I have chosen tan and brown as my neutral base to build my wardrobe off of, but I know of ladies who have chosen what would usually be considered an accent colour as their neutral. Whatever you have chosen as a “neutral” in your wardrobe, whether that’s navy, black, brown or even olive or blush, you should have at least one skirt in that colour. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a solid, but if it contains an element of this neutral tone, it will coordinate with a lot of other pieces in your wardrobe and give you a base to wear your statement tops and jewelry. A skirt in a neutral tone will easily mix and match with many other pieces in your closet, extending the variety in your wardrobe. And, of course, if you’re not a skirt person, then pants work just as well!

wardrobe essentials; sheer and opaque black tights

Black tights in both sheer and opaque

I used to wear a lot of coloured tights in the Winter, but in recent years I have gravitated towards black ones for a few reasons. First, they are classic and they will never go out of style. Secondly, they pair with so many things, unless as discussed above, you don’t have black in your closet. Black is not my neutral, brown is, and yet I find that black tights still pair well with so many of the pieces I wear, and they ground an outfit in a way that a coloured tight doesn’t. I switch between opaque and sheer finishes, depending on the outfit. Sometimes sheer black tights can look too dressy, and sometimes opaque can look too heavy, so it’s nice to have both options. Opaque tights pair nicely with black shoes, as they will give you a really nice long uninterrupted line. And, as with any colour of tights, you can wear them with a shorter skirt to either make it a bit more modest, or cold weather appropriate. I also often find that you can wear lighter summer weight pieces, paired with dark tights and they suddenly look more cold weather appropriate, so they can help to extend your wardrobe in that way too.

a simple a-line coat throughout the decades

A wool coat in a classic cut

Whether you choose a swing coat, a peacoat or an A-Line style, a wool coat in a classic silhouette won’t go out of style. Take this popular A-Line style of jacket-it’s been around since the 1900’s, changing pretty much only in length as the years go by. Of course some of the details and styling differ throughout the decades, some years it’s tighter, others looser, some years knee length, then hip length, then calf length, but even if you are wearing a different length than the current “look”, it still manages to look current. Look at the coats from 1940, 1970 and 2005; they are almost identical! The key to a good coat, is choosing a good quality wool. If you buy a coat with too high of a synthetic fibre content, not only will it not keep you very warm, but it won’t last. There’s just something about synthetic blends that tend to degrade and pill and look cheap over time in a way that wool doesn’t. (You can still get a wool blend, but try to get one where the natural fibres make up the majority of the fibre content, with only a small amount of synthetic.) If you invest in a good wool coat in a classic cut, it will last you forever. And by “invest” that doesn’t necessarily mean hundreds of dollars. (Although if you divide $400 over 10 years that cost breakdown is pretty good!) My wool coat is from the 1980’s, and it’s not even in a very classic cut (it’s a raglan sleeve) but I’ve had it for 10 winters now and it’s still in great condition. I bought it from a thrift store, which is getting harder to do these days, I realize, so if you can’t find a good one at the thrift shops, you may be able to find one at a consignment store or outlet store. My biggest takeaway is just to look at the fibre content.

coordinating leather shoes and purse in cognac brown

A coordinating set of leather shoes, bag and belt

While in recent years many people have eschewed matching accessories, having a set of matching shoes and bags is actually a great idea, and adding in a belt makes it even better. (Ladies from the past knew what they were doing!) If you create “sets” of coordinating pieces, you will always be able to finish off your outfit nicely, even if you don’t always wear each the pieces together.

While many women do own matching shoes and purses, adding a belt will make this combination even more versatile. Colours look better when they comes in threes, so this is a really easy way to do that. (The other option would be a hat in the same colour) When creating a set of accessories, you can choose whether you want to create a neutral combination or go for something bold with a pop of colour. I have a set of cognac brown accessories (they aren’t perfect match, but I don’t mind that bit of colour variation) and I wear those pieces all the time because they coordinate really well with the other pieces in my wardrobe. It’s a lot harder for me to wear some of my statement purses like my olive green or navy blue ones, because I have to be conscious of what shoes and garments to pair them with. When you have matching shoes, purse and bag, it makes it so much easier to create your base, and then you can add in statement pieces as a fun detail afterwards.

black mary jane high heels

A closed-toe pump or Mary Jane 

A classic style pump or Mary Jane heel will serve you well since a closed toe style can easily be worn in warm or cold weather. While we often gravitate to sandals or peep toe styles in the summer, a closed toe pump can often be worn without being too warm. And then, if you take that same shoe and add hosiery, they will work well for cold weather too. (well, not too cold of weather). I personally love the Mary Jane style of shoe, but a pump will give you the same amount of versatility.

background dress from a 1939 sears catalogue

A “Background” dress.

A “Background’ dress is a dress that is a one stop outfit. I saw this term used in the Sears catalogue from 1939, which reads, “What every woman wants! A really good dress with exquisite line and perfect fit. Smart enough to be lovely just as it is…or adaptable to accessory changes.” The junior version on the same page reads, “Superbly simple background dress that’s perfect when worn unadorned…and takes accessories with the greatest of ease! Wins you fame as the Girl who has Lots of Clothes without costing you lots of money!”

You don’t have to add anything to a background dress in order to make a complete outfit, but a background dress can be mixed and matched with plenty of accessories to create a whole new look. For example, my new navy dress can be worn all on it’s own for an entire outfit, but because of it’s simple design and colour palette, I can easily match it with other pieces from my wardrobe. I could add a belt and a cardigan for a new look, or instead wear some tights and a scarf and it’s an entirely different one. The key with a background dress is that it coordinates well with the items in your closet to give you maximum versatility. While I love skirts and tops, dresses are definitely one of the easiest things to wear as they are an outfit-in-one.

ivory silk scarf tied onto the handle of a navy blue purse

Silk scarf

A silk scarf is another one of my favourite “investment’ pieces. You don’t actually have to spend a lot on them, since you can often find them in thrift stores, and they are another versatile piece to add to your wardrobe. There are so many options to utilize silk scarves: as turbans and headbands, as a bow detail on a handbag, and of course as a scarf around your neck! There are tons of ways to tie scarves; I have a vintage book with all sorts of ways to tie scarves (I plan to share some of those here in the future). Not only can scarves add a certain pop to your outfit, but they will help to protect the collars of your coats from getting dirty so quickly, reducing the need to clean your coats as often. Of course, while silk is lovely, vintage nylon scarves are also great. I have a few vintage ones from the seventies in fun colours and patterns.

ivory knitted wool blanket scarf

Blanket scarf

On the other end of the spectrum from a silk scarf is a blanket scarf! Large blanket scarves came into popularity a few years ago and I think they are such a great piece to have if you live in a cold climate. They can add so much impact to your outfit, especially when paired with simpler outerwear. And not only do they add colour and drama to your outfit, they can double as a shawl/blanket if you don’t have a sweater. Of course, shawls have been around forever, so this is definitely one piece that will never go out of style! Blanket scarves come in a range of fabrics and styles, including knitted/crocheted or woven. I most commonly see wool and rayon fabrics in a wide range of colours and patterns. I personally have two extra large scarves; this ivory wool knitted one, and a black and tan geometric rayon one, and I am also on the lookout for a woven one in plaid that coordinates with the other colours in my wardrobe, while also adding some pattern and texture.

striped 60's style statement sunglasses

Statement sunglasses

Your sunglasses don’t necessarily have to be “statement” ones, but in my opinion as far as sunglasses go, you really can’t go too crazy. Whereas everyday, prescription glasses are usually a bit more neutral because you’re wearing them all the time, sunglasses are only worn out of doors (or whenever you want to be left alone!) so you can go big with them. I have these crazy cream and tortoise striped sunglasses and I LOVE them. When I got them, I wasn’t sure if they were “too much”, but they are so fun and I get a lot of compliments on them. If stripes or patterns aren’t your thing, you can of course go for a more traditional style such as aviators or cat eye but make sure that whatever you choose looks glam!

two wrap skirts

An adjustable skirt or dress

We all have those days when we feel bloated or sick, or the weather is +40 and a tight fitting garment just isn’t going to cut it. While loungewear is great for when you’re at home, when you need to leave the house, a wrap skirt or dress is a great option. I used to make all of my clothes with fixed waistbands, before realizing that sometimes you want to be comfortable, yet still stylish (aka. not wearing an elastic waistband). I made a few wrap skirts a couple of years ago, and I love them! You can easily tie them to the size needed, you’ll look great and you’ll feel great too. I don’t have any wrap dresses yet, but that’s on the list of things to sew…someday.

statement clutches- the bonus wardrobe essentials item

A statement clutch

And I added a bonus one to the list just for fun! They’re not really wardrobe essentials, but I do love a good statement clutch. We all have events to go to, whether it’s a wedding, or an evening party, and a statement clutch or bag can add so much interest and personality to your outfit. While there may be a dress code for an event that limits your choice of attire, a clutch is available in so many options! Having several clutches also means that you can recycle the same outfit to multiple events without feeling like you’re wearing exactly the same outfit over and over again. And while clutches aren’t necessarily the best for everyday use, you can always add them to a daytime outfit for a vintage look if you don’t have to carry too many items with you.

Well, there is my list of the 10, or rather 11, chic wardrobe essentials that I think every woman can add into her closet to make it a bit more stylish and put together.

What do you think? Do you have any of these pieces in your closet?What are some of your favourite wardrobe essentials that you’d include in this list?

A Year of Reading | My Favourite Books of 2022

stack of books that I read in 2022 sitting on top of a wooden table

Here we are already in 2023, which means it’s time for round up of my favourite reads of 2022! I read 46 books this year, and while I did enjoy many of them, there were only a few that I felt excited enough about to share in this list. In no particular order, here are the books I loved this past year.

daughters of fortune book series by judith pella book covers

Daughters of Fortune by Judith Pella

This series is a re-read, (I first read this series when I was 17 or so). I’ve always had an interest in WWII for some reason, so a fictional story that spans the three areas affected by the war: Europe, the Pacific and the American home-front was right up my alley. The story follows three sisters, Cameron, Blaire and Jaqueline as they navigate the war years. I love the storylines of each sister. It’s one of those books that you get immersed in one storyline and then it switches to the next character and you get mad, but then get immersed in their storyline, only to have it switch on you again! The only criticism I have of the series is that by book Four I honestly think she was getting tired of writing, because there is a huge rush at the end, and then a jump to the epilogue and then the story is over. I felt like we needed a few more chapters to wrap things up, but it’s still a good story despite that. My local library doesn’t have this series, so I was happy when I got my own copies last year as a Christmas gift! I bought them from Thrift Books which is always a bit of a gamble as to the quality, (and then the first book got lost in the mail and I had to wait several months for a replacement copy!) but I like having them on my shelf now, so I can read them again in the future.

hitler's cross book cover

Hitler’s Cross by Erwin W. Lutzer

This book has been on my TBR (to be read) list for a year, and it wasn’t one that my library system had. I got this one from Better World Books and I am so happy I did, because this was probably my favourite book of the year. It wasn’t a happy read for sure, talking about how the church in Germany was so weak and became fooled by Hitler, but it was a very prescient book. I see so many similarities between the culture of the German church in the 1930’s and the church in the West today. Which is, of course, why Lutzer wrote it 10 years ago. It is just as relevant today as ever before. It’s one of those books that you are reading along and wanting to underline so many sections (which I never do, but should!) that pretty soon the whole book is underlined. If you’re curious about the culture of the church during WWII this is a great book, and if you’re interested in the culture of the church today, then this is also great book.

ps. I also want to clarify that the anniversary copy I got has a forward by Ravi Zacharias, but the original book does not to my knowledge. That forward, sadly written by a man with a double life, does not change the meat and message of the book. 

bonheoffer book cover

Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas

After I finished Hitler’s Cross, I was intrigued to read more about Deitrich Bonhoeffer, since he was a key figure during WWII and I wasn’t super familiar with him. I then came across this book at a second hand book shop, which was perfect. It was a slow read and it took me several months to work through. (Although some of that time I was sick and wasn’t reading anything.) It’s a slow read, but that’s because it’s so good. This is also one of those books that would be very underlined with hardly any sections unmarked. I learned so much about the Germany, the War and the Church in this book. It also raised so many good questions about what our response should be when faced with those seemingly “grey areas”, as well as the importance of being faithful to God in the small things, so that we are ready when the big things come. This was my other favourite book of the year. I would also like to get Bonhoeffer’s book Ethics, for further reading.

Feels like Home book cover

Feels Like Home by Marion Parsons

Because this list is starting to be all WWII content (Again! Last year was too!), here’s a change of scene (yes pun intended, of course). I read so many decorating books this year, but my favourite was this one by the blogger Miss Mustard Seed. I loved it so much I got it for my birthday! I had actually never read her blog before, but came across the book first and after reading it, I now love to follow her blog. This is one of my favourite decorating books of the year, though, because it’s not just pictures, but also has so many tips and how-to’s included, as well as the story behind her decorating. Many bloggers (myself included I’m sure) tend to ramble, which comes across OK in a blog post, but can get repetitious in a book. I was very happy that her writing in this book is not repetitious or tedious in any way! If you are stuck in any way with decorating, I’m sure that this book will be helpful. She has it broken into chapters featuring each section or room in the house, “living spaces”, “kitchens” etc and goes through so much information about how to curate your own style. I loved this book so much I also gave a copy to a friend.

the tale of beatrix potter vintage book cover

The Tale of Beatrix Potter by Margaret Lane

I wrote a post last summer, about the movie Miss Potter, which is one of my favourites, so when I saw this book at our local library I checked it out immediately. Not only is it a beautiful vintage edition, but it’s a lovely read as well! Written fairly soon after Beatrix Potter’s death, and with the help of her surviving husband William Heelis, this book tells the story of Beatrix’s life and art. It’s a beautiful book, with colour illustrations, photographs of her life and even an insert of the Tale of Peter Rabbit story, which was originally written as a letter. I didn’t take a photo of it for some reason, but the reproduction letter was photocopied onto small pages so you could flip through it like it would have been originally when she sent it to her young nephew (who was ill at the time). I really enjoyed this book, and was debating whether to add it to my bookshelf..there are a few vintage editions for sale online, but I haven’t bought one yet.

facepaint book cover

Facepaint by Lisa Eldridge

My sister was the one who introduced me to Lisa Eldridge’s videos and this book. I’m not a huge makeup devotee, but I do enjoy wearing it and especially learning about the history of it! In the first part of the book, she covers the three main colours of makeup: Red, White and Black. I had never thought of that before; even though we have a rainbow of colours in makeup now, for most of history all makeup pretty much narrowed down to these three colours. She covers the history of makeup from the ancient Egyptians (some of the most famous historical makeup!) up to the modern era. In the second part of the book, she covers the trends and styles of each decade of the past century, featuring celebrity makeup icons of each. I learned a lot about makeup, especially how it transitioned from taboo to respectable. I also had no idea that some brands such as Rimmel and Maybelline were so old! The other nice thing about this book was it’s size and glossy pages which made all the images pop. If you like makeup or history or both, then you will definitely enjoy this book. (Also, the makeup featured on the back cover is from her personal vintage make-up collection; so many beautiful and interesting makeup packages!)

welcome home book cover

Welcome Home by Myquillyn Smith

This was the other good decorating book I read this year. It was one of those ones that really feels like a breath of fresh air as you’re reading it. I read it, and then I read a whole bunch of sections to my mom and sister because I liked it so much. Written by another blogger, whose blog I also didn’t know about, the focus of this book is on hospitality and celebrations. She talks about how we can often get so caught up in wanting our homes to be perfect, and our holiday decorations to be festive, that we can unwittingly put so much pressure on ourselves and our imperfect homes that we never even end up celebrating and hosting because things aren’t quite as good as we think they should be. It was a gentle reminder to me of the importance of hospitality, which from a Biblical perspective is nothing like “entertaining”, but is rather focused on serving others and sharing our homes with one another in a spirit of love. The book is divided into four seasons, and each chapter is named after a different hymn that corresponds to the topic of that season- I loved that! She had a lot of great ideas for how to simplify each season to really enjoy each holiday, and ways to share these holidays with others.

in the midst of life book cover

In the Midst of Life by Jennifer Worth

This was one of the first books I read this year, and it got the year off to a good start, even though that seems odd considering that it’s a book about hospice and palliative care. After she was a midwife, Jennifer Worth, the author of the “Call the Midwife” books, left midwifery and went into end-of-life nursing. This is her book about that field of nursing. It was a very thoughtful and thought-provoking examination into how we treat death and dying. She talks about how in times past, people died of “old age” and were left in relative peace to do so, but how in the modern era, everything is treated as an illness that must be cured, despite the fact that sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. She shares stories of some of her patients and their experiences in hospice as the end drew near, and does so with compassion. I also thought her section on assisted death was rather prescient considering the epidemic of medically assisted suicide here in Canada, and the wake of grief many loved ones face when people opt for assisted death. I really wish that I had recorded some of her quotes, because she has a good way of putting things. I might need to get this one out of the library again.

the blue castle book cover

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

The final one on this list, is my favourite book by L.M. Montgomery. And that is saying a lot because I love so many of her stories! However, this one featuring a “spinster” heroine is not just my favourite of hers, but also one of my favourite books of all time. I read it first about four years ago, and have re-read it a couple of times since then. I did this year because I told my mom to read it, and then after she was done I had to refresh my memory so we could talk about it together (and laugh at the funny characters and situations). I read a biography of Montgomery a few years ago and discovered that most of her books were written about real places and based on her own experiences. While the story is not based on her life, the setting of the story, the Muskoka region of Ontario, is based on a trip she took to Bala, Ontario in the summer of 1922. I love this story; it’s one of those that you simultaneously don’t want to end, but also want to find out the ending! I rate it 6 out of 5 stars.

Well, there is my list for this year! I’m already looking forward to next year’s list of books, and planning which ones to order from the library or pull from my shelf. And I’d like to branch out into some other topics, as I seem to have gotten into a rut with WWII! Some that I’ve got on my list for 2023 are David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, (that will be an audiobook), The Seamstress by Allison Pittman, a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Slave Trade by Hugh Thomas and, as always, a few Agatha Christie murders thrown in for good measure! I really enjoyed this post, about reading a book a week. While I can’t quite do that, since I get a lot of my books from the library and have to wait for them to come in via inter-library-loan, I am still planning a list of books to request, and then will fill in the gaps with ones I already own. While I still did read a lot this year, I also opted to read on the internet a lot more than I read physical books, which is something I’d like to change for the next year.

What books did you enjoy reading this year? Do you have a list of to-be-read books for 2023, or do you just plan to read as you come across something that interests you?

 

 

 

This & That (Aka. Social Saturday, but on a Wednesday)

A plate of cranberry tarts in front of a vase of holly berries and fairy lights

Happy Wednesday Dear Readers! It’s not Saturday, but I only had bits and pieces of things to post, and since some of the things I wanted to share are Christmas related, I didn’t feel like waiting until Social Saturday. (It kind of reminds me of The Lego Movie, where they change the name of the day from “Taco Tuesday to Freedom Friday… but still on a Tuesday!”)

Anyway, enough about Lego and onto the Christmas content.

rolling out pastry to make tart shells and tart pans filled with cranberry tarts

Firstly, the baking has begun. Today, we’re making Christmas tarts, which is our family’s main seasonal tradition. Pretty much all of our traditions revolve around food. That’s pretty grand, now that I think about it. We make Cranberry Tarts, (also called Mock Cherry Pie) and Coconut Tarts. Discovering that I am sensitive to gluten was so sad, because I couldn’t eat the tarts anymore, until we found this excellent gluten free pastry recipe.

cup of tea with a piece of christmas cake sitting on the saucer

The other recipe we make every year is my mom’s excellent Mincemeat Christmas Cake. Our house is divided on this, with people either loving it or hating it. I love mincemeat, so I’m firmly in the “Love It” camp. Do you like spiced mincemeats and Christmas cakes?

New this year, we also tried making our own chocolate covered cherries. They’re still full of everything that’s bad for you, but they did turn out very good! They have more of a Creme Egg style centre, rather than a liquid centre, but apparently the longer you wait, the runnier they get. We followed this recipe, which was really easy to make, and we had everything on hand already.

advent scripture cards hanging from mini clothespins on a string across the mantle

In other Christmas news, we have started a new Advent tradition. We were a bit late to the party, only getting these hung up on the weekend, but we purchased the printable “Truth for The Day” Advent Cards from Home Made Lovely, and strung them across the mantle with mini clothespins. I absolutely love how they look- the illustrations are adorable- and it’s so fun to turn over the card each day as we approach Christmas.  I also just love how we decorated the mantle this year! My Grandma gave my mom these silver deer candlesticks she had, and they look so great against the stone fireplace. And of course the fairy lights on top of the garland add such a nice sparkle.

mantle decorated for christmas with a silver deer candlestick and a garland with fairy lights

Another download, a free one this time, is this adorable printable from Sincerely Marie Designs for 12 Days of Christmas ornaments. I haven’t printed them yet, since I want to see if I can transfer them onto small wood cookies. I saw a set of ornaments like that earlier this year, and I think that would be so cute.

baby headbands with bows and fabric yo-yos

Onto other topics, I’ve been making baby headbands again. We’ve got so many little ones on the way in my church, so I’ve been working on making these yo-yos and bows and have been listening to The Silmarillion audiobook as I stitch.  I tried reading the book, but it was so dry I had to give up. Then I thought to get an audio book from the library, which is so much more enjoyable. (The copy I got is voiced by Martin Shaw).

felted beret and mittens with a flower added to the hat

I also made a brown felted wool flower to add to the wool beret I made a couple of years ago. I never wear this hat, because it’s too stiff to maneuver and “flop” and so it always just looked like it needed something; the felt flower is the perfect touch. I also made some felted wool mittens to match earlier this year, but I don’t think I ever posted them, so here they are now. If you want to make your own, here’s my tutorial.

screenshot of poshmark shop new listings

I also made a few more headbands and hair clips for my Poshmark shop. That pink flower is one-of-a-kind. While I love how it turned out, I won’t make another out of that pink satin, because it was so hard to singe the edges! Once they started melting, they kept going, and I had to throw away so many petals with holes in them. It would look so pretty tucked into an updo for a formal occasion, wouldn’t it? I also added some more photography and other artwork, including some of my favourite mini art cards and paintings.

reorganized closet with capsule winter wardrobe hanging

In other topics, I also recently reorganized my closet; the way I had set it up last January just wasn’t working for me anymore. Basically I had categories too spread out, with some things on shelves, some in drawers and some hanging. I have now separated it, putting all of my loungewear and working clothes (as in grungy work) out of the closet and into my dresser drawer. I took all of my sweaters and cardigans off of the shelf and hung them on padded hangers. Then I put my large purses on the top shelf above the rod, my berets on my shoe shelf, all of the winter hats on stands on my dresser, and my scarves and fur collars on the back of my door (except for one that is too big, which is hanging). It is working so much better for me to be able to clearly see at a glance all of the pieces in my winter capsule wardrobe, without being distracted by loungewear and other things that don’t go in that capsule! I have found over the years that if I don’t have things out where I can see them, I just won’t remember to wear them, so it’s working so much better to have out-of-season items stored on the side shelves in my closet, and the in-season items out in front.

Not related to closets entirely, but sort of, I enjoyed this post by Gillian Dunn, about using your special items everyday.

I also was going to share this post about Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s fashion inspiration in my last Social Saturday, and I forgot, so here it is now. I love how classic her looks are. You can obviously tell it’s the 90’s and yet it’s still elegant. (And I absolutely love her neutral palette.)

And finally, unrelated to anything, this post about the themes in A Tale of Two Cities (one of my favourite books!) is very good. I read the book back in May, but didn’t see this blog post until a while later. It’s a very good article, but DO NOT read it if you haven’t read A Tale of Two Cities, since there are major spoilers!

Well, I think that’s all that I have for today. I hope your week and your December is going well…there’s only 11 days until Christmas!