Here's to a Happy Holiday Season!

May it be filled with:

Beautiful music:

Good food and drink:
Source: afarnum.com via Kinfolk on Pinterest

Perfect weather, wherever you are:

via modernhepburn

photo via Dharma Rain Zen Center

And friends and family of all kinds.
via brown dress with white dots
via vineet kaur


Local Luxury

Was having some discussion about the idea of luxurious "things". To some, it's something expensive, to others it's the name associated with the thing. I keep coming back to Bruce Sterling: "It's not bad to own fine things that you like. What you need are things that you GENUINELY like. Things that you cherish, that enhance your existence in the world. The rest is dross."

On that note, here's a short wish list of gorgeous things, all sourced from local (Portland) artists.

Strasbourg Birds scarf from PauperVoile (Jason Kinney)

Olo's Violet Leather perfume

Large Camden bag from Sara Barner

The Spark Dress from filly designs.


How to Avoid Work

Wonderful post from Brainpickings.org-- go read the whole thing!

Here's Maria Popova's introduction:

“There is an ugliness in being paid for work one does not like,” Anaïs Nin wrote in her diary in 1941. Indeed, finding a sense of purpose and doing what makes the heart sing is one of the greatest human aspirations — and yet too many people remain caught in the hamster wheel of unfulfilling work. In 1949, career counselor William J. Reilly penned How To Avoid Work (UK; public library) — a short guide to finding your purpose and doing what you love. Despite the occasional vintage self-helpism of the tone, the book is remarkable for many reasons — written at the dawn of the American corporate era and the golden age of the housewife, it not only encouraged people of all ages to pursue their passions over conventional, safe occupations, but it also spoke to both men and women with equal regard.


Cheap Chic

As an art student in the late 1970s, I happened across a paperback book called Cheap Chic by Caterine Milinaire and Carol Troy. I had discovered my style bible, eventually transforming it into a tattered and dog-eared thing with the corners of my favorite pages folded down. A decade later, I let it go during a misguided fit of decluttering. I've regretted it ever since.

Long out of print, it now sells for ridiculous amounts at Amazon. I wish I could find it again, not because it's worth so much cash, but because the lessons it taught me are still creative and exciting. This book was the real deal.

Cheap Chic was all about the principles of style. No strict rules (this was the 70s, after all), but full of lessons about embracing individual style (something of a new concept at the time), having fun with clothes, and being frugal about it at the same time.

Thanks to the blogs Notes to a Mouse and Mrs. Gorman, I can re-visit this treasure trove. From my favorite chapter on "Classics":
Sometimes Cheap Chic boils down to spending much more than you feel you can afford on the kind of classic, quality clothes we talk about in this chapter. We think it saves money in the long run. . . . There are still certain things you shouldn't fudge on no matter how cheaply you dress: the very best boots, a sturdy bag, a glorious jacket or shirt. You can't afford cheap boots that will last a year and then crack across the sole. If you had loads of money you could; but since you don't, spend your money where it shows the most.
This defined my fashion philosophy. Looking back, I see that it was exactly in line with what my blue-collar parents taught me: buy the best you can afford and only buy what you need, then take excellent care of what you have. They also lived by a folk saying (Scandinavian, I think): "Poor people can't afford cheap shoes". I remember my father polishing his sturdy black leather work shoes to a beautiful gloss every Sunday night. I often do the same: on Sunday nights I get the urge to clean and polish my shoes, de-fuzz sweaters, and repair anything that needs a few stitches. It's very satisfying.

My favorite style muse in Cheap Chic was Ingeborg Day and her "Cost-per-Wear" system. An enthusiastic student, I studied her style carefully and tried to emulate it as best I could:

Top photo from Style Bubble, bottom photo from Mrs. Gorman

I also fell madly in love with the look of this traditional French jeweler's smock. When I was living in Italy in my late 20s, I made a trip to Paris and-- miracle of miracles-- found one at La Samaritaine. I was thrilled, even though the chic sales assistant was utterly puzzled as to why I would want such a thing. I wore it with a long black skirt underneath and a beautiful wool Fair Isle vest on top.

Find the clothes that suit you best, that make you feel comfortable, confident, sexy, good looking and happy ... and then hang onto them like old friends ... Nobody knows better than you what you should wear or how you should look. (quote via Last-Year Girl, who has another nice post about CC.)

Why some brilliant publisher doesn't re-issue this, I don't know. I can only hope and wait.


DIY Cleaning Products

 via boingboing.

When my kids were little and I had mountains of laundry, I made my own laundry detergent. It was a pain (grating soap, adding ingredients at the right time and "cooking" the mixture) and the end result wasn't very elegant. But it was cheap and it worked. I stopped making it years ago, though. Even though my laundry has decreased dramatically, I may still try this recipe (see below), as it's a powder and doesn't involve cooking.

Currently, I make my own dishwasher detergent (I've been using the same recipe given in boingboing link, given below). It's easy and works better than the Trader Joe's powder I was using.

I use Mrs. Meyer's All-Purpose cleaner, diluted, for general cleaning; and I've always used the vinegar and water mix for glass. I also use plain white vinegar (with a drop or two of scented essential oil if I want to get fancy) for a fabric softener in the washing machine.

Dishwasher detergent:

  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt (for scrubbing action)
Use 1 Tbsp per load (you can use a heaping tablespoon if you feel the need, but we do not).
Each batch yields 24 ounces of detergent. We recommend storing in a container you were going to dispose of anyway, like an old yogurt container or coffee can you can fit it under your kitchen sink. Feel free to double the batch, or multiply to create any amount you’d like.
For a DIY rinse agent, simply fill the compartment with white vinegar.

Laundry Detergent:

Homemade Laundry Detergent
Jabs says this is a great first project, “because the recipe that we have for homemade laundry detergent is just 3 simple ingredients. It’s soap — just a bar soap — grated, and mixed with a cup of borax and a cup of washing soda…You just use 2 tablespoons per load. So it’s that simple and it saves so much money.” Matt says most families can save hundreds of dollars a year with this recipe alone.

Credit.com (http://s.tt/1v2Zc)

Source: remodelista.com via LB on Pinterest


RIP Dave Brubek

You can listen to another performance and an interview here.