I can finally share the cards I made this year, now that Valentine’s Day is over! (I didn’t want to share these pictures before, as I didn’t want people to see the cards here before they received them.)
This year I decided to really simplify my cards, as I didn’t have a lot of time to dedicate to making them, so I decided to do some Valentine themed drawings, and then colour them with watercolour. I used heavy cardstock, rather than watercolour paper, so the ink would come out smooth and crisp. After letting the ink dry, I went over with the watercolour, then trimmed them and that was that. I made sure to take some scans of them as I might turn them into some card designs in the future. I think that some of them would work OK for “just because” cards, not just for Valentine’s Day, what do you think?
And of course, I had to share this delicious coconut and chocolate tart that I made in honour of the day. I decided to do some food photography, because it turned out so pretty! Of course that cocoa powder made a huge mess all over the place, but it was worth it for some photos 😉
Anyways, I have nothing else to really say, so I wish you all a great weekend! Here in Alberta it is a long weekend, so I am looking forward to that extra day off. See you all next week!
Now that it’s the Christmas season, it is time to start dressing for the occasion. (OK, it’s been the Christmas season for a while, I’m just kind of late at getting a holiday post up). But how do you dress for the holidays when when you don’t own “Christmas” clothing, or you just don’t like wearing novelty prints of Christmas trees? I’m all for a festively, kitschy holiday outfit. . . on other vintage loving gals, but it’s just not for me. However, I do love to dress for the season. So how do you dress for the season, when you don’t want to wear poinsettia dresses, red is not your best colour, or you don’t want a wardrobe full of themed items that can only be worn at certain times of the year?
My go-to solution for dressing for the holidays, whether it’s Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentines, or Family Day (wait- no- you don’t really dress up for Family Day. . . ) is to take a regular outfit, add different accessories to it, and thus turn it into a holiday outfit. For example, at Christmastime, take a whole bunch of gold bling and sparkly jewellery, and voila! With a few changes, it’s suddenly a holiday outfit!
I wore this exact same outfit last week, minus all the gold, and it looked like a regular old unholidayish dress. But taking the same basic pieces: a striped dress, a black bolero, black tights and black pumps and then restyling them with a gold belt and clutch, metallic gold nail polish, sparkly eyeshadow, and sparkly rhinestone jewellery made it suddenly seem more festive. Making those few changes made it the perfect thing to wear to the Christmas lunch at our church.
I’ve also worn this dress in the springtime, here, and the accessories I paired that time made it look the farthest thing from Christmas you could think of. Imagine if I had paired this dress with spider jewellery, a veiled hat, and a velvet jacket- suddenly it would look perfect for Halloween. Accessories really are a girl’s best friend- a few key pieces can completely change the look of your outfit to suit whichever holiday you are going for.
So, if you aren’t into outfits that scream “CHRISTMAS!!!!”, but you do want to add a bit of a festive touch, accessories are where it’s at.
Here are some more ways to add a bit of holiday cheer to your outfit:
Wear a bow in your hair. It’s like dressing up as a present. . . only more subtle. 😉
Plaid is the perfect Christmas material because it has nothing to do with Christmas, and yet it looks so festive when worn this time of year. And you can wear it any other season, and it looks lovely- I’m all for fabrics that do double duty.
Wear darker hued shades of “Christmas colours”. Instead of wearing bright red and green, try jewel tones like burgundy and emerald. Rich colours like navy blue can look very winter appropriate too, with some silver jewellery added, for example.
Christmas jewellery adds a festive touch, but is a bit more understated than a Christmas dress. And, it doesn’t take up tons of space, so collecting Christmas earrings and brooches doesn’t take up your entire wardrobe, but adds a nice festive touch.
‘Tis the season for rich and sumptuous fabrics like velvet and taffeta. They are great for both Christmas, and also New Years, and as most people don’t get the opportunity to wear them year round, it’s time to bust them out of the closet!
As I said before: gold and sparkles is where it’s at. In a society where people are more likely to have ugly sweater parties, I say- bring on the glam and the glitz! Any excuse to break out the cocktail dresses is good by me.
So, do you like going all out dressing for the season? Or do you like your Christmas outfits to be a bit more subtle? Or maybe you don’t dress for the holidays at all? Do you have any other holiday outfit tips?
ps. This is the same vintage Laura Ashley bolero from last week– and here you can see the fabric better!
Since the Ladies Garden Tea was supposed to be in a garden, I had originally planned to wear one of my big pouffy 1950’s style floral dresses. However, because the party was moved indoors, I decided (for the second year in a row) that crinolines and petticoats, crowds of people and fine china don’t make the best of friends. I also decided that, even though it can be incredibly fun to dress in all your vintage finery, because I was hosting, it might be a better idea to wear a simpler style for ease of movement and comfort of the guests. This floral dress, which is so bright and vibrant that it coordinates with hardly anything else in my wardrobe, and is completely contrary to anything else I own (I was planning on creating a more cohesive wardrobe, but you know how that goes . . . ) is what I decided to wear instead. I got this dress just at the end of summer last year, and hadn’t had a chance to wear it yet, so the party was the perfect place to “debut” it. Not that anyone cares about that but me. (Do you like to save new garments for the perfect occasion?)
I got this dress last August, from a thrift store, which is where I get the majority of my clothing. It was originally listed for a lot of money. By “a lot” I mean, not only am I spoiled by the prices of buying the majority of my clothing second hand (“They want two whole dollars for this!? Oh right. . .”) but you actually could have bought a new dress, from a cheap fashion chain, for the same price, or less than this one was listed for. Oh, and the belt was missing. And, it was not from a very expensive or high quality brand. I obviously was not going to go and buy a new cheap dress instead, but it really bothers me that some thrift stores have raised their prices to a point where you actually can buy new clothes cheaper. This is so irrational, and it’s so frustrating as it just contributes to the entire cheap fashion cycle, and throwaway culture we live in. There are many people who won’t shop second hand if they can buy new clothes cheaper, and there are people who legitimately can’t afford the prices of even cheap new clothes, so where can they go for clothing if they can’t go to the thrift stores? I am not in this position, thankfully, but I expect to find lower prices at a second hand store. I think this is one of the unfortunate side effects of thrifting and vintage becoming “trendy” – so many thrift shops have become unattainable for the very people who need them, and have drifted from their original purposes. Is this something that is happening elsewhere in the world? I see it here in Canada (not in all of the thrift shops, mostly in the thrift store chains).
Anyways, that was a bit of an aside . . . so how did the dress end up in my wardrobe after all? Well, it just so happened that the day after I saw this dress, tried it on and fell in love with it, there was a 1/2 price sale. I put the dress back on the rack, fully aware that it might not be there when I returned the next day- but it was! A couple other pieces I had put back were gone, but this was was still waiting for me 🙂 And I’m so glad. It was a lovely thing to wear on a grey and dreary day, and it does have a very garden feel about it. Because it literally has flowers on it.
I would have paired it with my white shoes (the only thing in my wardrobe that matches the dress) and a straw hat (I guess that straw also matches) if we’d had it outside, but as it was held inside I was stocking-foot and hatless (scandalous!). However, for the benefit of these photos, which we took outside half an hour after the party ended, because it stopped raining (of course), I did wear the shoes. 😉
Have you ever put something back at a thrift store, and gotten it later, or did it end up being the one that got away? What would you wear to a tea party?
I am beginning to think that the second weekend of June is marked for rain. For the second year in a row now, I have planned to host a Ladies Garden Tea, in our backyard, and though we have had sun in the days leading up to, and sun in the hours and days that follow, during the hours of the party itself, it has rained. We have decided that it will now be called simply, “The Ladies Tea”, and have given up on hoping that gardens will have anything to do with it at all!
I’m not too worried about it though, because this year we planned to host it indoors, and made our preparations accordingly, so there was no last minute scramble to move the party indoors when the day dawned with grey clouds. An added benefit of holding the party indoors, is that even if it doesn’t rain, you sometimes must contend with wind, sun in your eyes, sunburn, flies in the lemonade and mosquitoes that refuse to leave you alone. By setting up the party indoors, you avoid all these problems, and you can always open the windows to let the fresh air in (and the bugs out) 🙂
We changed things around this year, (because we were thinking ahead for once) and set up the sideboard and a table along the side of the living room, so the food and drinks would be close at hand. It worked so much better, rather than having the food in the kitchen like we did last year, as people didn’t have to break up the party in order to go in search of sweets. Last year we had so many leftovers of desserts that hardly even got touched, and this year we had very few leftovers. On second thought, maybe we should have the food in the kitchen again next year; I wouldn’t have minded a few leftovers. . . 😉
Since the party was supposed to be a Garden Tea, it had to have a summery and “gardeny” feeling to it. So, the morning of the party we went in search of flowers for bouquets. Last year we had peonies, but this year the season is late and so the peonies had not started to bloom. However, we managed to catch the very last of the dark purple lilacs. Two days before the party, I thought to myself, “The lilacs are still in bloom, and should stay so until the party”, but the very next day when I looked at them again, they had started to wilt, turn brown and fall off the hedges. Only one day before the party!!! We thought that we wouldn’t be able to get any for a bouquet, but fortunately the dark purple ones still had flowers. They were falling fast though, and if you even looked at the bouquet, I think that petals were dropping off. We got two lovely bouquets though, and paired the purple flowers with Caragana branches. Caragana is a rather strange bouquet material, but I love how sculptural and fluid the bouquets turned out to be, and yellow and purple is such a lovely colour combination. For the rest of the smaller bouquets, which we placed on the tables, we gathered wildflowers and weeds, and came up with enough material to make several miniature bouquets. All in all, the room did have a rather summery and festive feeling to it, despite the rain.
And of course, the rain didn’t dampen the spirits of those who attended the party! There were sixteen of us, some of whom were new acquaintances who came with friends, and we all had a lovely afternoon of tea and sweets and conversation. I can’t wait for next year!
Do you enjoy tea parties? Have you ever hosted an event? And have you ever been rained out?
So continuing with the second instalment of the Ladies Garden Afternoon Tea party.
I’ve always loved pretty dishes, and silverware and fine china teacups. I’m pretty sure I get this from my mom, who I’m sure learned it from her mother. When my Grandma was a young lady, living in a farm community, once a month the ladies would get together for a tea party. It was a way for the farmwives, some of whom were probably fairly isolated, to get out and see each other. Each month was hosted at a different farm, and each lady would bring her own teacup.
A few years ago, my Grandma downsized, and passed on her teacups to us- and a collection was born! With that humble start, I’ve started picking up pretty teacups at thrift stores, or antique sales, and I’ve been able to form quite a collection. I love to throw parties, and as my collection of fancy dishes has grown, I have tried to come up with ways to use them, rather than relegating them to the china cabinet. A few years ago, continuing in the tradition of my Grandma, the Ladies Afternoon Tea was born. It gives us a chance to use all the fancy dishes, and is a way for the ladies in my church to get together for an afternoon treat.
As I mentioned on Tuesday, we got rained out and we were forced to bring the party indoors this year. It was too bad that the party couldn’t be outside, as there is something so lovely about enjoying tea and sweets out of doors, but at least we do have a large living room, where we were able to spread out several tables and chairs for everyone to sit at.
When we were planning for this party, we counted up my cups, my moms, and my sisters and came up with 29 teacups! Needless to say, the ladies didn’t need to bring their own to this party! We did end up borrowing some cups from another lady, just in case we ran short, but fortunately we didn’t.
Every good party starts with an invitation. There is something so personal about an physical paper invitation, even if it isn’t handwritten, and I think it reminds people of the party more than a verbal invitation or email, which can be easily lost or overlooked. Also it is a great place to write the address or location of the party, because unless everyone is very familiar with the area, they might get lost en route!
For the party, the food was set up on the kitchen table, and the tea was set up on the kitchen counter, which was dressed up with a lace edged tablecloth, so it wouldn’t look so “kitcheny”. The peonies were blooming in full force the day of the party, so we had a gorgeous bouquet on the dessert table, and a weedy little bouquet of daisies and alfalfa collected from an “obliging field” for the tea table.
For food, we served a variety of desserts: Coconut Macaroons, Ganache Topped Chocolate Cakes, Lemon Drizzle Loaf, Coconut Cream and Dark Chocolate Squares, Pineapple and Pecan Cheesecake Tarts, and Toasted Almonds and Pecans. We chose such a large variety of desserts, including chocolate and non-chocolate, as we wanted to make sure there was something everyone would enjoy. (I mean, l love chocolate, and the entire menu could’ve consisted of different varieties of chocolate, but something I find hard to comprehend is that some people don’t like it 🙁 so we wanted to make sure everyone enjoyed the desserts!) Also, it was very fortunate that my best friend was visiting that week, so the day before the tea party, when we were baking, baking, baking, she was there to lend a hand 🙂
Overall, the party was quite the success- even though hours and days of work was consumed and destroyed in the space of an hour 😉 Ah that’s the best thing about parties right? It was a lovely time, spent with some very lovely ladies! As people were leaving, we had a lot of requests to do it again. Don’t worry I’ve already started planning for next year’s tea party!