Saturday, February 28, 2009

Thought for the Day February 28

"Clothes make the [wo]man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."

Mark Twain

Friday, February 27, 2009

Should I Keep My Blog Going? YES

I dreamed last night about losing something I loved. I didn't know when I started blogging that I'd get emotionally attached to the results of a bunch of electronic blips on screen. What I'm really attached to is creating something. Indecisive creative that I am, I've dipped my toes in arts of many types. I was a finalist in a national fiction contest--once. I produced a nice botanical drawing--once. I published a poem--once.

This year I made a commitment to sticking with something. It had to be accessible; combine my love of writing, visual arts, connecting with other people; and be free. Welcome blogging.

Flightiness has led me to lose things before: a favorite coat; a term paper. But last week I lost all my posts to date--over fifty of them. Just gone into the blogosphere, ZAP. When I revisited the "Label Action" function this morning, I had to conclude that my posts were lost due to an error with the program--not me. The helper people at Blogger have confirmed that. Some people--apparently not all--have this bug in their accounts. And I'm one of them.
So, I don't trust the program. However, I'm going to continue, just be wiser. I really like doing this and feel connected to the lovely people who are also invested in this.

Last summer we vacationed in Washington state. At the begging of 11-year-old daughter, we drove through Forks, where the Twilight book series is based. My husband saw this sign on a local motel. The light's on the YES!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Restored Favorite Tree #1

Thanks to all the readers new and old who gave me wonderful comments on the Favorite Trees I had posted today. I can't get your comments back, but please leave new ones in the future.

Here's what my original Favorite Tree #1 post said:

Protege at Life, Work and Pleasure gave me a tag to do Ten Favorite Things that start with T. I groveled around until I realized how many of them have to do with trees. The trees in this and the next 9 posts are trees that mean a lot to me, mostly because of experiences I shared with loved ones in, on, or around them.

This one is my earliest favorite. It's my rendition of the apple tree in the backyard where I grew up. My sister and I spent hours there. The bucket is what we used to pull up our lunches. The sneakers (which kind of look more like boudoir slippers) represent us, up in the tree, barefoot.

Thanks, Protege!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Restored: The Differences Between Fashion and Style

Fashion is in the clothes. Style is in the wearer.
Fashion stuns. Style delights.
Fashion costs. Style is priceless.
Fashion is mindless. Style is intelligent.
Fashion is fascistic. Style is individualistic.
Fashion changes. Style evolves.
Fashion is matter. Style is spirit.
Fashion comes from outside. Style comes from within.
Fashion is self-conscious. Style is self-assured.
Fashion glares. Style glows.
Fashion is slavery. Style is mastery.
Fashion is literal. Style is original.
Fashion declares. Style insinuates.
Fashion is serious. Style is ironic.
Fashion is reproducible. Style is inimitable.
Fashion is safety. Style is courage.
Fashion is clothes. Style is character.
Fashion is this minute. Style is forever.
Fashion restricts. Style liberates.
Fashion is rigid. Style is spontaneous.
Fashion is surface. Style is substance.
From: Psychology Today, July 2005.

Restored: Elements of Design: Line II

Top to bottom: Jane Birkin, Madonna, and

Here are some easy ways to emphasize our natural vertical line and the "line of beauty" in the female form. These aren't "rules." Just ideas I've learned that work and help me feel good about what I'm wearing.

1. Choose simple, classic pieces in updated versions and without a lot of doodads that slow down the eye’s progression up and down the vertical line. All three of the examples above are doing this.

2. Pick a monochromatic or "tonal" combination for top and bottom (tonal means the pieces are the same darkness or lightness). This combination can be used like a backdrop for colors and more individual pieces. The model in the middle is doing this because her sweater and pants are the same color; but it would also work if she had dark jeans on.

3. Decorate only what we want to emphasize, because eyes will go there. I think especially with Madonna, our eyes go right to her hair.

4. Wear clothes that fit our individual body shape, and are neither clingy/tight, nor sacklike. Everyone above is doing this, of course, because they have stylists. They have vertical line, and you can see the line of beauty. Madonna's coat is cut to show her waist, and Jane Birkin has cinched in her pieces with a narrow belt. See my first post ever--"Do This First: Read The Pocket Stylist by Kendall Farr."

5. Notice our widest points and try not to emphasize them with horizontal lines. (On me, it’s my hips. This means my shirts don’t end right at my hips, creating a horizontal line there.)

6. Wear our pants long enough to hit instep, or longer if you want to wear heels. Madonna's pants are long and she has heels on, which also make her more vertical. Her pants are probably too long to be practical, but we can be aware of covering our socks.

7. That said, have socks match pants, not shoes. If pants and shoes are a similar tone this will also create a longer visual line.

8. Choose vertical accessories like a longer scarf or necklace.

9. Wear v-necks. Jane Birkin is doing this.

10. Have on hand a "skimmer"-type cover like a duster or long sweater. See black sweater from Garnet Hill above. This idea is one of my favorites, and one that got me through an entire winter of clothing identity crisis.

11. Be careful with horizontal stripes. They work on the model from Garnet Hill because they're small and her overall image is still vertical. I recently read that small horizontal stripes can actually draw the eye up and down and therefore are a good choice for creating a longer line. I ran right out and found a small-striped top at my favorite thrift store.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Thought for the Day February 17, 2009

Seen on Montana highway. How much scenery there is when we slow down enough to see it. Happy Tuesday!
(This is a restored post. All original comments were lost due to a programming error.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thought for the Day February 13, 2009

"I love people. I love my family, my children . . . but inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that's where you renew your springs that never dry up."

Pearl S. Buck

(this is a restored post. All original comments were lost due to a programming error.)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Restored: Colors That Flatter Everyone

Today I found a cashmere sweater at a thrift store while shopping with my sister. The sweater's a like-new turtleneck from Nordstrom's in a pretty teal color.

I don't normally buy this color, but I decided to throw the sweater into the five-dollars-a-bag bag when I remembered something I read a few years back. It's an article from Real Simple Magazine about colors that flatter every skin tone.

The colors are "true red," "Indian" teal, "mellow rose," and eggplant.

Here's what the article says:

"Some colors work for all skin tones and hair colors, because they fall into the middle of the color spectrum, meaning they're not too warm or too cool," says Leatrice Eiseman, author of The Color Answer Book (Capital Books) and director of the Pantone Color Institute (, the international authority on color.

The Pantone Color Institute site is also very interesting reading if you like color, or would like to know who the people are who decide what colors are going to be trendy next year in fashion and home decorating and stuff like that.

The 2009 "Color of the Year" is a brightish yellow-gold called "Mimosa." I'm not sure this color looks good on everyone--I know one person who won't be wearing it--but that's just me.

Moral of my story: With my new dark-framed bifocals, my cashmere turtleneck kind of makes me look like Velma from Scooby-Doo. It's not because of the color, though. I love the sweater. I that it cost me fifty cents. And I love the color: Indian teal.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thought for the Day February 4, 2009

"The truth will set you free,
but not before it's finished with you."

David Foster Wallace

(this is a restored post. All original comments were lost due to a programming error.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Groundhog Day or Candlemas?

Winter seems awfully long right now. The holidays are over, and real spring is two months away. The valley I live in is almost always covered in gray clouds that sit like a lid on our town.

Yesterday was February 2, or "Groundhog Day." This day is also the traditional British festival called Candlemas. It's the midway between the shortest day of the year and the equinox, and is called Candlemas because traditionally Christians lit candles to mark the formal end of the Christmas season.

I find it interesting that this week I'm especially antsy for something to change. Nothing in my closet this morning worked except black, so I went to my job in black. I sent a whiny email to a co-worker. I came home wanting to be taken care of by my family. The dirty snow in the streets was really starting to bug me.

When I remembered that this week is Candlemas, it all made sense.

Mostly what I want this time of year is color. Two years ago I asked my husband for a sky-blue fleece ski jacket for Christmas, because I know what happens in February. He, being the nice man he is, bought it for me. I didn't like the texture of it and I felt like a marshmallow, but I kept it anyway. The color makes me feel like the sun's shining even in the dark.

Next week I'll be working at the floral studio down the street for Valentine's Day. Every year when I do this, I inhale the scents and the colors and dream about them at night. There was a blizzard one year, but the panicky guys kept coming and coming, and we worked until after dark cranking out the rose dozens. I know these flowers come from South America mostly, and that the conditions for the workers aren't good. Even so, I allow myself to do this work every February because it lifts my spirits to be around the organic shapes, the colors, and the scents.

I found the beautiful scarf pictured above on Etsy and it made me happy today. The colors are just what I need: sky, early spring green, and yellow. The scarf is designed and made in Belgium by Acke and can be found on Etsy. Please visit her site.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Restored: Risk-Free Updates For Twyla Tweeners

“Twyla Tweener” is a name for all of us in this life stage between “young” and “old.” A lot of us feel or have felt it’s selfish or superficial to devote much time to our appearance. But we still care about it.

Here are some ideas I'm using as I leave my fashion past behind and live in the present. They aren't meant to be rules. But I needed some new ideas to help me feel good in my clothes as my body and life changes.

1. Make a new color combination from things you own. By new, I mean break a rule that’s maybe left over from the 1980s or 1990s. I like dark brown (“espresso”) with black or navy. I think it works best to do this with simple pieces like a t-shirt and jeans.

2. Reconsider dainty jewelry. Small works if it’s modern or classic, but cutesy or old-fashioned can look...old-fashioned.

3. Try the “Golden Ratio” applied to combining pieces: 60% non controversial or “boring” items, and 40% funky or creative.

4. Try this. Make an unbroken line with a well-fitting bottom and top of similar value. Then accessorize. It doesn’t feel like a formula if you wear pieces you like. I have to admit all-black seems slightly costumey to me, because it's a standard trick. The idea, I think, is to tweak a standard trick enough to feel individual.

5. Put thought into shoes. Try to find one pair in your closet that has style as well as practicality. Wear every day if necessary. I like sneakers for exercise only, unless they have some inherent style value, like Converse.

6. Have something to look at around your face. Glasses count as an accessory. One or two other things are enough, but I think four are too many. Color is good.

7. Try some white around your face. Lots of people have said this, and I agree. It looks good on everyone. I don’t, however, care for flipping one's collar up to elongate the neckline; I think it looks like flipping up your collar to elongate the neckline, because I don't see anyone else doing it.

8. Wear at least one makeup product. This is for those of us who are afraid of looking "done up."

9. Look for chunky accessories.

10. Put your hair in a style that puts most of the volume above your nose.

11. Cinch up bra straps.

12. Avoid decorations on body parts you don’t care for.

Have fun! And let me know how these work!

Some of these ideas originally came from Kendall Farr's book, The Pocket Stylist, or Sherrie Mathieson's book, Forever Cool. Some I made up myself.

(All the original comments for this post were lost.)