Tuesday&Trim

So to recap; ages ago I bought a dress at Zara during the summer sales. I felt fine in the dressing room, I made a snap decision and when I wore it out and about it felt uncomfortably short due to the design f the dress and my habit of taking long and brisk steps. I thus cut off the lowest part of it and replaced it with some fake leather I had at home and all was well; I had a useable dress, one that I really liked as the top part of it is wonderful, and it was both warm and comfortable. And then the fake leather started to crumble, and there was no stopping it.

Fake leather isn’t the best material to begin with and it wasn’t the highest quality either. So I rummaged around in my bag of materials and what did I find?

IMG_7499Some pretty colorful wool-cotton blend fabric with an ethnic touch. I have a skirt in this fabric that I have used loads so it’s a no brainer. I love this blue (also: is that brught blue haing a moment?). Yes; this ended up being fairly short but, it’s a straight down design so when I stride down the street I won’t be inadvertently showing everyone my underwear. (I will however keep showing everyone my resting bitchface until I learn how to take reasonable selfies or get an assistent).

Worn here with a pair of tights from Swedish Stockings and my fave platform shoes. I would really like to be able to give Swedish Stockings my whole-hearted approval as I think they are trying to do a good thing. However, I’ve bought five pairs of tights from them at this point and two of those (well, three actually) have not lasted long. I know how to wear and take care of tights, I’ve had Wolfords that I’ve used for so long that they are almost members of the family at this point. We’ll see how I solve this dilemma; I need tights to be able to fully use all my skirts and dresses.

-Suss

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Monday& Mini reviews

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February has started well reading-wise. These are some thoughts on the books I’ve read lately.

  1. Othello by William Shakespeare. I liked this more than I thought, the different characters have rants that are well worth reading. if nothing else next time I wan to tell someone of I have new insults in my arsenal (those tellings off are however completely fictional; in my imagination I am very stern, tell people to shape up and they listen. In reality I just suck it up and do their job for them). Since Othello is one of those plays that so much builds upon in other plays and acts as a reference there is also the satisfaction of being in the know.
  2. Public libraries by Ali Smith. First of all I have to point out that I am impressed by the translation; I read this in Swedish and Niclas Nilsson has done a great job of rendering Smith’s district voice and writing into Swedish. This is a collection of short stories and anecdotes, and I didn’t love all of them. But I liked it enough to continue reading Smith, I see themes here (and a style) that I’ve also picked up on in Autumn and Winter. Not all writers master the short story format, and some things end up being just half-baked ideas for novels.
  3. Some hope by Edwards St Aubyn. I could (and should) map my emotions whilst reading the Patrick Melrose novels in a graph from sad to shrieking with laughter. This one ends up being somewhere in-between; it’s only 150-ish pages and it feels like a long evening of eavesdropping on conversations. That said it is very gossipy and people can be mean in the most refined way; for the most part they are hitting at someone in their own weight class and thus I’ll allow it. I felt comfortable while reading, and it did in fact offer some hope.
  4. The snow child by Eowyn Ivey. I’ve tried reading this once or twice before but I haven’t been in the mood (neither to read it or drag around a hardback). This time however I fell for it lock, stock and barrel. Ivey has written retelling of a Russian fairytale (but the fairytale is known in the novel) and manages to create a great atmosphere, paint the characters really well and draw you into the story. I had such  wonderful time reading this, not only because I was curled up in a blanket whilst it was cold and snowing outside, I also got invested in the drama and felt for Mabel and Jack. I thought the ending felt a little rushed but I’m OK with it. Much recommended read (and I have Deathless by Catheryn Valence lined up so continuing the Russian fairytale-theme).

-Suss

Friday&Four little projects

As the sewing machine is out the completion of projects, big and small, happen more frequently to say the least. I’m not only using the fabric and garments in my “materials-bag” for clothes however. Some is turned into items for the home; these are a few I have made of late.

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  1. Bag made out of an old tablecloth. This had been somewhat torn and had stains so I made a little bag that I tie together with ribbon (or like a pouch maybe?). Due to the colors it has a Christmas feel. For now I will take it down to the basement and use it to store Christmas tablecloth etc. I have no space for Christmas stuff in the flat so I keep them in the basement for storage but don’t want to have them in a plastic bag (not good for the fabric). I might use this as a decoration or as wrapping for a Christmas gift next time.
  2. Lavender bags of an old runner. Lovely embroidered table runner, but stained. The time and effort that has gone into this embroidery is kind of the origin of my love of clothes and fashion. My heart aches for this kind of hand made items having become unfashionable and thrown away, or in this case just rendered obsolete when stained. I made these like pillows that I filled with dried lavender. I make these kind of things all the time (they make a great housewarming present). I will put this one in with the Christmas tablecloths so their months in the basement doesn’t make them smell or get attacked by moth.
  3. Child size duvet cover and pillowcase. My beloved Missoni sheets had been used to shreds. Many nights of sleeping, many washes and a few cat claws did they endure. When I got this set it was on sale and I had a received a gift certificate at the fancy department store for Christmas but it was such an extravagance. My mum was literally offended. Many years later I can concluded that those sheets were the most wonderful I had ever had (until I purchased jersey sheets) and worth every penny. They also made my bed look great. I managed to salvage enough to make a duvet cover and a pillowcase that I will give to a friends child; this is super-soft.
  4. Missoni handkerchiefs. Yeah, I’m gonna be wiping my nose with Missoni, I’m just extra like that. But really. A few scraps are just that and due to their softness they are excellent for wiping/polishing glasses. A few squares became the handkerchiefs you see in the photo. Bigger pieces will be saved because if I do decided to buy Missoni sheets again, those bits can be made into pillowcases. I have Missoni towels  (also good quality) and the different designs look good together so I might try that with sheets too.

-Suss

Thursday&Trousers-to-skirt.

So I’m doing the slow fashion challenge and the task for February is to clean out your closet. You can read more here (in Swedish).

In my case I did have a good sort in January already because I had the new hangers. Doing that, I had put a few things aside that needed fixing, and slowly but surely I have started to make my way through that pile. There is also the big bag of old fabric that I have been meaning to make thing out of. I’ve had the ideas, just not the time and energy. Well, it’s time was time to stop making excuses.

As someone who has a large portion of self made clothes in my closet and wear them proudly I often get fabric as presents or get offered old curtains and garments that are have been worn out or has been damaged. Such was the case with a pair of trousers bought by someone I know. They came from a fast fashion brand and after washing them (she says she did so according to instructions. Maybe not though?)  they shrunk and become both too short and too tight to wear (and the elastic on the lining wasn’t fun either). well, these things happen and she asked if I wanted them. They were not wearable really and I could feel that the fabric was what I would call “brittle”. I have never studied design or sewing but I have encountered enough fabric to know bad quality when I feel it. This kind of fabric cannot endure much in the way of cutting and needles; it will start to disintegrate. So I decided to make the simplest skirt possible.

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What must be mentioned here is that I really like the colours and the pattern; I won’t be using this right now (it’s too cold) but in summer I’m sure I will wear it loads; just a simple thing to pull on, works with every thing. In this photo I’m wearing it with a beloved silk blouse that is wearing thin in places but the main problem was that the colour of the buttons was falling off. So I changed the buttons; took less than 10 minutes.

-Suss

Wednesday&Where do my books come from?

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Back in November Laura at Reading in bed did this thing where she listed where the books she read came from. She in turn got the idea from Pickle Me This.

So apparently one can either a) calculate the stats for the whole year. Which in my case is basically impossible because I gave up Goodreads early on but didn’t bring back my reading journal. I have no idea how much I read in 2017, I just have a feeling that it was more than ever. So I’m going with b) list the latest 30 books I have read and where they have come from.

  1. Bibliotek by Ali Smith. Called “Public libraries” in the english original, this new translation was a gift from the publisher (and got me thinking about this post)
  2. The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes. From the library.
  3. Othello by William Shakespeare. Bought at full price online.
  4. Ten poems about clouds. More a booklet than a book actually. Gift from a friend.
  5. The white book by Han Kang. Library copy.
  6. Bad news by Edward St Aubyn. Bought online at full price.
  7. The noise of time by Julian Barnes. Found in a read cycle bin (like a free library)
  8. Hennes nya namn by Elena Ferrante. Bought in last years book sale.
  9. A collection of Byron’s poetry. A gift from a friend.
  10. Never mind by Edward St Aubyn. Library copy
  11. Astarte by Karin Boye. Bought when they had “take 4, pay for 3” at Akademibokhandeln.
  12. Snobs by Julian Fellowes. Borrowed from my brother.
  13. Den vita rosen by Olga Ravn. Bought when they had” take 4, pay for 3″
  14. Kazuo Ishiguros nobel lecture. A gift from a friend.
  15. Winter by Ali Smith. A Christmas gift.
  16. Blodsbunden by Augustin Erba. Library copy? I think?
  17. Samlade dikter by Edith Södergran. The third book in the “4 for 3”
  18. The girl in the tower by Katherine Arden. The fourth book in the “4 for 3”
  19. Sånt är livet by Rosa Liksom. Bought at last years book sale.
  20. An almost perfect Christmas by Nina Stibbe. Bought, full-price, just before Christmas.
  21. Genghis Khan by Frank Mclynn. “Read-cycle bin”.
  22. Den osynlige väktare by Dolores Redondo. See previous comment.
  23. Madonna in a fur coat by Sabahattin Ali. Sent to me by a friend.
  24. Hur jag lärde mig förstå världen by Hans Rosling. Bought, with a discount.
  25. Anteckningar by Joan Didion. Sent to me by the publisher.
  26. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. Bought.
  27. Women&Power by Mary Beard. Sent to me by the publisher.
  28. Letters to the lady upstairs by Marcel Proust. Bought (and it was pricey but when it comes to Proust the bookstores can have all my money)
  29. Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu. Bought.
  30. A Christmas carol by Charles Dickens. Bought second-hand.

Fewer library book than I thought but that’s because I got that end of the year bug to try to finish books I already had I think, and also I got a bunch of books for Christmas.

When I look at the unread books in my pile they are in total 26 and have a similar spread; 3 library books (those obviously are priority reads), 1 that I won in a give-away, 2 that came to me as a result of being an Augustprize ambassador, 7 sent from publishers, 5 picked up here and there (mind you, I also give to those free libraries), 4 bought and 6 are gifts from friends and family.

Where do your books come from?

-Suss

7 things I’ve been watching on Netflix.

So it happened, all of a sudden I had Netflix access. The pearly gates of series heaven opened, or so I thought. I’ve had HBO for some time but certain things are only available on the Flix and I for one was eager to watch. So what have I looked at? In order of watching, nothing on this list will probably be a surprise as these series are much raved about (except maybe the last one, and that is for a reason).

  1. Fourth season of BBC Sherlock. I proclaim to love this series but truth is I haven’t seen the fourth and final season. When it comes to movies and series I have a really low threshold of how much work to get them that is too much. I was warned that I wouldn’t like it, and sure enough, some of the magic is missing.
  2. Choice episodes of the other seasons of Sherlock. Disillusioned after the fourth season I went back and watched fave episodes from earlier seasons. I really like “A study in scarlet”, “The blind banker” and the episode where Dr. Watson gets married.
  3. The Crown season one. Don’t care for monarchy much but you can pry costume dramas from my cold dead hands. Loved it. I still think it feels weird that so many of these people are still alive, to make a drama of them already?
  4. The Crown season two. No surprise. I went back to back with this. Binged it. Two episodes every night at least. (No, I don’t have a life).
  5. Fantastic beasts and where to find them. I was nursing a bit of a cold and watched this. (I may in fact have watched this before the Crown) but anyhow. None of the magic that the Harry Potter Movies have given me. I’m too old. Great outfits though, I have a thing for that sort of reimagined 20s look. I feel the need for a grey velvet double-breasted yet slouchy blazer intently.
  6. Mind hunter season one. OMG. The obsession is real. So many people talk about the murders though, I’m spellbound by the interaction between Tench and Ford. And Ford’s slow and slippery decline into omnipotence and narcissism. Cannot wait for season two.
  7. Episode 1-3 of Marco Polo. I have the Genghis Khan book in fresh memory, so a little Mongolian political scheming and a Venetian all caught up in the mix seemed like a good idea. Great costumes and interiors, interesting point but ultimately it was too macho/to the brim with male gaze to bear with. It has all of Game of Thrones flaws but none of its charm and storytelling. I ended with the third episode and then went and read a book instead.

-Suss

Melrose & Mitford

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My reading of late have been “50 shades of the British upper class” for some reason. I’m currently making my way through The Patrick Melrose novels with two friends, and as they are brilliant but rather harrowing reads I’ve tried to squeeze in a few comfort reads. One is The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes and the other is Dashing for the post; the letters of Patrick Leigh Fermore (edited by Adam Sisman). I’ll be reading the latter on and off for most of the month I guess.

The second installment of the Patrick Melrose novels is called Bad news; in it we meet Patrick at the age of 22, on his way to New York to pick up his dead fathers ashes. What ensues is a drug fueled weekend in which Patrick tries to come to terms with his father’s death? Is it bad news? Or is he free?

Through the ramblings and thoughts of the only sometimes lucid (and possibly sometimes all too insightful) Patrick we learn something of what has passed since that afternoon in France when he was five. The divorce of his parents, the drug habit and his constant struggle of wanting to be himself but also someone altogether different.

The writing is brilliant, St Aubyn manages to capture frenzy in a stream of words (which I also thought he did well in Dunbar), and if Never mind is sad this installment is amusing in all its tragedy, the sarcasm that Patrick uses as a shield can be very entertaining at times.

However, after all that sharpness and anger I needed something a bit more, shall we say predictable? I saw The Mitford Murders in a bookshop before Christmas and made a note, and accidentally found it at the library the other week.

It too starts with bad news; poor Florence Shore Nightingale (herself a nurse and related to the famous nurse) gets killed on a train to visit a friend. On the same train is young Louisa, trying to get out of her uncles clutches and on her way to a job interview with the famous Mitfords. Jessica Fellowes (related to the famous Julian Fellowes; she has written books about Downton Abbey) has taken an actual event (the murder) and spun a story around that, using the Mitford family as a backdrop (some of it being informed, some of it made up).

Thoughts go to the work of Agatha Christie and the contemporary Jaqueline Winspears books about Maisie Dobbs. Loads of tea and scones are enjoyed, and we have scenes in the upper classes with all the glitz as well as insight into the harsh realities of life “downstairs”. If the detective is a plot device as it is a person that can be in all areas of society, so are maids and nurses.

It is a debut novel so all the usual caveats apply; it is far from perfect. The Mitfords have less to do with it then the title implies, which might matter to some. I’m not sure I would have picked this up had there not been a combination of chance and craving for something nice. But having read it I’m rather pleased. I did think it had charm, and I didn’t figure out who did it until rather late in the book. I would qualify this as a good holiday read, or at least it would be for me.

-Suss