um, I think I have a new favorite website

pages and pages of inspiration
pages of inspiration

new shoes and finished objects

jorge has a finished object!
Jorge has a new girl and a finished object! Her name is Jen, she seems nice (she listened to us talk about knitting for an hour) and she's modeling the scarf he made.

new shoes
They're greay, and cute, and I can't wait to wear them.


little bits of things

you can now shop goodwill online. Like ebay, only not! I'm not sure how much I'll use this, but it's worth a try, I suppose.
Now I want to make a penguin.
I also have a couple of shirts of le husbands that could use transformation.
frilly parasols! I WANT!
Don't forget that tomorrow is the last day to sign up for the lovely swap! We have several people participating already, and it should be fun. Click the button on the right for mroe information if you missed the announcement the first time around.
Ok, enough of this. It's home to the children and the photo editing and the general hilarity that reigns at all times.

the snow, it falls down

The quiet snow
Will splotch
Each in the row of cedars
With a fine
And patient hand;
Numb the harshness,
Tangle of that swamp.
It does not say, The sun
Does these things another way.
Even on hats of walkers,
The air of noise
And street-car ledges
It does not know
There should be hurry
~Raymond Knister
"The Quiet Snow"

definitely too pretty to use for anything as mundane as food

All from Lille.


glamour on a budget

Some months ago the ever-resourceful Bargain Queen posted about the logistics of shopping in secondhand stores; when to go, who to befriend, etc. Well, I'm not rehashing that; she did a fabulous job and there's no point. I am going to share some of the best tricks I've found for dressing with taste and style on a very small budget.
Do buy good quality. At a thrift store, the acrylic discount-chain sweater costs the same amount as the handknit 100% wool one; buy the wool. Skip the teen-store skirt and buy the fully-lined one. There are exceptions (if it's fifty cents, if you are putting together a costume), but most of the time it costs exactly the same to buy cheap clothing as it does to buy well-made pieces.
Don't confuse brand name with quality. There are companies that regularly produce excellent quality clothing that will occasionally pop out a real corker. On the other hand, there are little-known brands that produce well-made clothing. Learn to recognize good construction and quality materials. On the other hand, at least a passing familiarity with who makes which lines will help you figure out which white tshirt will last more than 10 washings (Ann Taylor, Gap) and which won't (White Stag, Charlotte Russe).
Do buy what suits you. I can't tell you how many times I've purchased something because it's "a classic" and I should really have (fill in the blank). And then I either never wear it, or hate it every time I do, because I look like such a dork.
Don't buy it only because it's such a good deal. Currently in my closet: at least three sweaters purchased because they were only a dollar or two and they're 100% wool! And I can always felt them or something! I can, and maybe someday I will. But for now they're taking up closet space and certainly NOT getting worn.
Do try everything on. I don't know about you, but I cannot buy pants without trying them on first. Even within the same brand, different pairs of pants fit me differently, and I have to try before I buy. It's probably amazing how much money I've saved this way. Many a "maybe" has been quickly blacklisted by a quick try-on.
Don't expect there to be dressing rooms everywhere. My favorite local thrift shop (it has fifty cent Mondays!) also has no dressings rooms, so we have to create our own. Always wear a close-fitting tee or tank under everything so you can try on shirts or sweaters over that. Even dresses can be tried on if your pants aren't too bulky. If you want to try on pants, either wear a full skirt and pull them on underneath, or borrow a full skirt from one of the racks: instant dressing room! (Yes, people WILL give you weird looks. But that's ok.)
Do know what's easy to find secondhand. Shirts for the office, both long and short-sleeved. Tshirts. Sweaters. Jeans. Vintage dresses. Scarves. These things are ususally plentiful, especially if you're a spot-removal wizard. (Note: don't even bother buying anything that has stains under the arms. It's just too much work to remove.)
Don't try to get everything from an op shop. With the money you've saved shopped at a thrift store, save up and purchase good-quality classics that will last for a lifetime with proper care. I've never had any sort of luck finding suits at the thrift store; by the time they get there they're worn to a ribbon. It's worth investing in the pefect black suit, though. Good shoes are also worth it; they can make or break your outfit.

So those are my thrifting tips. What have I forgotten? What are your favorite tricks for secondhand shopping?


happy birthday el bloggy!

Um, this is actually two days late. The 25th of this month marked exactly one year since I started this blog as a very lonely chica who had relocated to the Midwest from the East Coast. Much has changed since then (see: acquired a job, lost a mother-in-law) but much is the same: I still love clothes and houses and all things beautiful. I love this little blog; it's the one spot where I can be unabashedly girly without caring what others think. And apparently I'm not the only one that loves prettiness; from 17 visitors that first month to more than 1800 last month, you've all been coming back and bringing friends. It's like all girl party, all the time!
Le sigh. Sometimes I think I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

inspiration from couture

Now understand that haute couture is not necessarily supposed to be either wearable or affordable. Its sole reason for existence is beauty. The Spring 2007 shows happened recently (I think it was last week) so I flipped through the image galleries looking for ideas, inspiration, and just plain pretty clothes. You can click on any of the images for larger versions.
Chanel: Overall I was underwhelmed with this collection, but then, I've not been a huge fan of Lagerfield's work lately. I especially hated the extremely short skirts; with several of the outfits you could see the crotch and, though well-covered, that tends to generate the whole "is it tights or is it leggings" question which then encourages ladies to wear leggings in lieu of pants and I think we can all agree that is never a good thing.
L-R. 1. I love the way he used the very black tights that blend in with the low shoes; it presents a streamlined look without making her feet look big or legs look stumpy. Also like the white mitts: they look punk but fresh at the same time. 2. Print-on-print=awesomeness. Love the bias binding on the dress and the jacket lining. 3. Want. This. Coat. (It is a coat, isn't it? Because there is no earthly way to sit in this without your bootay falling out the bottom.) Can't you imagine this over skinny black pants or a pencil skirt? Love the neckline and the highwaisted belting. Fabulousity. 4. Awesome neckline. The silhouette on this is very simple with only the feathers adding punch, but it's highly effective.

Christian Dior: amazing. This Japanese-inspired collection is full of color and incredible origami dresses. L-R. 1. This silhouette is incredible; I love the rethinking of the obi. Also love the colors. 2. Weaving fabric. That's cool. Not sure how I'll use that idea, but I like it. 3. Doesn't this look like a piece of candy? I love the "new look" silhouette that's been updated with the intricate pleating on the skirt. Pleating chiffon would be a pain, but oh-so-worth-it. 4. I like this update to a simple suit: the giant bow. It's not obnoxious, though, because it's the same color as the suit. Also love the purple/lavender colors. Hmmm. Need a dress in those colors, I think.

Christian Lacroix: mad, mad love. I had trouble picking just four; this was the only collection where I loved almost every piece. I also love the white tights he used. Very fresh and spring-y. L-R. 1. This is the perfect neckline, at least for me. I love the combination of prints and the volume on this look. 2. Puffed sleeves! This shape is very cool, and I like using a strong graphic print. Might have to try to make a spring-weight jacket like this. 3. Ooooooooooo. (I can't really elaborate, as I'm too busy wiping drool off the monitor.) 4. Love the collarless jacket held together with a flower pin. Le sisters--remember those flower pins that were all the rage about 3 winters ago? I think we need to pull them back out.
Elie Saab: meh. Pretty, but meh. Not too inspiring; lots of simple shapes with very heavy being. Pretty, and flattering, but not necessarily pushing the envelope. I had a hard time finding four to post. L-R. 1. Love the lace overlay. Also love the belting around the hips. 2. Ok, so these sleeves? Are officially cool. 3. I've been pondering doing something flamenco inspired involving layers of ruffles, but was scared because of the volume factor. This outfits convinces me I can try. Maybe set the ruffles at more of an angle? 4. Um, this was my "need 4 shots" picture. What was it I liked, again? Oh, right: the beading. Not sure how that will be usable, but it is pretty. Although a beaded tunic....that could be cool. Over slim pants? Hmm...I'm liking this concept.
Jean Paul Gaultier: interesting. I liked the strong colors in this collection. L-R. 1. The shape of this outfit is good, but the belt is what makes it amazing. Must try that. 2. Ahhhhhhsome. The shape of the top? Incredible. The color? Perfect. The red shoes? Love it. 3. I like the idea of a tunic over a full skirt. Need to try. 4. I lovelovelove the embroidery on chiffon. The heavy stitchwork becomes ethereal.
Valentino: ladylike shapes and colors reign supreme. It was almost boring, though. L-R. 1. This looks like it might be a knit, which is awesome. I like the jacket shape, too. 2. Cape+big buttons=coolness! Also LOVE the ballet neckline. 3. This is very...ruffly...but I like little jacket thing. 4. Not sure if is this Star Trek or not, but I love the rolled hem detailing.

There were a couple of shows I don't have pictures from because I only liked one or two things.


might be worth watching for the clothes?

movie still
Of course, I'm a sucker for a WWII spy film (I even watched that trainwreck with Melanie Griffith called Shining Through in which she affected a wholly unconvincing German accent and Michael Douglas stomped around acting like the brash American) but "The Black Book" looks like it could be interesting. (I'm trying to ignore the fact that the title immediately made me think of "Little Black Book.) I have no clue as to the historical accuracy of it, but one snip from the trailer shows the lead in silk tap pants and garters, and that, my dears, is fabulous. Here's the official site.

a peek into my world

This is the wall next to my computer. Click for notes or to see a larger size (I left it pretty huge).
my (current) wall of inspiration

word in progress Friday

work in progress Friday
Can't show too much detail in case the recipient reads this; suffice it to say that I have about 30 minutes of knitting on this before I can sew it up. Lovely, eh? I have the pattern memorized now, and I love it!

brightening up a gray day

when you HAVE to run errands in the snow, there's nothing like pink rubber boots to make it more fun I had a mysterious headache all last night, and it lasted into the morning, blasting into smithereens my plans to accomplish MUCH today. I took revenge on all the snow and my general lethargy by wearing the brightest possible colors and wearing them all together. Besides, the pink rubber boots are fabulously lovely for errand-running in the snow.
hot pink tshirt: thrifted
orange embroidered shirt: forever 21 clearance rack
(awesome) yellow pants: H&M
pink rubber boots: gift


things I think are cool

swappy goodness

Hullo, blogfriends. The swap fever has caught me, and I'm sharing the love. In honor of the fact that Valentine's day is rapidly approaching, we're going to have a "Lovely Swap." Or fest. Or something.
Anyway, these lovely packages will contain:
- 1 custom burned mix CD of the best love songs ever (in your never-to-be-humble opinion)
- 1 valentine, homemade or storebought
- 1 piece of chocolate
- 1 beautiful/funny/happy/sappy/silly thing you love <-consider this your wild card

Note: in the above list, you can read "1" as "1 or more." Because really? Who can include just ONE piece of chocolate!
Also note: the CD must contain at least 10 songs, at least three genres, and cannot repeat artists. (Because as much as we all love Robbie Williams, if we want a CD of JUST HIM we could go out and buy it. What we can't buy is your personality, wit, and music-mixing moxie.)

To participate:
- sign up by emailing me (vdoprinces AT gmail DOT com) by January 31st
- I'll pair people up and swap email addresses.
- Mail your package by February 10th. That gives you ten days, which isn't too bad, and hopefully it will arrive by Valentines.

Let the loveliness begin!


snow day

It snowed all day yesterday and most of today. I didn't have time to get outside with the camera, so I'll share some Flickr favorites instead. These are all taken in Ohio, and I have to admit that, at least when it comes to snow scenery? Ohio does beat Delaware.

who needs cable when you have cable internet?

Someone clued me in yesterday that ABC posts whole episodes online. I am so totally watching all of Ugly Betty as soon as I get caught up on photo editing.

the black/white/yellow obsession continues

want the chandelier! I love the crisp black-and-white with splashes of yellow, but what I really love is the chandelier. I want!
original article

stranger than fiction

stranger than fiction.
Saw this last night with le husband and brothers-in-law, and rather loved it. I wasn't surprised about that; I knew that if Emma Thompson was involved I probably would (she's brilliant in this, btw). What I was surprised about was how much I loved the look of the film. Color was used throughout the film to set the scene and communicate the mood of the characters, and I rather liked it. I especially loved the spaces around Maggie Gyllenhall's character; they were full of warmth and color and clutter and life. It was lovely.


a spot of color on a winters day

We had a lovely trip to Toledo courtesy of my father and sisters. They had even purchased a hotel room for the night so we we spent the morning puttering around the city. I knew there was an H&M there, so I wanted to visit if only to see what all the fuss is about. Well, I'm a convert. It's probably a good thing I don't live nearer one; I can see inordinate portions of my paycheck going in their general direction. I found skinny pants that work for me! Not only that, I bought a pair in the only better than cordoroy: YELLOW cordoroy. They are the awesomeness, I'm sure.

more yellow is good

We also found these lovely green votives on clearance at Pottery Barn. They had them for Christmas; I can see the color working quite well in the springtime.


When we arrived home, I was thrilled to discover a package from the lovely katybird. I was thrilled to find a pair of red flats; I've been obsessed with red shoes, and wanting more flats. Perfectness!

a surprise package


you make me wanna link-link!

I have no idea why Ashlee Simpson's "la-la" is stuck in my head, but it is. Hopefully the above title will exorcise it? Even if it doesn't, here are a bunch of lovely links to help you through the weekend. I won't be here; I'll be in Toledo watching "Phantom of the Opera" courtesy of my father and sisters (tonight) and maybe visiting H&M (tomorrow morning). And on the drive I'll be knitting like a madwoman; I'm making a baby shower present right now and it's just so cute I can't stop. I'll post pictures when it's finished and given; I think the mum reads this. Anyway, on to the links! (That sounded very golf-ish, somehow.)

And that's not much, but it's all for today, because I'm tired of typing and would rather knit. Have a lovely weekend, all! Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow evening with pictures of our lovely adventures.

a lovely read

I recently picked up The Little White Horse, a book that was one of my favorites when I was younger. Now I remember why. Elizabeth Goudge is an excellent writer, but her childrens' books are simply magical. I can see all the scenes unfolding in front of me in technicolor, and I want to step inside the story. This is a fairytale of the sweetest sort, of family and love, and, above all, character. People are valued for their hearts and differences in appearance are cherished. It's truly sweet in the finest sense.

the new yellow coat makes its debut

the yellow coat goes on an outing
I love my coat. If it had all its buttons I would seriously consider wearing it as a dress. But alas, since it dosn't, I'll content myself with throwing it over artful layers and affecting that jaunty "casually unbuttoned in the dead of winter because I LIKE it this way" look.
For what it's worth, this outfit started as something much more pedestrian, involving no striking black and white OR red lips. Aren't we all glad I had a last-minute change of heart? The red lipstick, I confess, is an homage to le Porkchop, since she doesn't think I wear glamour often enough.
The dress is a bit more square than I usually wear, leaving me waistless. However, it's houndstooth, which is just ineffably cool. And it has those super-cool black panels on the sides that make me look narrower. Maybe. I'll keep telling myself that.

black and white houndstooth vintage dress: thrifted
black and white vintage necklace on left wrist: flea market
white bangles on right wrist: ebay
black turtleneck: thrifted
awesomely wild black tights: ebay
black boots: christmas gift
yellow leather coat: thrifted
red lipstick: Red Lizard by NARS


design for the masses

Graham & Brown now at Target! At $49.99 for an 11 yard roll, these coverings aren't as cheap as paint, but their bold, modern, and somehow classic designs are sure to add a punch to any area, wether it's a room, closet interiour, or back of a bookcase.
Link via Apartment Therapy.

a great place for inspiration

awesome stenciling lovely wallpaper
cool neutrals princessy bedroom
All from the galleries at domino magazine.

what she wore on Wednesday

shaking up the status quo? I started with the tights and went from there. The light purple sweater was one of the few things that went with them, but a sweater OVER a tshirt is so overdone, so I switched things up a bit. I love the way it looked; unfortunately I had to wear the scarf all day because it was so cold in the office.
lavender sweater: thrifted
striped tshirt: wet seal
skirt: thrifted
burgundy tights: thrifted
black clogs: ebay


posts that inspired me today


the latest batch of thrifty goodness

A big stack of Perry Mason mysteries. (Cloth bound, of course.)
stack of perry mason mysteries
My splurge of the decade: a yellow leather coat. (It makes me so, so happy!)
my yellow coat!
My mysterious funeral-esqe hat
new hat

if this picture is any guide, I've been eating too many lemons

love that granny dress! Except I haven't, but I have a limited number of facial expressions and apparently we're now getting to the pained category.
I picked this dress up yesterday at the salvation army for $1.50, and I'm madly in love. I adore the brown/black/gray, the fact that it's knit, and especially the construction of the neckline. I think I would like it better with my wide black belt, but I couldn't find it this morning.
vintage dress: thrifted
gray tights: ????
black boots: christmas gift
silver chain belt: thrifted

looking strangely christmassy

I look like a Christmas present, but it's a little late for that (What I wore Sunday morning.) Love the drape on the neckline of this sweater; added the belt as an afterthought and turned it backwards for a bit of a twist. Would have loved the look more had the sweater not shed everywhere.
sweater: thrifted
black tank: walmart?
red belt: clearance at a department store a couple of years ago and not worn until now (!)
black skirt: thrifted
black heels: marshalls

ignoring the readers since 1981

You do realize that yesterday was a federal holiday, right? And since I'm officially a state employee I had the whole day off. I nearly peed myself when I heard; I've NEVER had a job with these randomly paid holidays. So I spent the day sleeping in and hanging out with le sister-in-law. Which meant, of course, that we went thriftstoring. Among the deliciousness I acquired was a fabulous black net hat, a cream mohair tam, and not one but TWO coats, both...bright yellow. And one is vintage leather. How awesome is that? I can't believe I bought it (it was $20, and that's a lot for me to pay for anything) but it was so incredibly perfect I couldn't help it. Don't worry, pictures coming soon.
So tonight I'm off to SnB. I'll get a picture post up later, though, I promise.



The Fall 2006 issue of Knitscene. Seriously, on that project list there are at least 9 that I would love to knit. Nine! There usually aren't that many in a BOOK!

you knew that at SOME point I actually had to make a post, right?

We just weren't sure how long it would take. So I bring you...randomness.
  • I want to knit this scarf. Maybe even in that yarn, if I could actually wear yellow next to my face. Which I can't. But I do want to try the malabrigo; I've heard it's luciously soft.
  • On the subject of yellow: I don't know what started my obsession, but I've convinced myself that I want a bright gold-yellow skirt made out of dotted swiss. Finding the fabric in the perfect shade is proving tricky, though. Maybe I'll try dyeing?
  • I love these dresses and now want to either thrift or make one.
  • Fire out of the fireplace! Pyros, take notice.
  • Oooooooo. Lovely pictures. I'm admiring the intense colors.
  • This isn't even a real website but I want to print it out and hang it on my inspiration wall. The gold jacket? Perfect.
  • sudden sharp intake of breath
  • So much better than a slipcover. I really want to try this.
  • Charming fabrics. And the best part? The line is called "lightening bugs." Loves it!

currently obsessed with

Black and white interiors

The color yellow

Sunburst mirrors