Monday, 28 February 2011

stunning silk

Last time I went to Humana I found half a room filled with Chinese silk stuff and almost fainted. I ruffled through everything quickly, afraid someone would come and sweep something away from right under my eyes. To find proper Chinese silk clothes in Stockholm is either 1) expensive and/or 2) too small. Often both. Even if it was cheap and fitting I guess I wouldn't buy that much anyway, because it's not the easiest clothes to wear, or find suitable occassions to wear it to. I know I talk about making the occassions rather than waiting for them, but there are always exceptions to any rule. That being said, I still couldn't leave this beautiful turquoise robe/jacket behind, but I truly have no idea when I'm gonna wear it. Or with what. Except as a robe at home, which is enough I guess.

But the silk has got little Chinese houses on it, and landscapes! I love it!

And I love the black details and the white buttons knots. Lovely! The fair cost of it was 98 kronor, and when the light and warm summer nights are finally here I'm gonna wear it and sip sparkling wine the whole time.

This little cutie I'll definitely wear though, with a black pencil skirt maybe. It's got a perfect fit, and only cost 59 kronor and I'm very much in love with it. Not sure I can wait until summer to wear it, so I might try it with a black sweater underneath, I think that will be cuter than wearing it with a cardigan.

I really love Chinese button knots! And cherry blossoms of course.

Finally I also picked this jacket because of the lovely colour combination and the fact that it only cost 49 kronor. It's a bit on the big side, so this will be my new favorite pajamas jacket to be worn around the house. The only times I usually wear pajamas around the house is when I've got a fever though, but a girl can need to be a bit fancy when she's got a fever. Not that I ever need a fever in the first place!

Turquoise, pink and red, the trifecta colour combo, thank you very much. And thank you Humana, for bringing in all those lovely things. I'm gonna do my best to not visit again in a while though, because my wardrobe can't take much more at the moment. It needs to go on a diet first, or a proper spring cleaning, as soon as spring arrives. Today the headlines said it's on it's way. I wan't to believe, but I've been burnt before, so I won't hold my breath. And I won't put my winter wardrobe to rest until it's been 15 degrees outside for at least 2 weeks in a row. I will however dream about it.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

another beautiful book cover

A friend suggested I should read this book, and based on the cover alone I most certainly will at least accuire it as soon as possible. Then reading the first two lines of the synopsis, I understand completely what she means: "February is persecuting the townspeople. It has been winter for more than three hundred days." This morning walking to work I felt I was officially as fed up with winter as is humanly possible. I don't have it in me to fight it off anymore, I've exhausted everything I had. I've dressed well, stayed indoors as much as I could, tried to keep warm at all times, thought myself to happier places when things felt too gruesome. Now at least the light is slowly returning, and I appreciate that, I really do. But it's not enough. Not enough by far. We need this snow to disappear now, we need warmth, we need other colours surrounding us but white, filthy gravel grey, and brown bare trees. We need to be able to smile at each other in the street, not hide our faces in knit scarves, forcing our ways against whipping snowflakes, hurrying to get inside as quickly as possible. We need spring. I need spring. I need to know this winter will not last forever and a day longer.

Otherwise I will disappear into fiction again, there's no other way round it. By the way, the beautiful cover is made by Ken Garduno.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

from top to bottom

I don't only buy vintage dresses, I buy tops and bottoms too. Here are some finds of late that have made winter a bit easier. First up a really nice 50's cardigan from a comic book store (!) down the road from my office. One window display in the store is filled with vintage stuff, usually really cheap. I only paid 60 kronor for this, and except for a tiny tear at the end of one sleeve it's in excellent condition. I try to walk past as often as I can remember, to see if they've got anything new, but so far this is actually the only thing I've ever bought there.

Here's one my favorites this winter, a warm white wrap cardigan, that complements so many of my vintage dresses these awfully cold days of the year. I tend to mostly wear black cardigans, so it's nice with some change from the dark. Found it at Stadsmissionen (charity shop) for 40 kronor.

A mint green cutie with sequins, also from Stadsmissionen, also 40 kronor. I've got a soft spot for mint green things, but rarely find the exact right shade that I like. Not the horrible 80's shade, but rather the pale 50's one. This one is perfect.

And if the white cardigan is my fave new top this season, this tweed skirt is definitely my fave new bottom. It's got the perfect length and a perfect fit and I just love it. And if you can believe it: it only cost 20 kronor at Stadsmissionen! Score! If you're ever in Stockholm Stadsmissionen is a good place for vintage bargains, and they've got stores all over town. All skirts are 20 kronor and sweaters/cardigans 40 kronor. Dresses usually vary between 80 and 120 kronor depending on condition and style.

Also invested in a nice classic school girl wool skirt, because I couldn't resist this colour combination. 60 kronor, thank you very much Myrorna (Salvation Army). I know I'm many years from being a school girl, but who's counting?

Disclaimer: I'm fully aware of the fact that a lot of the things I buy are not strictly vintage, but rather thrifted. I just can't be bothered using different words for different things, as this isn't an academic blog or anything. Either you care or you don't. I certainly don't. You say tomato, I say tomat. In Swedish that is. I do speak mostly Swedish during the day, at work, and go home to switch to my domesticated English with my husband. He doesn't care if I call it vintage or thrifted either, but he does think I'm bringing too many things home. I won't argue with that.

expanded dress collection

Here are some recent vintage dress finds of mine. A lovely paisley patterned green creation in polyester, probably from the 60's or early 70's, from Myrorna (Salvation Army) for 165 kronor. I love these little buttons!

As is the case with many dresses, it doesn't look much on the hanger, but fits me very nicely. Since I like wearing it with a black cardigan or sweater I decided to keep the pointy collars, because I like how it sort of ties the dress together. And adds to the vintage vibe, somehow.

The tag is intact and tells it's a Swedish dress by a company called Bröderna Magnusson Borås (The Brothers Magnusson). Borås is a city on the west coast in Sweden, and it used to be the textile industry head quarter up until the 70's, when most big clothing companies started to manufacture abroad instead. The tag also says "Kläder med kultur"/Clothes with culture. I can't find any information about this company, but I've found a couple of other dresses online, and they're priced well above this one.

Polkadots + cute collar + red and white + ruffles = sold! Found this cutie at Humana for 159 kronor, and I longed for long summer nights even more.

It's a bit long for a picknick dress maybe, and possibly not the ideal strawberry picking dress either, but it's just something about it that makes me smile and think of warm summer days. Haven't decided if I should shorten it or not, but if I do I'm gonna try and reincorporate the little ruffle at the bottom. I'm guessing it's from the early 70's, and of course polyester, in case anyone doubted that.

This one reminds me of a classic tennis dress, but obviously the skirt is too long for that. Not too long for me though. Also from Humana, at a cost of 159 kronor, and from the 60's. And in true mint condition, almost crisp still, from not being worn.

I love this detail of the lines, and the halftone-like upper part of the dress, being a printing nerd. Even though the fabric is quite thick, I still think this will be a good spring dress, but also suitable for the colder summer days we tend to get here. Worn with a little red cardigan or bolero. But properly layered I'll use it well before that.

Friday, 18 February 2011

chinese art (mostly)

Today I've been browsing a wonderful picture archive called Wellcome Images, for work purposes, but as it turned out as much for my personal enjoyment. I just had to share some favorites here, all the picture credits are copied from the website.

Painting of a peacock in the meticulous "gongbi" style, in colour on silk, from "Bencao tupu" (Illustrated Herbal).
The painted illustrations in "Bencao tupu" were jointly executed by Zhou Hu and Zhou Xi in 1644 (the final year of the Ming period).
Wellcome Library, London.

A Chinese peacock pheasant sitting on a flowery shrub. Coloured etching. Printed for J. Hinton.Wellcome Library, London.

Painting of an owl in the meticulous "gongbi" style, in colour on silk, from "Bencao tupu" (Illustrated Herbal). The painted illustrations in "Bencao tupu" were jointly executed by Zhou Hu and Zhou Xi in 1644 (the final year of the Ming period). Wellcome Library, London.

A tonga bat is shown surrounded by the heads, skulls and teeths of different specimen of the family of bats. Coloured etching by S. Milne and Turvey. Wellcome Library, London.

The snowy owl (Nyctea scandiaca). Coloured engraving by Whimper. Wellcome Library, London.

Painting of the Siberian white crane "baihe" in the meticulous "gongbi" style, in colour on silk, from "Bencao tupu" (Illustrated Herbal). The painted illustrations in "Bencao tupu" were jointly executed by Zhou Hu and Zhou Xi in 1644 (the final year of the Ming period). Wellcome Library, London.

A Chinese woman picking tea leaves. Wood-engraving, 1857, after a pen and ink drawing.
Wellcome Library, London.

A Chinese young woman advertising Chinese "Peacock" brand tea. Colour lithograph, ca. 1900. Wellcome Library, London.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Ikenaga Yasunari

I've just fallen in love with the wonderful art of Ikenaga Yasunari, Japanese contemporary artist extraordinaire. Although fairly young (b. 1965), he works in an old Japanese painting tradition called nihonga, and the result is simply mesmerizing. These women are so beautiful in themselves, and add to that their gorgeous clothing and those fabrics surrounding them. Like washi paper.

Thanks to this post for making me discover something this lovely. I hope I'll get to see some original paintings one day. I hope I get to go to Japan one day too.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

modernista pt. 2: female writers

Here's another bunch of excellently designed book covers from Swedish publisher Modernista. Apart from being the most stylish book publisher in Sweden, Modernista also publishes quite a lot of female writers, which must be applauded. I wish it didn't have to be applauded, I wish it would go without saying that in the so called "most gender equalised country in the world" all publishers would have as many female as male writers. But that's not the case, although I guess it could be a lot worse. Where I work we're far from perfect, but at least we're aware about it and always try to do better. Politics aside, just enjoy these nice book covers.

I really love this last one, and I've been meaning to read the book too but still haven't gotten around to it. I like this font so much, and think it works brilliantly with these covers. With a different design this is the kind of font I could just as easily hate, but somehow they manage to make me feel the opposite. That's clever design in my eyes. And my eyes decide what goes up on this blog. In case anyone was wondering about that.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

buy one, get two for free

Since winter is showing no sign whatsoever to leave, quite the opposite in fact, I thought it was only fair to treat myself to a new cardigan. I found this adorable, light mint green, 50's looking angora cardy at H&M for 299 kronor, and I simply couldn't resist it. So I didn't.

I love the details, especially on the elbows. Unfortunately I don't see that wearing it, but you can't get everything I guess. It feels good to know it's there all the same.

The same day as I discovered Lina Bodén as an awesome illustrator, I suddenly spotted this little tin box in the grocery store. Imagine my happiness to find out you got it for free, buying a packet of sanitary pads. So now I can carry Lina Bodén's art around in my purse. Thank you very much!

Going to Lindex to buy some hairpins yesterday, I got stuck in a line for a very long time and started browsing whatever was close to the register. Very last minute I decided to let this cute owl ring come home with me, after all it only cost 50 kronor. Turns out I got if for free. I didn't realise this until I got home, when I checked the receipt, because I was in a hurry. Normally I'm an honest person, I would let them know they're making a mistake. Not this time though, I'm keeping the owl, for free. It was meant to be.

Okay, enough of the lame rhyming, I must save some for Valentine's tomorrow.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

i heart lina bodén

Yesterday I fell in love with an artist's work. This particular artist is Swedish, she is amazing, and her name is Lina Bodén. As we're just experiencing yet another snow storm here in Stockholm, I very much feel the need to stay indoors and finding inspiration elsewhere. Especially floral inspiration like Lina Bodén's paintings. I mean just look at these pictures, they're simply fantastic.

This is from a coming book cover of a new classic series being published in Sweden later this spring, Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster.

And in the same series this is for one of my childhood's absolute favorite books, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I just loved that book to bits. Well, I still do actually, some things just don't change that much.

Cover for Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

And finally a cover for Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I am definitely getting my hands on these books when they're coming out. Not only for the beautiful covers, but also because I don't own them, I've just read library copies.

More Alice in Wonderland.

Seahorse! Giant blueberries! Chandeliers! Okay, enough with the exclamation marks. Just go to Lina Bodén's website and check everything else out. I will keep my eyes on her work from now on, rest assured I will.