Pretty indoor flowers on a Saturday morning. Getting ready to plan our garden today. What are you doing this weekend?
Pretty indoor flowers on a Saturday morning. Getting ready to plan our garden today. What are you doing this weekend?
It’s starting to get colder out. It seems as though Katie got snow, and I believe we got our first frost here. Yesterday I stripped all the tomato plants of their green tomatoes, and gave the flowering ends odd looks, and brought in all the summering indoor plants plants. It is definitely fall here now, and next week Hallowe’en. So in honour of the holiday of candy, the season of bright leaves and cool breezes, we will explore graveyards!
First up, the historic Highgate Cemetery in London, England. This oozes a historical Victorian-Gothic-garden look and feel and I would love to visit this place. The cemetery was built in 1839 to help deal with the rising death rates coinciding with the growing population pushing past 1 million. The cemetery overlooks the city and quickly became fashionable. Notable residents include George Eliot and Karl Marx.
Another gorgeous, sad and slightly disheveled, photo here.
Highgate’s landscape is full of gothic buildings and monuments, filled with trees and wildflowers and shrubs, which grow without human interferences. As a result it is rich with wildlife, including birds and small animals. Its popular history includes an alleged resident, the Highgate Vampire, who haunted the cemetery in the 1970s.
Next up, the Natural Burial Movement. Has anyone else heard of the Natural Burial movement? It seems to be a newer trend, where bodies are buried free from embalming fluid, in simple plain pine (or biodegradable) caskets. The area surrounded the cemetery is naturally vegetated (surrounded by trees or meadow), necessitating minimal maintenance. I did see one link to DIY caskets that can be used as bookshelves during the interim, but I won’t be building one of those.
I personally find embalmed bodies upsetting on the viewing level. While It reinforces that a loved one is passed, it looks unnatural, which seems to upset me even more in what is already a fragile environment. I like the idea of a natural burial and a more wild garden like surroundings, but I also like the old look of tombstones.
What are your thoughts on old Victorian/Gothic cemeteries, or more current burial trends? Does anyone else want to visit Highgate Cemetery with me, and maybe afterward the catacombs in Paris? I promise we can hit a wine bar or two… or three?
It has started to get a bit cooler outside in the evenings, even though my prodigious tomato plan is unaware of this and continues to bloom and provide lots of cherry tomatoes. About two weeks ago I threw in the shovel (literally) and dug up my rosemary for it’s indoor wintering. The greenhouse lady said to take off a third of the roots from the bottom, and give it a similar haircut. I also kind of pruned and shaped it for good measure (and looks). Next to it is a very sad looking pot of lavender. Initially I had them sitting in their own dirt, but that started getting a bit messy, so I took out some glossed up ornamental rocks and really liked the result. I bought my fancy rocks from the dollar store.
My avocado plants really need some new pots, I think they are outgrowing these. Of course the ones I have my eye on are much too expensive, so I will wait. I also put these hens and chicks in a pot with tiny pebbles. Putting the fancy rocks in the planters was an easy thing to do, and visually it looks quite a bit nicer now.
Remember when I said I had a “curator uniform”? Well, the ensemble strikes again! And I didn’t even bother switching out the blazer.
Today I went with my awesome colleague L. to a high school career fair in a school the size of one of those islands Richard Branson owns. I was signed up to speak at three breakout sessions: Archaeology/Anthropology, Education and Science.
Because I work with artifacts, specimens and the processes of those fields, but am not a specialist in any of them (now, if there’d been a breakout session on “Awesome,” no problem), I figured I’d better look at least professional-ish as a way to trick those jaded teenagers into believing that I knew what I was talking about.
On second thought, perhaps the “Spy” pin wasn’t the best choice for conveying trustworthiness.
Overall, the sessions went really well. The summary of my talk in each session went something like this:
I’m passionate about archaeology/anthropology/education/science, but I didn’t want to be a traditional archaeologist/anthropologist/teacher/scientist. So I went into museums. Come and join us, all of you who are too indecisive/distractable to focus on one thing!
It was more eloquent than that, and I did meet quite a few students who were interested specifically in museum work. Yay! Sadly, the students weren’t nearly as interested in the fossilized dinosaur poop. Oh, youth.
This is me preventing the wind from pulling a “Marilyn” on me. After all, there are small children present.
Currently reading: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee, on the recommendation of the hasn’t-steered-me-wrong-yet Raych. However, I’m pretty sure it’s made me a cancer hyperchondriac. So there’s that.
Currently watching: Blame it on Fidel! I first saw this movie when The Rocket Scientist rented it as a way to practice the French he was teaching himself (darn you polyglots, how I envy your polyglottal ways!). It’s adorable, and just as good the second time around.
Need inspiration? Try these forecasted colours for Spring 2011, chosen by New York designers.
They look similar enough, so I’m going to say they’re interchangeable.
Instead of cleaning this spring, I’m trying to get rid of things that are unused. Yesterday I took the hard drives out of our two no longer used desktop computers and we brought them to the electronics recycling centre. Always remember – when disposing of computers, don’t leave them on the curb to be incorporated into landfill, bring them to an electronics recycling centre, and take out those hard drives first (they contain personal information!). These computers are a relief to have out of the house, because every time we move it was one trip for each computer tower, and one for the screens and keyboards.
I’ve been going through my clothing pretty consistently and picking things out slowly. We did some larger clothing donation purges this winter as well.
I am also trying to use up those remaining bottles of things. Finishing off toothpaste containers with small amounts of toothpaste, using the small amounts of shampoo in the multiple bottles of shampoo that were almost empty that you replaced and forgot about, finishing off body and hand lotion containers, using the rest of cleaning products before using new ones and transitioning into natural based cleaners. It is incredible how all these containers add up, and it will be good to use up all these things before buying new products. So far, things are going well and it is going on a month of trying to use up all these odds and ends.
These things really help, especially when we are thinking of moving in the next couple months. Moving is always stressful, from finding the perfect new place, budgeting, the whole shebang. So after looking at places today, we went to buy some wine.
Unfortunately this is not today’s daily style, which at the moment is made up of an orange t-shirt S got after climbing to the top of a large mountain in China. Very fashionable. But today is the self proclaimed provincial holiday of Family Day, so I will climb back into bed in a couple minutes and read before editing all my pictures from this weekend.
And now for an even older photo:
This is what happens when you upload pictures from all your digital cameras. And when you upload your more silly ‘fashionista’ pictures.
So, I’ve not really posted much lately, and it’s mostly because I’m feeling rather blah lately. It’s cold, (very) windy, gray and dreary here, and I’m finding my daily clothing is falling into a jeans + sweater pattern. I have a lot of nice sweaters (thanks Mom!), but posting a series of jeans+ sweater combinations is not exactly compelling stuff. Add to that a liberal sprinkling of schoolwork, a good dash of background stress (realizing that you should be doing your qualifying exam in 5 or 6 months? Very stressful.) and a heaping pile of indignation at the realization that this city’s reputation for lousy winters is warranted, and stylish dressing is not at the forefront of my daily routine. Blogging is a good incentive, though, and the weather’s supposed to marginally not horrible (I never thought I’d insist that -10 degrees is skirt weather, and it’s not, really, but it’s as good as I’m going to get here) for the next couple of days, so I am hereby announcing to the internet that I will wear at least one postable outfit in the next three days. And post it.
Remember how in a surprising turn of events, I won a hat? Well it arrived, and while my outfit today was decidedly “roll out of bed too late, have five minutes to eat breakfast and get dressed before I go crashing out the door to class” with a good dash of “I need to do laundry”, I’ve been sporting it around the house all day! It was snowing, so I didn’t want to wear it outside and get it soggy. It’s great, and it fits perfectly! Thanks again, Clare!
Unfortunately, every picture my charming photographer took looked at least somewhat, and often completely, ridiculous. I am less than photogenic, so I’ve quite a habit of looking deliberately goofy as a cover for my lack of photogeneity. This is less than helpful for blogging, as I am not tremendously inclined to post pictures of me doing a silly dance on the internet. The problem is, this is one of the less ridiculous looking pictures! Perhaps I need a new photographer, a better camera (the response time on my camera is ridiculously slow), or both.
I think this hat would look really good with a couple of my sundresses (which, sadly, are not entirely practical for wearing these days). Or paired with a cardigan and a floaty skirt, perhaps, and wedge shoes. Do you have other suggestions?
As for the t-shirt, I silk screened it myself a few years ago. I sometimes feel a bit self-conscious wearing it (it’s a linguistic, scientific, AND culinary play on words, and as such is rather dorky), but I get such a kick out of the sheer nerdiness of it that I wear it anyway.
Also, look how pretty it was here this afternoon! I love the look of big fat snowflakes falling, and this picture (taken out my kitchen window) doesn’t do it justice. And admittedly the buildings behind around mine are not entirely picturesque.
- Collared shirt – The Bay, I think?
- White tank top – unknown
- Black skirt – thrifted
- Black sweater tights (unseen but wonderful) – thrifted
- Blue striped scarf – from Sarah, from Spain
- Gold and pearl pin – from Katie
I’m thinking I should label the clothes that I’ve had for ages and forgotten where they came from as archaic. This is perhaps unhelpful, because a good half of my clothes fall into that category. Anyhoo, these are my snazzy (too long and thus potentially fire hazardous) living room curtains, which I need to re-hem so they don’t drag on the heater. Again, I’m asking for feedback about the scarf wearing method — does it work? I think so, but what say you?
Also, you can’t see them in the picture because I’m having a hard time finding a well-lit space in my apartment where I can take a good full-length shot of me. Granted the bottom half of this outfit was pretty boring, but still. This is compounded by the fact that this apartment is esthetically very bland, since the walls are all white and there were no nails in the wall when we moved in late last summer. I’d merrily put more nails in if the walls already had some, or use the ones that are there, but I already had enough qualms about hanging up curtain rods and coat hooks, so I feel like a whole bunch more nails is not going to happen. So the bookcase looks at least mildly interesting, but getting a full length shot is tricky, and I have to crop out the kitchen table.
But this wasn’t intended to be a grouch-fest about my apartment, but a ringing endorsement for my sweater tights! I got a pair, whith doubts about how useful they’d be, and it was totally worth it! I can wear skirts to school on warm-ish days (coldest I’ve tried so far is a bit below -10; -5 counts as warm for this time of year), and this expands my rather limited wardrobe considerably. Fabulous all way around!
It’s cold here. I’m starting to quasi-forget how to dress for winter, because I live in a place only quasi has it. Sure it snows, and it’s windy and can get quite cold, but we also have over 300 days of sunshine a year and the snow and wind and cold don’t tend to stick around too long after they show up.
Well, the cold that we have right now doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon, so it’s time to try my hand again at winter dressing. Millie wrote a fabulous post on the subject a few days ago, so that’s ground (icy, treacherous ground) that doesn’t need to be recovered. However, the weather problems I have today are slightly different that I suspect the other Interrobangs are.
You see, since I live someplace that is more often warm (and by warm I mean mid-weight winter jacket and you’re good to go), buildings aren’t always set up to keep you nice and toasty once you’re indoors. Since I knew my plans for the day included sitting in a poorly heated office in a 100+ year old building where the bathroom feels like a freezer and then walking across town to sit in a poorly heated library to do research, I needed an outfit that would keep me warm both indoors and out. Let the layering begin!
Now, it may not look like much (in part because the lighting in my apartment is rubbish), but this outfit is specifically designed to keep me warm indoors without melting me into a puddle, and keep me padded outdoors in case I slip on a frozen puddle.
Take that, freezing cold library.
Most of the Interrobangs live in less than tropical climates, but a quick look at the weather forecasts indicates that I live in the coldest (at least this week) by at least 10 degrees. Having been back to Southern Ontario over the holidays, I suspect I also have the most snow by probably about a half a foot. It is dreary here, and cold. Now, my USB cord is still missing in action (or inaction, more accurately) so I can’t actually put any photographic evidence of how I deal with this horrid winter business, but I suspect that there’s room for more than one post on winter dressing.
So, the basics: I have a giant coat, mitts, boots, gloves, hat, and scarf. The mitts themselves are less than exciting, but wool mitts with lining are crucial. None of this acrylic stretchy nonsense, and nothing thinner than half an inch. Same with the hat: I have a striped toque that makes me look even dorkier than I already do that I inexplicably adore, but I do not adore the subsequent hat hair that I inevitably get. Five minutes with a toque and my hair is glued to my head for the rest of the day. So I followed Audi’s advice and got myself a black beret. I was skeptical, since as much as I love hats, they either look fantastic or awful on me and I thought berets would be in the awful category. Not so! I found a classic style with the little stem and everything and it looks fabulous, and it was pretty cheap too. Again, wool’s essential (but slightly itchy), and while this may be a big fashion faux-pas, but I find the ability to yank it over my ears is crucial, unfashionable or not.
Scarves…. oh how I love scarves. (Stay tuned for a tour of my scarves once the camera issue is fixed.) My winter coat is enormous (more on it in a moment), which really limits how huge of a scarf I can fit under it. Even in the dead of winter, I still wear only a light scarf, but even a thin spring scarf I find is enough to take the edge off the wind, which is all a scarf should nned to do I think. If you need the scarf to keep all of you warm rather than just keeping the wind out, you need a warmer coat! Bonus points if it’s silk — I find it’s the warmest and most wind-resistant, and plus it’s much a much nicer material than, say, polyester. Just say no to polyester!
Boots are essential but a frustrating topic to me. I’m a vegetarian, and I’m trying to avoid buying any new leather or suede goods, though I’ll still wear the ones I already have because there’s no point in getting rid of perfectly good clothing unless I don’t wear it anymore for other reasons (fit, style, etc). The problem is is that finding good stylish boots that aren’t leather is… difficult, to say the least. There’s plenty of stuff to discuss about shoes and boots, so again, stay tuned, there’ll be more posts about that. I have a pair of (unlined) knee high black boots from Novacas that I love, and a pair of those foil insoles make any pair of shoes more cozy. Knee socks are great, wool socks help too, but I’ve found that wearing a pair of knee socks over a pair of shorter socks is great for commuting — most of my commute is spent on public transit rather than outside. The two pairs of socks method is great because once I get to my office, I take off the outer pair (and try to be stealthy about it so my office-mate isn’t put off) and go on my merry way indoors. I overheat easily, so I’m a big fan of quickly (and socially acceptably!) sheddable layers.
The piece de resistance is my coat. It’s huge, took me over a year of (very sporadic) work to make, is bright green and white and is easily the warmest coat I’ve had. It’s wool (notice a theme here?*), but I lined the thick wool on all the pieces with flannel, and this seems to make an enormous difference. It’s hardly doable for the majority of you who aren’t making your own coats, but if you’re ever inclined, flannel flatlining as well as a coating lining (no nylon or acetate — use the stuff with the fuzzy back that I can never remember the name of) is the way to go. Also, add a hood even if the pattern doesn’t have it. Most retail wool coats aren’t warm at all, and I actually don’t recommend them. If you’re bent on it, have a good look at the wool itself and see have dense the fibres are: denser material will let less wind through and thus be warmer, but also tends to cost more and is harder to find. Try to get a coat that is at least mid-thigh length and buttons all the way to the bottom. My coat buttons all the way down, and I’m pretty sure this is the key to my coat’s warmth. Unfortunately, the vast majority of retail coats have buttons only to the waist or slightly lower. This post is getting rather long, but perhaps I’ll put up another one in a bit about switching the buttons or adding a zipper to make a coat close better, with the caveat that I’ve never actually done it myself because I just make my coats in the first place.
So, in a long-winded nutshell, that’s my take on winter outerwear. I’m clearly not the only person who lives in a cold climate who is posting about her wardrobe on the internet, and I haven’t said a peep about what I wear underneath. This post by The Freelancer shows just how elaborate you can need to be! I suspect that as cold as it is here, it’s colder in Helsinki. Her drawings are gorgeous, too. So, how do you deal with winter?
* For those of you saying “wool and silk are animal products — why aren’t you avoiding them?”, I’m a vegetarian, not a vegan. I eat eggs, cheese, and milk, and I have no big issue with wool or silk. My ethics of consumption are sort of a work in progress, so this may change. I will certainly talk about it here, because I think there’s a lot of interesting things there that are worth discussing, and there’s an awful lot more to it than just “I don’t eat or wear animals”.