Up and down...

Another vintage cutie for you from the fantastic closets of eBay, this one an NOS (new old stock - meaning it's vintage, but never worn) day dress from 1960 (ah, right on the cusp of cultural craziness and some clearly questionable sartorial selections).

What really caught my attention regarding this dress — other than the overall comeliness — is the pattern on it. At first glance, this seems to be a pretty demure, simple daydress like so many others. A closer look, though, reveals that atop the lightweight, minty-green pinstriped dress sit little chenille-like "arrows" and bright, turquoise-blue tufts. It's simple but fun, lending a spark of interest to this classic style.

The size 18 dress is also, believe it or not, Scotchguarded. How cool is that? The tag alone might be worth keeping, just for kicks. As you can see, it says "Penney's"; not sure if that means J.C. Penney's or another shop. The seller gives us measurements of 43-32-open hips.

Bidding starts at $24.99 and the auction ends this Sunday (May 4). Good luck!

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Cute & Custom Maternity Wear

A few years ago, one of my very stylish girlfriends ran into a dilemma: an inability to find cute, comfortable maternity clothing. She always dressed beautifully, but suddenly that was becoming very difficult, even though she probably gained no more than 15 pounds during the pregnancy (I am not exaggerating, either...she was a beanpole from the day I met her!). Her railing against the hideousness of maternity wear made the rest of us laugh, but at the same time we of course felt badly for her. No one likes having nothing but 2 skirts, a dress, and 3 tops to choose from every day, especially in an image-dependent business like advertising (hence my leaving it, but that's another story).

This seems to be a common problem. A family member and friend were both agitated because they couldn't find pretty but baby bump-friendly dresses for our wedding 2 years ago. It seems that designers think having a developing infant change your body, mood, eating habits, and ability to watch a movie without having to run to the restroom every 15 minutes isn't enough; no, they must sell you "flattering" "clothing" that often consists of ugly prints, fabric left over from 1976, and tacky tee shirts. Perfect.

Clearly, the proprietor and designer at See Mommy Sew had the same problem, but she faced it head on by creating sweet, pretty A-line maternity skirts. Just $50, you select your favourite fabric from her very respectable selection of cotton prints, send in your size, and in a short time you'll receive your cotton muslin-lined skirt. The broad elastic waistband is covered with a soft cotton-lycra and sits beneath your belly. There is room to grow (obviously!) and can be worn even after the stork arrives. Custom-sized skirts are available, and the designer will even add appliques, rick-rack, lace, or anything you like (though of course that may come at an additional price).

See Mommy Sew is all about the fun baby stuff for Mommy and the kidlets; there are cute diaper bags and changing pads featuring Amy Butler fabrics, and even cute little woolen baby pants. Everything is just adorable, and See Mommy Sew is even kind enough to share a tutorial for her maternity skirt for those who want to make their own. Happy shopping!


Fun Friday: I'm thinking of candy...

Well, designer Shannon calls this ring a cake ring, and I can see that too, but most of all it makes me think of a marvellous little piece of candy...maybe something with caramel. The top is clearly made of upcycled buttons, but the neat thing to me is that the ring part is actually made of reclaimed leather. How cool is that? The buttons have been sewn onto the ring with waxed thread so everything fits nicely and snugly. The colours are understated without being boring, too. $6.50 from Greenbelts. Her shop is packed with all-recycled items like belts, rings (this is another cute one), and cuffs.

Have a great weekend!

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Flowers in your hand

Well, we're back from our wedding anniversary trip. It was so beautiful and relaxing...and in a place to which we're already planning a return visit. Amazingly, the infection I've been battling for the past 2 months finally cleared up, a combination of the nuclear-grade antibiotics, the somewhat devilish concoction of hot V8 juice, Sriracha sauce, garlic, sea salt, and lemon juice, and the clear, fresh air where we vacationed. I breathed through my nose for the first time since late February; have you any idea how wondrous that feels? ;)

We had a marvellous time, including Benedict. It was his first vacation with us, and he clearly enjoyed being out in the woods. What he clearly did not enjoy was the car ride. This seems to be a collie thing; he drooled almost non-stop during the trip, meaning he got to drink out of his own cup of water in the car. Next time we'll try some Dramamine, because yours truly doesn't really enjoy getting a shower while fully clothed and in the Chevy. We do think he'll outgrow this; he's only 4 months old, and our neighbor down the street who owns three collies said the breed usually does get over the dislike of car trips. At any rate, Ben liked the destination very much, and it was fun to have him with us.

There's also a change here at Pretty/Modest...for the time present, I'm only going to post on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. We have a lot going on at home, with the family in general, and with my business, so this being a hobby, it's going to take a slight back seat. Additionally, I really want to focus on clothing, but that's rather difficult as I also want to feature mostly indie designers and artists. There just aren't that many making clothing, and even fewer fitting into the criteria here.

So, on to the cuteness! This bright and cheery wristlet caught my eye while I skimmed through Etsy (about which I told several very interested folks while on vacation; funny how it comes up!). The colours are perfectly springy and happy, the design delightful and light. It's quite large for a wristlet, at 7 inches tall and 11.5 inches wide, but that makes it perfect for longer days when a full-sized handbag is just too much. Handmade by Joyce of JPs Accessories, it's $25. This red and white hibiscus-decked wristlet is equally pretty, and her orange suede-trimmed butterflies hobo bag is just adorable. Everything at JP's looks to be very well-constructed and crisply done. Perfectly finished, just in time for summer!

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Deco Swirl Tops

With the temps rising at last, I find myself in that "easily overheated" mode, where a swing of just five degrees means I'll go from comfortable to melting. This means vintage cardigans and pretty jackets get thrown over sleeveless shirts and camis alllll the time, and as it's been a long time since I've gone clothes shopping, my eyes have been peeled for attractive tops suiting the need to stay comfy instead of overbaked.

Thankfully, Etsy is always full of cute things from great designers, like these capsleeved sheer cotton jersey tees silkscreened with a swooping, swirly desgn. From Kimmchi, we have the black and red tees for $25 and $20 respectively. The black is available in small, medium, and large, while the red is available in small only. Kimmchi's shop is full of lightweight sleeveless tops, and my suspicion is she'll be adding more as the season progresses.

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Hand-Painted Summer Fun

Ideal for just about anything this summer, this handpainted circle skirt is a fantastic one-of-a-kind treat! The vintage piece needs to have a seam repaired, hence the low, low price of $5, but the nature of the skirt makes it worth the tiny amount of work you'll need to get it back into tip-top shape. The seller thinks the images — a dancing couple, a woman by a pool of water, a woman in a gondola-like craft, a man on a bronco, and a sombrero-wearing gent sitting against a cactus — were possibly filled in by hand after the gold "frames" were sprayed onto the paint. It's hard to say, but this is much more than a black skirt.

It'll fit a 30-31 inch waist, though the tie closures mean this is a bit adjustable.

Auction ends Saturday!


More Dots!

Oh, am I enamoured of this dress. The swish, the float, the completely bearable lightness of polka dots on navy. Chiffon with a tuxedo ruffle from the waist to the flirty hem, this vintage cutie will be perfect (and perfectly comfortable) for spring and summer weddings, parties, date nights, or just for good, old-fashioned "I want to be pretty" days.

It's a larger size (38-34-36) and flattering style. Though the belt is not included, it's easy enough to finish this one off with a navy, red, white, or maybe even springy green ribbon. Better yet, it's priced at just 99 cents right now from eBay seller 2tryhard. The auction ends Thursday, so bid now!

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There's that other soft spot I have...

So we had a very nice visit with my parents. Hubby and Dad did stuff here on the house, and Mom and I did fun things like run to the paint and craft store. Of course, there was also a lot of quality time with puppy Benedict to be had. Like all doting grandparents, Mom and Dad brought toys and treats for Ben, too. They really enjoyed meeting and playing with him, and he definitely seemed to like all of the extra attention.

Anyhow, back to business, right? As you know, one of my weaknesses is a bright, pop-art combination of red and turquoise. It's cheerful, it's yummy, it's classic, even a little bit daring (blue and red being opposite on the colour wheel, putting them together definitely attracts the eye; also, the eye can't focus on both colours at once).

Karen Leslie provides the first cherry-sky bomb of the season with this delicious necklace, featuring a large pendant of sponge coral and a string of turquoise nuggets separated by slightly curved sterling silver tubes. A one-of-a-kind design, this necklace sells for $145.


Fun Friday Early: Kattywampus Applique Skirts
Well, it's an early Fun Friday because my parents are visiting this weekend. They're very much looking forward to seeing Benedict! Also, it'll be the first time in a while Dad and I will be able to watch a Wings playoff game together; I think the last time we did so was just prior to the wedding! Anyhow, I don't want to be digging around online with Mom and Dad here. Nothing personal. :)

Actually, while we're dealing with personal things, I won't be posting for the week of April 20; it's our wedding anniversary. Two years already (and still no wedding album because Hubby has been dragging his feet...)!

I came across tonight's pic last week, and simply had to post it; someone is sure to love these creative and darling skirt from A Kattywampus Tale. Lovingly handmade by a math teacher (!) in a century home, these skirts all have whimsical appliques, many nature-themed. All of the skirts look comfy, great for lounging or flea-marketing or just casually bumming around town.

Not only are the appliques fun, the patchwork style of the skirts manages to be cozy and homey without being...well...prairie rat. They're chic and stylish and sweet without making you think "Little House on the Prairie" or wonder where your chickens are scratching tonight.

Each Kattywampus Tale skirt comes with its very own "tale", inspired by the scary kattywampus stories of the artist's grandfather. From $15 - $110, most being in the midrange.

Have a marvellous weekend!

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Supermarket Style

It occurred to me this evening, as I sit here self-medicating with a fiery concoction only Severus Snape could love (eh...really, it's not that bad), that it has been a while since I featured a bag of any sort.

A few friends have mentioned they'd love to have re-usable bags for the supermarket and places like IKEA. In all honesty, I'm not entirely on the environmental bandwagon, though some things seem quite logical to me. One of those logical, sensible things is reusable shopping bags, because there are only so many plastic bags I can re-use to pick up puppy poo while we're on our walks or line the bathroom wastebasket with. I've tried keeping all of them...and the cabinet beneath our kitchen sink is at critical mass thanks to the bags from our supermarket and other necessary excursions.

Fortunately, though there were at first (and still are) unattractive bags one can purchase and use for such mundane purchases as milk runs (or, more fun, fresh fruit and ice cream runs), enterprising, bright, and talented people are designing chic and durable bags perfect for hitting the grocery store or farmer's market. Of course, most of us would probably need 10 or 15 of these for our average supermarket trip, especially if you buy lots of fresh produce, but I suppose every little bit helps, don't you?

Kathijane is one of these clever, creative designers, and right now has two darling market shopper sets in her shop, one in a perky asparagus green and the other in a pretty turquoise and chocolate floral print. Each set is $36, and includes 2 medium canvas totes packed into one larger one. The larger tote has to big exterior pockets, too. The bags are machine washable and wholly handmade in the USA. It's a great deal for you...and that spot in your house where you're pretty sure those plastic bags are self-perpetuating.

Just a heads-up: my parents are visiting us this weekend, so you get Fun Friday a day early. With all that has occurred in our family these past few months, I certainly don't want to be hunting stuff down with my parents here. They are really looking forward to seeing Ben, though.

Have a great night!


Dynastic Style

This lovely brooch is made from a pottery shard found along China's Yangtze River. While it can't be dated precisely, it is believed to have been created during the Ming or Ching Dynasty. Thanks to the imprecise and rather nebulous dating, though, you can wear this beautiful piece for just $15. It's silver plated and has a silver pin in the back, making it perfect for attaching to sweaters, handbags, scarves, belts, or skirts. You could also very probably string it on a pendant.

From MTuent.


Something for Everybody

Not only is the Kyle dress perfectly retro-cute and fun, it is customized to your size, handmade just for you. It comes in small to XXL, and your choice of white with black dots, black with white dots, or red with white dots. Fully lined in black satin, all it needs is a cute pair of shoes and perhaps a petticoat to make it poofier.

$95, custom-made in 1-3 weeks (though the designer will get it to you by a certain date if you need it) from Miss Braches Custom Clothing.


Another bad night for the family

Sorry all; I won't be posting tonight. My parents had to let their wonderfully amiable Golden, Alec, go tonight, and...well...they need me more than you probably do.

Rest in peace, Al. :( We'll all miss you...but I'm sure Remmy was waiting to greet you, so you won't be alone. He hasn't been there long, either, so there's a lot for the two of you to explore together.


It's wooden jewelry time again...

Isn't it always, though?

After a checkup appointment today, I ran to a certain popular store and wandered about while waiting for my medicine. They've already begun putting their summer goodies out: grills and gardening things, patio sets and fun outdoor lights, brightly coloured and whimsical dining sets (featuring the cutest little crabs), and even summery clothing. It's a little hard to take, seeing as it's still very chilly here when it was so very warm this same time last year, but we can dream (despite the cheery aspect of these things, I have to say it appears they're not selling well at all).

Still...it did put me in a semi-summery mood. That considered, this beautiful necklace is fitting, don't you think? Called the "Holey Moley", the beauty from Peggy Li stars a large tiger ebony pendant backed by a chorus of bright, warm coral beads. It's so beautiful and...summery! It makes me think of those fantastically sultry summer nights back home in Berkley, when I'd whip up a limeade and sit on the balcony with Remmy and a good book (which was generally ignored thanks to some blazing sunset), the scent of heat and grasses and flowers in the air. Or evening walks on the Montour Trail with Hubby.

Well, come up with your own fabulous warm-weather memory worthy of attachment to this lovely piece. $52 from Peggy Li. Her store is amazing, just wonderful, from this earth-toned necklace of totise turquoise and the lovely, graceful water lily earrings to her whimsical retro robot necklace and the sterling silver unicorn ring for your favourite "Napoleon Dynamite" fan, there's a lot to drool over. Peggy even offers custom clip-on earrings, a joy for those who can't have pierced ears.

She has one of those stores that's just plain fun to look at; her style is very unique but not over-the-top or brash. Whether you're a nature girl or a glamour girl, you're sure to find something fab at Peggy Li!


Free the hummingbirds!

A plague has gripped our great land...a dearth of hummingbirds. The forces of evil, purportedly led by the makers of Crocs, have entrapped these tiny little birds, stripping the land of the jewel-like avian nectar drinkers.

Fortunately, an array of brave Americans has joined together, their sole goal being the rescue and release of these exquisite creatures. Join them by donning one of the official, 100% combed cotton hummingbird release tees, available in small, medium, large, and extra-large for just $28. Join the team! Free the hummingbirds!

Actually (obviously), I just made all of that up thanks to the great antibiotics I've been on. But this is still a cute tee, and it's also available in a cozy, long-sleeved chocolate brown henley with the motif in candy pink (for those still-cool nights and campfire s'mores, just $34). There's even a onesie for your hummingbird-aware kiddo.

All from the fabulous minds at Circular Accessories!

Exotic Loveliness
Skipping gaily through Etsy, the arresting work from Eninaj really captured my attention. Beautiful, isn't it? Haifa-based Janine Golbert is new to Etsy, but sure to do very will with her unique and outstanding designs. Each piece is made to order for you.

First of all we have the tattoo black silver necklace composed of sterling silver and laser-cut leather pieces in a fascinating necklace that will look almost like a tattoo. What a fun, interesting concept. $150.

Equally irresistible but more whimsical is this circle necklace featuring leather and silver pieces. It can be made in any colour you'd like, and the design is both fun and chic. Trust me, Target will never have anything this cool or wonderful! $97.