Fun Fridays: Two Pretty Lovebirds, Sitting In A Tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G

This cheerily coloured tee from the Shana Logic shop is perfect for running to the store, topping a skirt for a casual day or evening out, or just chilling around the house. It's a fitted tee - honestly, who wants any other kind? - with the sweet little lovebirds screenprinted onto it by creator Kid Pirate. Just $18, the 100% cotton tee comes in sizes from small to extra-large.

(There's a darling brushed sterling silver bird necklace as well, made by another artist - it features a simple bird etched into the silver pendant, and might make a cute accessory for top.)

Another fun one is the rainy day tee - artist Kid Pirate must have a Cute Overload IV stuck into her arm at all times.

Do have a wonderful weekend. We'll be putting in overtime at the house, since we actually move in a week from today. There was a minor mishap in the studio - namely, I decided I didn't like the green I'd chosen and will be doing all four walls in the green I'd chosen for the accent wall. The accent green (Behr's bright and invigorating "Honeydew", if I recall correctly) has a lot of yellow in it, and the other green was too blue and it just looked so strange. Fortunately, the second green, the one that's too blue, goes beautifully in the hallway, which I'd planned to be a soft green anyhow. Thus, my studio is unfinished but the hallway is done, so it all worked out. We'll have to get more paint tomorrow when we pick up the 40 sheets of drywall. ;)

Next week may have some sporadic posting due to the proximity to our move and the fact that my parents will be in town helping out - that, and our internet here at the apartment is being shut down Wednesday night! Rest assured I'll be back full force a week from Monday.

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Gather ye rosebuds while ye may...

I don't really wear a watch anymore, because if I need to know the time I've usually got my cellphone or car radio to tell me what time it is. The other reason I don't wear a watch is that they tend to be utiltarianly ugly, too nice, or perhaps worst of all, a bit juvenile.

All of that said, though, who would mind wearing a watch like this one from Moxie and Oliver? The brightly coloured hand-cut leather poppies (no roses, sorry for the misleading tease) riveted onto the dyed leather band turn what would otherwise be a very simple watch into something sweetly feminine. Despite my lack of attachment to wristworn timepieces, I have always liked square-faced watches, too.

Moxie and Oliver will size the band to fit your wrist, and they offer a snap or the traditional watch closure. $75.

I'm heading over to our house to paint my studio tonight (I decided on the pale lime green, if you remember the pictures stuck on the wall). We're actually moving in next weekend, and it's high time - all of my baking dishes are over there already, which mean I had to use my ingenuity to cook dinner tonight. ;)

Have a wonderful evening!

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Art From eeni-ren designs

I've been chatting with artist and life-coach Inna of eeni-ren designs via email recently, after I emailed her about pictures of her products to use here on Pretty/Modest. She's a Pittsburgh native (who lives in one of the coolest parts of town, to boot) who is quite fun to talk with, and her work is really wonderful, full as it is of unique beads and fashioned very artistically.

I originally chose these earrings a couple of weeks ago because they matched something featured the previous night, but she wasn't sure about the quality of the photos and whether they'd be good enough or not, and we got to talking about houses and Pittsburgh and photos, and you know how all that is. At any rate, these $32 earrings feature large green freshwater pearls - so pretty! - and two small white ones. Not only do I like the soft, gentle colours, the oval shape of the pearls is quite unique. Overall, the effect of the earrings, with the subtly flirty swirl of sterling silver beneath, is very sophisticated and refined but not at all stuffy or overly dramatic.

The other item I saw and had to feature is the Dreaming of Another Time reversible pendant, which I'm teasing you with by showing just one side of. Both sides feature delightful vintage portraits of lovely ladies, kept safe by glass covers and a hand-soldered frame. The chain is about 19.5" long, although you can get a different length if you like. Only $30, and there are several more on her what's new page.

Inna told me she's getting ready to revamp her shop with new pictures soon, but her site is plenty fine as it is (her logo is a fabulous tribute to Art Deco). Her show schedule and a list brick & mortar shops carrying her work are on her website as well in case you want to check out her work in person. Of course, any order over $50 ships free, so this is a wonderful opportunity to purchase a few things for yourself or your friends.

Have a wonderful evening!

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Oh My Gosh.

I have to tell you that my girlfriend Danielle would LOVE this, because she just loves Maneki Neko cats - not just because they're cute, but because she (a self-proclaimed Army brat) lived in Japan for some time and undoubtedly picked up on its influence.

This apron isn't exactly something you're likely to be wearing to the office or a dinner date, but it was too cute and fun to pass up. For the paltry pittance of $15, you can whip up supper, snacks or smoothies with kitties beckoning good fortune to you and your kitchen experiments. The apron has 4 pockets - trust me, when you are cooking in the apron, you'll appreciate them - and should fit just about everybody with its two 40" ties (an apron just isn't right when the back doesn't include a big, darling bow).

From Terryann Irasshaimase's shop, where you'll find equally dear aprons and other treats (from someone who, like my friend, also appears to be a military brat, based on her profile!). She makes not just aprons, but totes of all sizes, caps, and other household goodies.

Have a great night!


Fashionable Flowers

These pretty Go Dutch hairpins from Katie London's shop Sakura Kitty Creative have such elegant, simple style, don't they? Vintage Japanese butterfly charms and tulip cabachons have been mixed with Czech aurora glass and affixed onto a 3-inch silver plated bobby pin. They're only $7.75 and so lovely - sometimes you want a noticable bloom or funky pin in your hair, but on many days, something unassuming but still prepossessing. Even so, these are graceful enough that they'll work just as well for a delightfully romantic evening out as they will on a hectic Monday at the office.

Katie's shop is brimming with similarly wonderful treats, all very well-priced, making Sakura Kitty Creatives the perfect place to shop for yourself and for gifts for the ones you love.

Have a great night! We've finally scheduled an official move date - the 7th. It's going to be an exciting couple of weeks in our household.


Fun Friday: A Guard Dog For Your Sweater

Hooray, Friday is here! I have a whole weekend of pulling carpet staples from our wood floors to look forward to. ;) Thank goodness for radio and iPods, right? Of course, the Travers Stakes is tomorrow, and Street Sense is looking good, so I'll definitely be watching that no matter what happens. I hope you all have wonderful weekend plans, too.

Now, I know we've been doing Bakelite all week, but this is not Bakelite. However, it is a pretty fabulous piece and reminiscent of Bakelite, and it is a vintage piece from the 50s or 60s made of celluloid.

I've seen a lot of cute sweater guards in my day, but this greyhound and heart one has to be the best I've ever seen. A dark brown greyhound stands at attention at one end, and at the other end of his brass chain is a red and black heart bearing a rhinestone (the heart almost has a Valentine-y look, doesn't it?). In addition to holding your sweater onto you should you decide you want to wear your sweater sans arms, it would make a pretty brooch - and as you know, I'm a big fan of using brooches in places other than on sweaters! Just imagine the possibilities with this one... $15. If you work with any of the greyhound rescue groups (my favourite is ReGAP), this would be great to give as a gift to a fellow volunteer or to wear to group events, wouldn't it?

Seller Curvy Broad is happy to lengthen the hain for you if you think you'll need the extra length - right now, it's 3". Her shop is yet another full of vintage wonderfulness, and I'm sure you'll love it.

Have a great weekend!

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Perfect Loveknot

This is such a neat piece, isn't it? This Bakelite button has been mounted onto a ringbase to make a love knot ring you can wear anytime you like. The sparkly gold 'rope' is particularly interesting to me, as I've never seen sparkly Bakelite before. There shape of the knot vaguely hints at being a flower, so it's got that feminine edge (in general, rope knots are not something generally associated with women's accessories, are they?). The ring is only $6.50 from Green Thumb Designs. I found this one interesting because of its uncommon style, but there are plenty more available - an owl, a fluttery scarlet flower, and a really neat coral swirl-like flower atop a creamy cabachon.

The artist and owner behind Green Thumb Designs (she has a cute blog, too) is a mom of three, and her shop is her full time business and indeed, the sole support for her family; you can rest assured each order is completed with care because she truly appreciates each purchase very much. This is one shop with oodles and oodles of vintage wonderfulness in hairpin, brooch, pendant, earring, and other starring roles, and if you love that sort of thing you're going to really like her shop, let me tell you. Earrings and rings are mailed in hard plastic containers to assure their safety, and everything is priced extremely well.

By the way, at the house last night - we're doing as much work as possible before moving in since we have our apartment until the end of September anyhow - we discovered we have beautiful wood floors beneath the carpet on the main level! Hubby started tearing it up in the room that will be my studio while I was busy organizing the kitchen. Our concern was that beneath the carpet would be a floor needing a lot of repair, something we didn't really want to deal with. Fortunately, it's not a problem. Whew! The less carpet the better (less dust). We've pulled it out of the two bedrooms and hallway and the floor looks great - all that's left is the living room, and we're sure that'll be lovely too. Large rug suggestions welcome. ;)

Have a great night!

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“Twilight drops her curtain down, and pins it with a star.”

Well, I have no star with which you can pin down the night or even your scarf, but this Art Deco leaf pin should do nicely for you regardless. In cheerful red and butterscotch orange, it's perfect for late summer and early fall. The simply carved Bakelite leaf is set atop two rings of the same material, making for a simple, stylish accessory for your top, attached to your handbag or hat, or even pinned to the hem or waistline of your skirt for a little added oomph and colour. I like the lack of fussiness about this piece - some pins are just "too much", but this one is just perfect, don't you think?

It's just $20 from the appropriately named Vintage Plastic, where you'll find a LOT of vintage Bakelite pieces. The artist takes the vintage buttons and other pieces and creates what she calls a wearable collage, and each piece is individually signed, numbered, and comes in its own little pouch for safekeeping. Have a great night!

(Quote from L.M. Montgomery)

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Flutter by, Butterfly...

First of all, your Remington-guided tour through our new house is up at Flickr. Nothing like seeing the world through the eyes of a kitty, right?

Continuing our Bakelite week (feel free to make suggestions regarding a possible theme for next week if you like!), tonight we'll check out yet another really unique piece. This brass/gold-toned collar boasts a piece of Bakelite carved to represent two fanciful butterflies on either side of a small bloom. According to the dealer Wired Vintage picked this piece up from, the teal bit is from the 30s, and I do think that the style looks about right for that - maybe even the 20s or early 40s.

This is a really beautiful and possibly rare piece of jewelry - but really, I'm more concerned with the fact that it is so pretty, so unique, and very nicely carved. It will look simply lovely with a button-up top or sweater, adding a sweetly feminine touch to your apparel for the day. The pendant itself is 2" across and $39.

At Wired Vintage, you'll find a collection of jewelry made from original and collectible vintage buttons and other pieces creator Beth finds as she searches for new and interesting pieces to make jewelry from. She also sounds very flexible as far as what she'll do with the buttons and other peices for you - pins, pendants, and so forth. If you like things with that elegant, rich vintage feel, this is the shop for you!

Have a great evening - you can guess what we're up to tonight. ;)

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Bakelite Week

This is just such a unique piece I couldn't resist featuring it - it's a vintage Bakelite bracelet picked up by the seller at an estate sale. Mah Jong tiles and tiny Bakelite round beads come together in a piece that is fun, hip, and cheerful. As "they" say, it's all about the accessories, and this is an accessory sure to jazz up any outfit. If you ask me, it's perfect for a day like we're having today - dull, dreary, unseasonably cold and quite rainy. With the many colours in the bracelet, it can reasonably be paired with all sorts of things and bring a lot of brightness into your day.

This doubtlessly collectible vintage bracelet is $42 from Mountain Vintage, where there are plenty of beautiful vintage items and pieces of jewelry made from some really lovely beads gleaned from the owner's travels all over the States and her international shopping. There are several sale items in her shop right now, too, all of them fabulous, so be sure to check it out!

I'm thinking this is going to be Bakelite week, if only because we spend so much time running back and forth to the house and back that it'll make hunting treats down easier to narrow it down this way. ;) We spent Sunday tearing the lovely fake wood paneling out of the upstairs - we're turning it into our master bedroom. Thankfully, this is the only thing that had to be done with the house one could consider "major demo", and that only because the previous owner hadn't gotten to it yet - everything else is new (except the fab 50s-tile bathroom) and we'll just paint (until we decide to refinish the wood floors). Honestly, tearing out the paneling and moldings was kind of fun. I have some pictures of Rem checking out the new digs from Saturday night that I'll be posting to my Flickr soon. As you can imagine, they are all very 'action' shots, because Rem was excited too.

(Yes, go ahead and laugh at the thought of Glamour Girl tearing out wood paneling.)

I'm going to try and find something to soothe aching muscles, several of which I was unaware were necessary for home demo-ing. ;) Have a great night!

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Fun Friday: Arrr, Avast!

Well, the final (?) Pirates of the Caribbean didn't do as well as its predecessors this year, doubtless to the dismay of Disney, who spent a pretty penny on it. Altogether it wasn't bad, and now that the sting of my initial disappointment regarding the senseless killing of one of the characters and a few bland spots, it was pretty fun. However, PotC III's lackluster performance at the box office probably didn't bode well for merchandising (though I find the soundtrack enjoyable enough - all three are good, come to think of it, though the first consists primarily of a complete ripoff of the "Gladiator" theme, something that continued throughout the series and is no doubt the reason for Klaus Badelt being ejected from the project and the job being given to Hans Zimmer).

Anyhow. (Got THAT off my chest!) Even though pirates were not as fun or marginally nice as Disney's version, they do have that certain cool factor. More interestingly, to me at least, is the whole idea of being on a massive ship in the wide open sea. Clearly, my English blood rises close to surface when I consider standing at the bow of a ship (aren't Interceptor and especially Dauntless great names for sea-faring vessels?), the merciless and powerful green waves of the sea pushing us forward - or, as it may be, try to pull us under. Sometimes, yes, there is a slight concern that I might be a bit crazy.

(I really do like the idea of open sea...too many Errol Flynn movies as a girl, I suppose.)

In honour of the fun theatrical pirates have always provided for us, here's a fun necklace featuring a pirate ship, a bonny vessel worthy of any pirate or commodore. The charm and chain are sterling silver, and the ship itself has been hand pierced - very nice work, really! Copper versions will be available soon, but for now, if you love the sea or pirates, you can live out your sea-faring fantasies by donning your very own ship, courtesy of Kelly Lyn Raspa. $75, no fee for ship-naming registration. ;)

Have a great weekend! We're gong to be busy busy with the new house. ;)

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What A Peach...!

Oh, hurrah! We get the keys to our house tomorrow! We're so excited and can't wait to get in there. :) At last!

What a fun, pretty ring this is. Its main claim to cute is the potato peach pearl in its center, all wrapped up in sterling wire with smaller pearls in orbit around around it. The pearl is a real freshwater pearl in its natural colour - I've never seen one like this and think it's so unique. The warmth of it is really lovely and bound to be flattering.

The colour on this ring is subtle enough that it'll go with just about anything, and its style is one that can be funky for a night out with your friends or elegant enough for a night at the orchestra or a wedding or, for heaven's sake, when you just want to feel extra-special. Since that's something every lady deserves, I say go for it.

This exact ring is not available, but Mu-Yin Jewelry is happy to make one for you - of course, this also means you'll get it in your own size. Not a bad deal for just $15! Mu-Yin has more pearl rings and a nice selection of elegant natural jewelry, so be sure to check it out.


Just Add White Gloves
I must say, I think we're going to have a lot of gorgeous vintage dresses in real-world sizes in the coming weeks, all courtesy of the same wonderful eBay seller couldya*wouldya*inabox. I can't believe the beauties rolling out her shop, across the country and into the hands of lucky eBay shoppers. America is better dressed because this person snagged the inventory of an old clothing store - inventory that included an amount of deadstock (never-worn vintage) previously thought to be wholly mythological in nature.

Take tonight's dress. I don't even need to tell you that the colour is gorgeous and classic, but did you know turquoise is almost universally flattering? That pretty white collar is going to reflect more light onto your face, but snuggled up to the flower print the way it is, it won't wash you out. The shirtwaist bodice has pretty buttons all the way up front and a satin chrysanthemum on one shoulder (in keeping with the whole flower theme, you see). My favourite feature, though, is the fitted waist leading to a semi-circle skirt - as in it's almost a full circle, but not quite. The original belt is missing, but that's easy enough to remedy. Circle skirts are the best...especially in a print as lovely as this! *happy sigh*

This organza dress will fit an XL - 42-34-free hips. The tags to this beauty are still attached, and let me just say that if it were my size and easily alterable to fit me, it would be mine. The seller notes that the fabric has a slight pink sheen to it, but this is - I agree with her - probably a natural feature of the fabric, one that isn't as noticable when being worn.

Once again, this gorgeous frock starts at an insanely low price - $9.99. Ten dollars. Paying anything less than $75 for this may qualify as theft in some other universe, and possibly this one; with the auction ending next Tuesday (August 21), you have plenty of time to convince yourself to bid on this beauty and make her yours, yours, all yours.

No, I didn't think you really needed convincing, either.

Personally, I keep seeing this dress being worn with pert white wrist gloves, though the shoes are fuzzier in my mind - the gloves have apparently taken over the shoe portion of my mind! Shocking! This is perfect for a spring wedding, if you ask me, or Sunday service wherever you'd like to wear it, really. She's a knockout, and oh-so-flatteringly cut.

This is why modest can be chic, beautiful, and feminine. There's no need to pour (stuff?) oneself into something that leaves more exposed than is comfortable, much less ladylike and necessary (not to mention attractive). Granted, today's designers seem to be clueless about dressing women in a manner that's attractive yet still respectably covered, but that doesn't mean we must succumb and acquiese to their lack of vision and creativity, does it? Not when there are independent designers like Christa Taylor out there, a lot of wonderful vintage duds like this fantastic creature, and when sewing is making a comeback. If you can't sew, perhaps you know a friend or friend's mom who does (or who might love to teach you!); there are plenty of terrific, stylish, modest patterns out there, plus there's the whole aspect of customizability.

Honestly, apparel like this is far more flattering to all kinds of bodies anyhow, and even Paris Hilton dressed far more modestly when she had to make a good impression on the judge (who saw right through her act - so to speak - but you get my drift), hoping to gain some respect.

There's a reason the classics are classics, and this dress is one of them. Modesty (and the classics!) don't need to be frumpy, boring, or restrictive in style - it can be cheerful and extremely pretty.

Have a great night!

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Noah's Lantern, On Your Hand

Yes, this is a bit late, but Remmy and I had a "day". He has an appointment at the (usually very punctual and fast) vet's for his distemper booster, and we arrived a few minutes early to find a rather busy waiting room. Unperturbed, we checked in and took a seat. I figured that, per usual, this wouldn't take long. Rem did his usual, "I'm at the vet and I don't like it!" round of thin, plaintive meows and that was about it.

For a while.

After about 20 minutes, he (understandably) started to get a little restless in his kitty carrier. He didn't go nuts or anything, Remmy being a gentleman, but he kept turning around and around and pushing his face against my hand (I stick it in there to pat him and keep him calm). Still, he stayed pretty quiet except for some quiet remarks he made to me along the lines of "Meeeeeeeeew?" and "miaawwwwwww..."

Finally, finally we were led into one of the examining rooms - an hour after our appointment was supposed to have begun. I let Remmy out of his carrier to stretch his legs, and...wow. Franken-kitty. He hissed, huffed, growled, meowed more loudly than the obnoxious Honda motorcycle we hear every so often, and was generally unhappy and very un-Remmy like. Those who've met His Highness know he is more like a puppy than a cat - he's very sweet, cuddly, quiet, and cute. And gentlemanly. But he was suddenly full-on evil, angry, monster cat.

I was embarassed, but also very concerned for Rem because this just wasn't his normal behaviour. We were even seeing his favourite vet, the man Rem actually snuggled up to last time (told you he's a peach). Then again, I know how I feel after being stuck in a cramped plane seat for an hour, and that has to be comparable to being stuck in a kitty carrier at the vet for the same amount of time.

After his shot - yes, that made his day so much better - we went out and waited 10 minutes to settle our bill, pick up his prescription food, and at last go home. Rem was a little ticked when we got home (thank God it's only a three-minute drive!), but after a glass (yes, a glass) of fresh water and some brushing, he calmed down. Poor little guy. He's happily curled up beside me now, but it was not a fun visit.

(I'm not angry about it, because it was so unusual for the vet to be that...disorganized, or whatever was going on today. Is it a full moon?)

Anyhow, that meant I was an hour and a half late getting to the farmer's market and dinner and all of that. So I'm late tonight. :)

Now, I haven't ever seen Biblical support for the legend that Noah used a lantern of garnet to help him see into the murk, but it did make a good title, didn't it? Garnets - usually a rich red - have been affectionately regarded by mankind since at least the days of ancient Egypt; the Greeks and Romans were big fans as well. It was the Greeks who first used garnet in signet rings, and while Noah may not have used a garnet lantern, the stone is one of twelve birthstones bedecking the high priest Aaron's breastplate, based on instructions Moses received from God Himself (garnet represents the tribe of Judah).

Throughout history, garnet has been used as a talisman and thought to have healing powers. Travellers carried it not only as protection, but thought it had the powers to light up the night (as it turns out, garnets have a very high refractive index).

Garnets do come in other colours - green, orange, pinks, purple and other hues. Still, thanks to tradition, red is the colour we think of when we hear about garnet.

This pretty flower ring from MademoiselleM features garnets in the starring role - five garnet drops have been linked together by sterling silver wire into a flower shape, and then topped with a flat Biwa pearl. All of it is set upon a ring shank also made of sterling wire - three wires wrapped together. It's very pretty, especially with the pearl there to brighten things up.

The flower itself is a little bit more than an inch wide, and the ring is just $18. MademoiselleM offers a few other pretty rings as well as really lovely jewelry, like this fabulously fun bracelet. The ladies at Mademoiselle M will do custom work or tweak items to meet size or even colour needs.

Happy shopping! I think Remmy gets a special dinner treat tonight. ;)

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Perfect Summer Bangle

Michigan artist Marianna Boylan calls this Sleeping Beauty bangle bracelet "exquisite", and I have to agree. It certainly caught my eye, quite a feat considering it is just one of many beautifully crafted pieces in her shop. A beautiful large piece of sleeping beauty turquoise flanked by faceted smokey quartz, smaller turquoise beads, and copper freshwater pearls (I had no idea such a thing even existed). Silver spacers - they look Balinese, but don't quote me on it - provide texture and sparkle to the gems suspended on the bangle; the toggle clasp is hammered silver. The colours blend beautifully and the total effect is really lovely - especially considering the fact that typically, I wouldn't mix copper an silver. It's a really lovely piece, isn't it?

(And you know how I detest featuring an artist from my home state, right? ;D)

The $45 handmade bracelet fits a wrist slightly larger than 7", but for no additional cost Marianna will adjust the braceleet to your size. This is such a gorgeous piece - one you're sure to enjoy and treasure for years to come. You'll find plenty of beautifully designed jewelry - and even beads for your own use, all of them very cute - at Marianna's Star Girl Jewelry shop (there is more of her work here). She has really terrific, chic style that isn't so hyper-trendy your pretty jewelry will be languishing away at the bottom of the jewelry stash within a year.

Back to packing the apartment up for me. ;)


Fun Friday: Green Eggs & Bird

Finally, Friday! If you work at an ad agency like I did, it means you get to leave at 8 instead of 9. ;)

Tonight we've got two cute wallets from Rosybird. One features and egg and ham on a green field. IT's made of felt with a velcro closure and has two inner pockets. It's a fun one for a very compact wallet during nights out when you just feel a little too silly for your own good - and guys might actually like this one, too. $17.

There's also the luxurious canary wallet, also made of felt and hand embroidered with pearlized thread. A cute yellow canary sits atop a velvet ribbon, his button eye watchful for your hand reaching in to grab some necessity or other, or maybe even to show him off to friends (because he is just that cute, you know). He's $20, and from what I've read in the Rosybird shop, each design is available on different sized carriers...I'll bet she'd do passport wallets and the like for you as well, actually.

Both available from Milwaukee's own Rosybird, where you'll find all kinds of fun, whimsical, and very pretty things (check this beautiful purse out). If you're near Milwaukee, Rosybird is at the East Side Open Market on Saturdays from 10-2 until October, and she'll be at Chicago's Renegade Craft Fair coming this September.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Orange Delight

Oh, is this not a dish of a skirt? From the very capable hands of Kaite from KatinkaPinka, this beauty is sure to be a favourite. Stylish and fun, it's made entirely of vintage. The skirt itself is linen, and is topped with a sweetly embroidered, lace-trim linen doily Kaite has stitched to the skirt's front apron-style - yet the effect is far from frumpy or old-fashioned. This is one of the most fashion-forward pieces I've seen in a long time! Vintage eyelet trim has been tucked in underneath the linen at the hem, and a few inches above the hem a fabulously bright, cheerful citron green hem tape sparkles away, a perfect contrast with the gorgeous orange of this skirt. A little green bow is attached to the doily for continuity's sake, and it is the perfect finishing touch, don't you think?

The skirt is $52, made with love for you by Kaite. This skirt has so much personality it's amazing. The waist is 31.5", hips are 38" and it's a comfortable 27" long (zip close in back). Kaite does warn that the doily "apron" is off center by less than 1/4" but notes it is nearly undetectable. Frankly, I don't think anyone would notice (a newbie sewer myself, I can attest to how difficult it can be to perfectly center something; thank God for seam allowances!).

Now, I featured Kaite back in May, with a gorgeous skirt - one my husband thought was so 'me' he bought it several days later for me as a surprise, hiding it from me for over a month! Eeek! (There is a very similar skirt still in the store). Thus I can attest to the fine work Kaite puts into the skirts - the one I have looks nothing less than perfectly professional, and frankly, just looking at it makes me smile. Furthermore, this is the second time I've used a form of "delightful" to describe something from her shop, and two for two is not bad.

In addition to this skirt, she offers quite a few pretty ones, all of modest length and high style; rectifying something I noted last time, she has some really cute tops now, too - as well as, of course, her lovely jewellry, hair treats, and even some retro-style collage artwork. I think this is going to be one of my favourite Etsy shops, because unsurprisingly, I already see about four other things I would like. ;)


Oh, Yummy!

One look at this luscious-looking cantaloupe and honeydew necklace and I was smitten, smitten I tell you. I just love the colours, the luminescence of the beads, and the fact that it says - in a sweet but clear voice - "Summer! Fun! Fresh!"

Composed of lucite Vintage Moonglow beads, Swarovski crystal bicones, and has gold caps framing every 3rd green moonglow bead, a nice touch that adds great texture and visual interest. The $20 necklace has a gold-tone extention chain with a lobster clasp for easy wearing. With these colours, it's perfect for summer as well as early to mid-fall, so it's sure to become a regular accessory you're going to really like wearing as often as you possibly can.

From BZBoutique, the shop of a New York state artist who loves working with some really unique beads. Check out her Sedona earrings and necklace, as well as her Squirrel's Delight necklace.

Have a great night!


Beauty In Nature

It's a pretty rare person who doesn't find some, if not most, aspects of nature to be pleasing and calming to the mind and soul. Whether you go camping frequently, hike through the wild lands, or "just" work in your garden, it seems that spending time enjoying the natural world around us just makes us feel better. Even something as simple as a plant can help - study after study has found that having plants within view - even from the corner of your eye - in one's home or office helps the brain work better and improves one's mood. (In my humble opinion, every room in a house should have a plant of some sort. It just...helps.)

So why not bring a little nature into your day with these lovely Midair earrings from Intuitive Designs? The round, lightweight plastic discs are printed with one of the artist's original designs, then protected with a glossy varnish. The edges of each disc are carefully painted with silver to match the sterling silver-plated earwires. Pretty, aren't they? And only $18 prewrapped in a gift box, too! The pretty green colour is peaceful and relaxing - it makes me think of a day at the beach. The soaring bird only adds to the feeling of lightness, freedom, and happiness.

Intuitive Designs offers more beautiful, very pretty things in her shop - rings, pendants, stud earrings, necklaces, all with what is clearly her signature style - nature-focused art that is crisp and clean but still with a touch of whimsy and modernity. Enjoy your browsing - and stay cool! I'm wishing we were already in our new home so I could go run through the sprinkler. ;)


Adorn Thy Hair...That's An Order!

This is such a pretty, unique item I had to feature it. From Kutchicoo come these pretty paper crane hairpins. Handmade and definitely different, these cranes really will adorn your hair with style and a touch of whimsy. They're water-resistant (though not waterproof) thanks to a varnish seal and 4.5 x 2.25 x 4.5.

There are many different colours for all of your wardrobe-coordinating needs. At only $4.50 apiece, you can pick up several in order to place a pair in your hair, or perhaps a whole flock. One of these would probably make a really pretty gift tag for a friend's birthday or "just because" gift, too, don't you think?

Kutchicoo offeres some really lovely clay jewelry as well as these pretty birds. Enjoy!

(The red bird hairpin is available here.)


7 Things About Me
My sweet and apparently extremely patient pal Lisa tagged me with this ages ago, but with all the house-hunting and of course now the new-house excitement, I did not get to it. I also tend to make things far more complicated than they need to be, so after a long day of packing, running about town, enjoying the first episode of this season's Feasting On Asphalt with Hubby (we're really big Alton fans), I will try to do this NOW. ;)

1. I am an INTJ on the Myers-Briggs personality test. It's one of the rarest personality types, which explains why I've always known I was an odd bird ("Statistically, there are more male INTJs than female. Not surprisingly, the INTJ female's independence, intellectual aloofness, and argumentative style may result in her feeling somewhat out of step with those attributes more traditionally associated with femininity. "). I consider my massive collection of books to be a collection of friends, not inanimate objects (!). Wild parties, nightclubs, and big events with lots of people - other than art fairs and the like - have never held any interest for me at all - in fact, I pretty much hate them. I've always been extremely quiet, which has often led to people calling me "stupid", "slow", "boring", or all three to my face (something IQ and other abilities tests wholly debunk but why bother saying so?). I have learned to internally roll my eyes and go back to whatever actual interesting thing I was thinking about.

It's kind of creepy how well that thing nails me, to tell the truth! Not perfectly, but pretty well. Too bad we didn't do the test when I was a kid, it would have saved me some bad career choices. ;)

BTW, one of my favourite authors, C.S. Lewis, was also an INTJ. This warms the cold cockles of my evil heart. And also makes me wonder if all the people whole told me I should write for a living, including my ridiculously smart father-in-law, are correct and it would be possible to make a real, legitimate, successful go at it.

It's nice to know I'm a bona-fide weirdo and this is borne out by a form of science. Hee.

2. I'm really, really excited about moving into our new house and can barely wait for our agent to call us and say, "Come pick up the keys!"

3. One of my biggest dreams - other than singing or writing professionally - is to be able to buy a gigantic farm where we can take in retired racehorses that are in danger, like Old Friends and other similar groups. Then I'd bring in kids who are disadvantaged, treated badly by life in general, and teach them how to care for the horses. It would probably keep them out of trouble, for one thing, but more importantly, it gives them a job skill they can take literally anywhere in the world - anywhere there are horses. US, England, Japan, Australia, the UAE (they adore Thoroughbred racing over there and spend gazillions of dollars on American horseflesh), France... Even if they didn't take up a career in horses, one learns a lot by working with such animals, especially Thoroughbreds, and especially Thoroughbreds that need special care. Working with animals, especially horses, is soothing to the heart and soul, too. It would just be the most wonderful thing if I could do that.

4. God and I overcame a pretty nasty battle with anorexia when I was in college. At 21, I weighed 68 pounds. Not a good look, but I still thought I was fat - still had a bit of a tummy despite the workouts and not eating, still wanted breast implants (never did that), still looked at the beautiful women in the fashion magazines and ads and movies and hated, HATED myself because it had to be attainable beauty, right? All I would "eat" was water with some lemon squeezed into it, or maybe one apple slice. A very small one.

Clearly it was not an attainable 'beauty', and of course as someone with a classic hourglass figure it would never work for me. My body is genetically predisposed to soft curves, some I want and some that I don't.

One day I was putting yet another coat of moisturizer over my whole body and saw this...fuzz. Strange, soft, downy fuzz growing on my arms. Of course, that is one of the body's final attempts to protect itself, when it grows this baby-duck like fur because it is incapable of keeping itself warm anymore.

My parents had been about to send me to a mental hospital where I could be helped, but we decided to send me to a psychologist and my pastor instead. It took a few years, but I finally came back to "normal". It would never have been possible without God's help and love and the support of family and friends.

Oddly, one of the major turning points for me was seeing the gorgeous Kate Winslet in "Titanic". I hate nudity in films, it's rarely necessary, but seeing such a gorgeous woman who was not skinny but curvaceous and soft - the way my body was supposed to look - just kind of flipped the final switch in my head. (That I was often stopped and had people tell me I looked like her as I began gaining weight back did not hurt - I really needed all the encouragement and "You're pretty"-type remarks I could get).

It's a monster that still tries to rear its head, frequently, but we manage to beat it back. Honest to goodness, I'd rather be 5 or 10 pounds overweight than be that thin again. The road back to health was too hard, too long, too scary...no thanks.

Also, I never read fashion magazines. Ever. (They usually strike me as a bit silly anyhow, as I'd rather be reading the Weekly Standard or Modern Age or something like that). And to be completely honest, I suggest you stay away from them as well. All they do is hurt the soul, denigrating us and the beauty God gave to us - with our permission! No thanks. There are other standards we can measure ourselves by. One PhotoShopped almost beyond recognition is not the way to go - our heads may say, "Oh, that's airbrushed", but our hearts...it's another wound. If I want semi-mindless brain candy i go for the terrific Real Simple! ;)

(That poster is from The Body Shop's infamous "Ruby" campaign. I had one hanging on the back of my bathroom door, but forgot to pack it when I moved to Pittsburgh. :( Too bad... )

5. Lisa mentioned this, so I have to as well - I'm another compulsive editor! Bad punctuation (like those flying apostrophes), poor sentence construction, bad spelling...Truly, I try to be polite about it.

Worst of all though, is when people confuse words like pore/pour, their/they're, rein/reign, genteel/Gentile (THAT one, and pour/pore, really, REALLY get my goat, let me tell ya). It drives me up the wall. I even caught National Review - founded by none other than linguistics king William F. Buckley, Jr. - mixing up pour with pour a few weeks ago. That almost gave me a conniption fit. National Review! What is this world coming to? Surely Mr. Buckley himself became queasy over that one.

6. Ohhhh, two more...um...I like British movies. I think their actors are usually better than ours. In fact, I have a really deep affection for England in general. I could write an essay about it, but I won't here...There are many Americans who feel this way. After all, our nation sprang in large part not just from English stock but English thought. After a scuffle in the 1770s, we warmed up to one another and enjoy that "special friendship", one that has endured through over 200 years. Most of my fellow Anglophiles seem to view the English as dear cousins of sorts, cousins with cool accents, affectations, and a really fascinating history.

By the way, not only are their actors generally better than ours, their movies are often funnier, too. Just saying. I should not lump Welsh and Irish actors into this category, but I will because Welsh and Irish are better actors than Americans too. They just are, at least now that the Golden Age of Hollywood is long, long gone.

Heck, since we are at it, I like Bollywood as well. We watched Lagaan a few months ago and it is fantastic. One of the best movies I have ever seen and now a favourite. It is highly, highly, HIGHLY recommended. My mild but healthy libertarian streak - indeed, that freedom-loving bit in each of us - loved it, every minute. A very inspiring film (the soundtrack is addictive as well). Bonus? Safe for the whole family.

Other than that, we watch a lot of TCM and classic flicks with Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Greta Garbo, Errol Flynn, Josephine Hall, Kate Hepburn, Bogey and Bacall, John Wayne, Joan Crawford, Gary Cooper, Jimmy Cagney, the Barrymore brothers, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera... *happy sigh* We have plenty of "modern" movies in our collection, but it's probably 50/50 classic and "newer".

7. So, Hubby and I were planning to hit Route 66 this September - you've got it, from Chicago to L.A., over 2,000 miles all the way, in my red Chevy. Two weeks on the Mother Road - what more could one ask? What a thrill! It's something I've always wanted to do, but Hubby was not too interested until Pixar's "Cars" came out last summer; then he began to think that yes, it might be fun. An innocent flurry of links to Route 66 websites from Yours Truly finally conviced Dearling that we ought to go. ;) I was really excited about it...and then we bought a house. Yes, I was torn. New House? Or Route 66? Hmmm...Such a strange woman I am.

As it is, we're planning to go next year instead. While greatly disappointed, this offers an opportunity to purchase a good lens for my camera before we head out and give us more time to really plan our trip. I'm still excited about it, looking forward to it, and spend a lot of time dreaming about it. I can hardly stand it! It's going to be so, so cool. And I just know that I'll return mentally restored and brimming with ideas, which I seem to be in desperate need of at this time.

~ ~ ~

So those are my 7 things. Maybe more than seven, because #6 went off-course in several ways.

I'm not tagging anyone because I'm pretty sure everyone who reads Pretty/Modest has already been tagged...but feel free to do so anyway if you like!

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Fun Friday: Any Resemblance Is Surely Coincidental + A Contest

Happy Friday, everyone! It's a scorcher here but I'm honestly loving it. Too long in cold weather climes can warp one's mind so that 90 degrees and humid is "heavenly". I've also been packing up the apartment, and I took down all of my small pictures down (the big ones just have to stay on the wall) and it has made the place look quite naked and cold. *sigh* It'll be nice to get into the house and put up some paint and get all of my art back on the walls; a lot of it has been languishing in the back of closets.

Anyhow, check out today's earrings. I'm sure their resemblance to a certain well-known sci-fi ship is completely unintentional, aren't you? Made of legos and attached to silver French hooks, these little earrings gave me a giggle and I'm sure you'll get a kick out of them too. For just $6, you can afford to buy them to wear to the next outer space marathon or give to a favourite semi-geeky friend (I'll admit to enjoying Star Trek myself). From Gr0glmann's where you'll find all kinds of lego jewelry from the "Hey, is that really a Lego?" to "Oh my gosh, that is too funny."

Contest, did I say? Yes, Christa Taylor, whose lovely dresses I featured a little while back, is having a great little contest where you can win $150 worth of clothing from the store, just by adding items to a wishlist on the store's website. Contest ends September 1 and no purchase is necessary, so hurry on over and sign up!

Make A Wish Contest

It's Joan Crawford night on TCM (why they didn't wait until her birthday, the 22nd, I'm not sure, but I won't complain) and I'm ready to snuggle in with some sorbet and embroidery to enjoy myself. I know her makeup became quite terrifying in the late 50s, but she was truly one of the most beautiful, gorgeous women to ever come out of Hollywood (this is one of my favourite pictures of her). Hubby will...well, probably try not to strangle himself. ;D

For the full "Summer Under The Stars" schedule, here you go. They're featuring my favourite actor of all time Sunday - Jimmy Stewart, all day long.

Have a great weekend!

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Fun In the Sun - Without the Damage

I was at my salon in Sewickley today, getting my hair cut, and was again somehow amazed by the number of people who colour their hair. This isn't an insult or anything, just an observation, because while often sorely tempted to dye my own red, dye has never touched my locks other than a couple of times I did highlights, and even that is rare. Honestly, I think it's just because I'm too worried it will turn out badly and I'll look like a sorry refugee from the Clairol experiment labs. And every hairdresser I've ever had has looked me square in the eye and said, "Jennifer, if we tried to dye your hair red, it would probably turn pink because you are a true blonde. It's a lot of work." It reminds me of the time a friend told me what would result to my body if I fell off a motorcyle - it left me with visions of skin grafts for weeks. No thanks.

Still, many of my friends and family get their hair coloured regularly, and I'm always fascinated by how it looks and the change it can make (since I worked in cosmetics for over 10 years, I shouldn't be surprised, but...I just am). One thing I do know about coloured hair is that it has to be treated with a little extra care, including being kept safe from the sun's evil rays, especially this time of year. I'm aware that not every woman does this, but really, it's a good idea to cover the hair with something while out and about in the sun - besides, if you wear the right kind of thing on your head, you'll protect the skin on your face from sun damage, too.

And how better to protect the locks and the face than with a cute hat?

Like this one, a vintage straw hat I stumbled across on Etsy and couldn't resist (it was wooing me even as I nosed around in other stores). I do wish our model were a bit more smiley, but even that can't keep me from letting you know about it. This hat was made by Conrad & Chandler, a classic, sophisticated but now defunct Boston department store, in the 1940s, and is charmingly stylish. The front brim is 3.5" wide - great for keeping the sun out of your eyes and off your face - and the back is a short, snappy 2.5" wide. The interior circumference is 20.5".

The classic $21 hat boasts a wide green and white ribbon (with equally pretty green and white edging!) around the crown, and it culiminates in a big, wide bow bedecked with pale peachy-ivory blooms.

I really like the shape of this hat, especially the completely flat top. Very chic. The whole look of the hat is very sweet and pretty, bringing back thoughts of bygone days and a time when hats such as this were commonplace.

This and other great vintage goodies are available at Thomasina Jewelry, where you will also be able to check out jewelry handmade by Dana, who, based on her profile, seems to have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Have a great night!


Vintage Dresses are ALWAYS the Best!
What a find tonight - Paisley Vintage, an eBay shop dealing solely in vintage - and from the looks of it, solely vintage dresses! I love wearing dresses - they're pretty, extremely easy, feminine, and...well, easy. Just slip it on with some cute shoes and jewelry, and you're good to go, right? No need to try and coordinate things on a busy morning or before heading out at night.

A dress can be very 'dressy' or more casual, and accessories can take them in just about any direction. Wear them with sandals or slides - even girly sneakers if you must, I have seen it done - in summer and spring, and pair a dress up with some cute boots and perhaps a sweater during the cold winter months. There's a reason our grandmothers wore dresses much of the time, and it had little to do with a "patriarchy". Dresses are lovely, flattering, and perhaps best of all these days, easy to wear. Let's look at a few, shall we?

The first dress is this Eames-era rose dress, complete with always-chic pleats on the skirt. It's a flattering sleeveless dress with what I would call a bit of a boatneck, and printed all over with orange blooms. What I really like is how the pleats are spaced apart by unpleated fabric on the skirt - it adds a lot of interest, and of course this skirt will move beautifully. It's a 34 bust, 28 waist with free hips and 44" long - long enough to be ladylike but not so much that you'll be frying as you walk along looking footless.

This dress is going for $10.49 right now, but the auction ends tomorrow night - if you are interested, get it now!

Up next is this pretty, buttercup-yellow sheath dress with the most darling little ruffles along the bottom. It's just the cutest thing, isn't it? Simple but with those surprising ruffles. They're so playful and fun!

It fits a 36-34-36 and is 43" long. It zips up the back and has a slight V-neck - flattering and nice for keeping cool. The print is teeny tiny - it's flowers - so it's not just a wall of pale yellow, but has some real interest to it. It's pretty, it's modest, and it's a classic with a little bit of a playful kick. It's $7.99 right now - just $8?! - and the auction ends Friday night.

Now, one more - though there are plenty at Paisley Vintage. Another classic sheath, although this one is definitely a bit more serious with its clean, tailored look and the faux pockets in front. It's made of Eames-era tweed in a nice neutral colour, so it will be easy to mix your shoes and jewelry up with it for work or play. Really, this is kind of a blank-slate dress; elegant, pretty, classic, and flattering, and easy to accessorize nicely. The cut is, again, classic, very flattering and beautiful. It is listed for just $7.99, the auction ends Monday, and it measures 34-29-36.

Now, the nice thing about these dresses is that, yes, they are sleeveless. That means you can add a pretty sweater or tailored jacket without that annoying "bottom of the sleeve jammed into an uncomfortable place" situation. In other words, they are seasonally flexible. Hurrah!

All three of these dresses are among the really beautiful ones you'll find at Paisley Vintage. Have a great night!

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