Thursday, July 24, 2014

Just another tiered skirt

Working my way through the Spring Wardrobe Fabric Stash... I got 'round to sewing up the white-rose tiered skirt.  It goes with three (at least) of my blouses and most of my tanktops.

It came out a bit fluffier than my last skirt did.  I wanted more fluff at the hem and seem to have more at the top too!  (I really like a *lot* of fabric at the hem of my tiered skirts - it's like I'm wearing nothing at all, they hold really far away from my legs, and I have loads of room to move around).

 It took me a while to figure out which embroidery stitch I'd use to hem and finish the gathers - somehow this print didn't work with most of the usual suspects.

This is my Zyla "tranquil color" - the color I'm supposed to turn to at the end of a long day, or when I need to chill out and center generally.  We'll see if I find myself reaching for this skirt at those times.  For now, I'm pairing it with an aqua tanktop while I start my day.  Tiered cotton skirts are workhorses in my life all summer long - they're cool, they're comfortable, they launder easily, and they help me look put together effortlessly.  And now I have three... :)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Visual Discord: Or why I'm such a bossy wench about your clothes

Sometimes I can be the teensiest bit bossy about other people's clothing and color choices.  It's probably annoying, unless you have me along to shop with you, in which case it's annoying until you see yourself in the mirror.  (More than one victim has had this experience, although it's been a while).

The reason that I'm like this is that I see color very well, and I am emotionally affected by it.  Some colors make me very unhappy, some colors please me to no end.  That is a common experience - although mostly people don't notice how they feel around color.  I do.  It's like loud noises - everyone gets stressed out by loud noise, but some more than others.  (Put me on the "highly annoyed" list).

When I see a woman wearing the wrong colors or a style that doesn't work with her self, it's like someone hit the wrong note on a piano.  It makes me flinch.  It's not the woman wearing the clothes.  It's whatever is on her - be it makeup, hair, or whathaveyou.  It's not even me being judgy (although it can lead me there if I'm not careful).  It's just out of sync.  Irritating.

If I had my way, I'd have an army of seamstresses in my back pocket and limitless resources, and I'd just make people new wardrobes as I got to know them.  Really.  If you know me and you're female, it's probable that I've sat around mentally dressing you.  (Hopefully this is less creepy than the guy who mentally undresses you).  I guess I never grew out of playing Barbies.  /shrug.

I can get a good lock on your general season pretty quickly, getting a lock on your best colors takes a few hours and some trial and error, and style a bit more than that - I have to get to know you, and know you in more than one venue.  Reserved or playful?  Soft or efficient?  Do you need all eyes on you - or do you prefer a little space?  But I will play with it unless you stop me.  And until I get it nailed, it will bug me.

You.  Go put on some chocolate colored velvet.  Shoo.  Now you?  Slip into some jeans and a buttondown - stat.  Oh - you're gorgeous.  Here's some leaf-green chiffon.  Yes, wear it to the luncheon.  Go on.

It's like every woman I see is just a symphony waiting to play... if I could just.get.over.there.and.fix.that.hemline..........

So.  I'm bossy.  I know I'm bossy.  But - it's only because I love you.  You're beautiful.  Let's let your beauty OUT.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Modest Swimwear in the Ocean

I have a slightly different take about modest swimwear than most of the people writing about it seem to.  Personally, I think people participating in an activity that are clearly dressed to participate in that activity appear more modest than otherwise.

Thus, I have no digs with the women's Olympic swim team.  They are there to swim.  Of course they look nice - they're healthy young women wearing more-than-skintight clothing.  But they aren't in those clothes for attraction, they're there for a reason.

I have been able to bodysurf a bit this year, my kids have finally gotten big enough they don't have to be hand held every second in the surf.  I wear a slightly skirted suit from Target with a rashguard... basically I'm wearing a micromini with a sleeveless tshirt.  I've previously noted that the skirt - even though it is fairly form-fitting - will drift up eventually.  (This is okay, there's a suit under it).  But the other day when I caught a wave, the skirted portion of my suit made it up to waist height.  Still a suit underneath, I wasn't breaking any laws (and anyway as a native Cali girl, my attitude is "put it back on and get on with your day"), but it made me SERIOUSLY question the true modesty of a skirted suit in the ocean.

I guess it makes sense.  My dad was always death on any slightest hint that I might want to wear a tshirt into the water.  He considered that a one-way trip to the morgue - ocean water catches extra material like a sail, and thick knit is heavy when waterlogged, which is another reason to avoid it.  My rashguard isn't a problem - some of that is the material, and some of that is that it's reasonably fitted.

But if you're bodysurfing, you're presenting your lower half to the force of the water - that force is what drives you to the shore.  If I'd ever stopped to think about it, of COURSE the water is going to get up under any skirted thing and rearrange it.

Fortunately I've never gotten around to making a swimsuit for myself.... I think my course just got corrected.

For the rest of you shopping?  I'd recommend board shorts and a rashguard over whatever swimsuit you like.   But no extra fabric ... it's *not* modest, being disrobed by forces of nature is never modest.  ;)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Smoked Chicken Salad w/Cashews and Peaches

I should think with my mouth more often.... :)  This was really good - well, at least *I* thought it was the bomb.  The minions seem to have accepted it.  DH is still at work, so ... results to follow.

We smoked three chickens on Friday... the smoke flavor really adds a nice contrast to the peaches.


Make a basic chicken salad, only use smoked chicken if you can.  (Celery, scallions, onion, mayo, celery seed, salt/pepper).

Toast some roasted/salted cashews, and slice one large peach/person.  Tear up some lettuce.

Serve the chicken salad on top of the lettuce, next to the peaches, top with toasted cashews, still warm from the pan.  Crack some fresh black pepper over the top of all.  (Peaches and pepper are nice).


Saturday, July 12, 2014


I've been thinking about color theory a lot lately.  Between the Zyla system based on your skin/eye/hair colors and the (original only) Color Me Beautiful seasonal system, I think we find the land of truth.  Add in some personality and your overall brightness/contrast/blended portfolio - and color is nailed.

I really hate the various 12 season color analyses.  I think they're limited (get rid of many useful colors) and inaccurate.  What they reflect accurately though is that the original color schemes are very broad - too broad for most folks to look good in all the colors.

I like the Zyla system where you look at your body for your colors.  When I did that, the colors that I am naturally drawn to really popped out at me - and some of the "why do I bother" colors fell off my radar.

When you're looking at the colors that are your very best colors, all the colors should work together.  I pulled these things from my closet today - I made most of them, but over the course of over two years.  Notice how all the blues and the greens blend together, and the red and the peaches/pinks are so similar that you can hardly tell where one garment stops and another starts.

And that's how your real colors work - you can hardly see where the groups of colors change when they're all together.  All of *your* greens have about the same amount of yellow or blue in them... and the other color just gets a bit more intense (green is blue+yellow).  Like I wear greens from a just-a-bit blueish green and you add blue until you end up with a bright navy.  (Never a grey navy for me, although you can jump the other side of that rainbow and add a touch of purple to get midnight blue, which is nice).  So you ask me what color of pink I wear, I say, "warm pink" - and I do.  From a fairly light color all the way to geranium red (which is a clear warm red with a pink cast), warm pink is me.  Which warm pink?  Um.  Yes?  

I can wear blueish greens or clear greens that don't have a blue-green note - but I don't wear them near my face.  They harmonize with my colors but they aren't in my CMB season - and they don't look good on me.   Or at least they don't look as good on me as "my colors" do.  I'll use them as a neutral sometimes though - I find that a pine green looks wonderful as a skirt or in a print.  (Not surprising - pine green with all that pink and red and ivory is *very* floral, and flowers are my friends).  

Neutrals and the Zyla system are interesting.  For instance, he claims that the darkest color in your hair is a good second-base neutral for you.  For me, that's darkest brown.  Um.  No.  Brown browns me out - my skin looks muddy and I look boring in brown.  But that's how I roll for all the neutrals, excepting bright navy (which is honestly more of a color than the grey-navy or black-navy that we see as neutral).  But - when I look in my wardrobe, I find that I have purses and belts and shoes in that warm dark brown - and that they look awesome.  So what is more important - following something else or just giving a listen and seeing how true it is?  B!  (I've opened my eyes to perhaps someday owning a skirt or vest in that shade of brown - I think it might be nice.  But I still hate flat-brown-dye, so the perfect shade will probably be a long time in showing up.)  (All of the same commentary here goes for the golden-wheat tone that he calls my casual neutral, although it muddies me up less than dark brown and I am more likely to wear it as a jacket).

The various 12 season systems say that people who wear my extreme colors can wear black.  Not true!  I don't look good in black, even as an accessory.  It's far too harsh for my coloring, and I look out of balance.  It amps up my bright colors, where I prefer to ground them.  (I thought I could wear black away from my face until my MIL took a picture of me in my favorite green jade shirt and a black pair of pants.  Ugh.)  What color is "my black"?  Charcoal grey - and that's the darkest color that belongs on my body.  

So I know what my very best colors are (I have a pinboard for my colors)... but what about colors other than blue, green, pink, red and ivory?  Can anyone wear any color?  I think we can.  I think there is a shade of all the colors that looks at least okay on everyone - but I'd like to see us make a difference between our top tier colors and the second string.  Zyla helps you nail your top tier - CMB can help you find your second string colors.  Should you buy a blouse in the second string colors?  Err... maybe not.  But it would look nice in a print or an accessory.   (If I was a proponent of disposable clothing I'd say, "go for the blouse" but frankly I've gotten rid of too many second-string colored shirts to encourage you to buy one).

And then we start talking about how our personality affects the colors we choose.  I like my top tier - but I like them soft and grounded.  Romantic and natural, in other words!  I bring in pine green with my pink and red, which reads "rosebush" if anything does.  I wear my blues and greens together, which reads "water".  All my stuff is tied to the natural world, which is just how I like it.  I have an autumn friend who needs bright colors and high contrast to lift her spirits - fortunately her dark brown hair and denim-blue eyes lend themselves to this - she looks great in the colors of a fiery ocean sunset.  Orange and teal and brown.  

Your most fabulous colors are highly individual - but you can use systems set up for "just anyone" to get there.  Let us play!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sewing Post + "Old Task Accomplished #2"

I love to make things for my BFF... but procrastination lives, you know?

I've had this fabric in my stash for at LEAST a year if not more.  She's forgotten it, I think....

It's a simple tiered skirt.  As is my wont to finish the seams on these skirts, I put in a row of embroidery stitching on the seams.  This time I used a contrasting thread - you can see the black, yes?  I went through half my stitches to find the right one for this pattern.  It echoes the birdcages, I think.  Yes, I have a problem.  LOL.  But this method gets soooo many compliments, and it's so simple!

The skirt is partially lined, since the fabric is quite sheer and BFF doesn't have a ton of slips (besides it's a casual skirt).  So - inside there are two more tiers, which aren't quite the same length as the ones on the outside.  They a) cover the seams on the inside and b) give some extra volume to the skirt as a whole.

I hope this suits BFF - it should, cream and black are a lovely combination on her auburn haired, cream skinned, black-eyelashed self.

And one less thing on my conscience!  :D

Monday, July 7, 2014

Be yourself... and be baffled

Lately everyone who interacts with me tells me how funny I am.

This is odd.

I'm trying for "moderately amusing".  So to be told that I'm hilarious for what I consider an upbeat and different way to approach normal interaction is surprising.  One of the ushers laughed out loud at me in church the other night... I just sort of blinked.  It's good that I brought him joy, but I was aiming at charm.  (It was happy laughter, not mockery, and I'm tots happy he was happy but... I really didn't think it was that funny.  All I did was curtsy... gee... not my fault that the greeter curtsied back.  All 6'5" of him...)

It's a little sad that trying for charming and sweet throws you waaaaay over the line into "OMG that's hilarious".

Can I admit that something holding me back from doing the whole eye-contact with humans thing is that I'm a little afraid of how they're going to react to me?   Obviously I'm unused to much of it and when I get tired it's too much.  But the other thing is - if I look at them, I can see how they're reacting to me, both positively and negatively.  Staring at their chins or shoulders or hands doesn't get me in trouble like that.

And really?  Aren't any other women girly anymore?  Surely my penchant for flowers and gestures and smiles doesn't make me unique?  I'm not exaggerating myself, I'm just *being* myself.  I'm not empty-headed, I'm just chipper.  I like being happy, it's so much less unpleasant than the other options.  Anyway half of those other options are sins (particularly without reason).  And being feminine is FUN.  Lots of fun.

I am working on transparency, and honestly it's much less work than creating a persona.  The real me is silly and sweet and has observed behavior patterns that you would rather she not have - but won't mention them unless it comes up.

Heart's desire - there's a passage in the Great Divorce that describes who I'd like to be in Heaven.  Not so much the entourage, but the reason *for* the entourage:  Chapter 12... the lady, Sarah Smith:  "Love shone not from her face only, but from all her limbs, as if it were some liquid in which she had just been bathing."  "...because the invitation to all joy, singing out of her whole being like a bird's song on an April evening, seemed to me such that no creature could resist it."  (Speaking of transparency, and I blush at this - I know I'm not there.  But *oh* how I'd love to be that person.  Joy bringer, light bearer, shining love to all... )

Anyway.  I don't *think* I'm the only woman whose heart sings that song... surely I'm not.  But the more I'm like myself, the more intensely people react to me, and ... it's odd.

Talk to me?