Vogue,wash and where did my weekend go?

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I had this plan for the weekend(sewing,blogging) but then the sun shone and everything was put on hold….

I rarely buy Vogue nowadays; I used to do it every month but now I make other magazines my priority (and when I say Vogue I mean the U.K Vogue). However this was the best issue I’ve read in a long time: all about what “real women” wear. And some of those “real women” are actually that.

I’m very late to the Pixi-party but have been trying some of their products for a week now. It’s all right. I’m not in ecstasy but I’ll by the toner in full size and give the mud cleanser some thought. I used this other mud cleanser from Fresh once that I thought was better but back then my skin was a lot worse then it is now so I don’t know. I’m still upset that Vichy remade their series; why did they feel the need to fix something that wasn’t broken?

I will probably break-out soon though or maybe just “break out” of my jeans: I’ve learned how to make very tasty little apple pies in my small Le creuset-dishes. And I can’t stop making them…

-Suss

 

The opposite of bookstyle (i.e. Style books)

img_8619I’m currently in a bit of a reading slump, and my sewing projects are progressing slowly. The reason for both of those things is basically “life” and all that comes with it.

So my heap of materials stay where they are. I made a few things last week (we’ll get to that eventually) which isn’t bad I had just planned to do so much more. With a fair few of the pieces of fabric I know what I’m gonna do. But there are also some stuff that I don’t yet know the future of. So I’ve been looking through Vouge,old tear-sheets and a few of my books for inspiration.

Self-portrait in a velvet dress-Frida’s wardrobe about the clothes worn by artist Frida Kahlo is a book that I’ve had for a few years and it hasn’t stopped being mesmerizing yet. It was originally published på Chronicle Books in 2007 but I stumbled upon a second hand copy online and bought it. Never have I looked back,it was worth every penny. Kahlo is an artist that I admire; to be honest I find her more inspiring then her art(although they are the one and the same in many ways). She loved clothes and understood how to communicate with them, often eschewing fashion for traditional styles. And she had the possibilities to wear the very best of that kind. The colours and textures are amazing, I pour over the photos over and over again. It took a long time before the Frida Kahlo Museum got around to preserving her garments; luckily they had hung in a wardrobe and thus been kept away from light and dust. It’s a book that I will keep coming back to.

Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti,Heidi Julavits and Leanne Sharpton (and 639 others) is a book  to about the clothes about one women but many (642 to be exact). I find it difficult to describe, maybe the best way is to say that it’s stories about women and their clothes, which says nothing at all really.

The writers of this book state that they wanted it to be like the conversations women have about clothes with their friends; and they often succeed in that. The collection of essays,thought, transcripts of conversations and the answers to a survey they sent out add up to this very real and honest book about the stuff we wear, or don’t wear. And it is so far from what fashion magazines tell us. I kind of fell in love with this book, and many women in it. I loved hearing the stories and despite it not being the intention it totally informed my style. But then again most things do. Like I’m listening to a lot of podcasts about medieval women right now so I’m probably gonna start wearing one of those pointy hats with a veil on top of it any day now…

Just two recommendations if you think fashion magazines are getting a little repetitive(#gigihadidfatigue).

-Suss

Punks,Penny Dreadful and puffed sleeves

img_7992I really wanted to love The invisible library by Genevieve Cogman. I was in the mood to be captured by something and there has been a distinct lack of fantasy in my reading lately. I’m aching to find a series that gets me going, so that I can have the thrill of just binging on them. This is the first in a series but sadly I won’t read the rest.

It had so much going for it; great title,  a book about books, dragons,spies, a hint of Victoriana and a Sherlock Holmes-ian detective. But in the end, and I say this about a lot of books lately, the sum wasn’t bigger then the sum of the parts. In fact a bit less.

It isn’t bad; I did read it fairly quickly and I was entertained, there are some good bits. However I found too much time was spent on constructing the world and not enough time fleshing out the characters,they felt like “cardboard” the whole time. But that’s my opinion; another can be found here.

What did I do with my mild disappointment? I finally got around to watching the third and final season of Penny Dreadful on HBO. I was late to discover the genius that is (was) Penny Dreadful. In fact I had thought it a series not for me( I scare easily and have a vivid imagination) but was convinced to watch a few episodes and was bitten. Binged the first two seasons last year and waited eagerly for the third. Penny Dreadful is the reason that I reread The portrait of Dorian Gray and finally got around to reading Frankenstein.

I have long know that the image of Frankenstein often portrayed was misleading and that in fact Frankenstein was the name of the creator not the monster( a mistake many make). In Penny Dreadful the monster is more in line with the creation that Shelly wrote I would say. It’s a book which is still relevant. I thought it such a wonderful read; the language felt fresh  and the story is powerful. A podcast I listen to,”Imaginary worlds”, had a great episode about the book; the history and ways in which we can use it as a starting point for discussions today. You can find it here.( Do take the time to check out other episodes; a lot of interesting stuff if you like Fantasy and/or Sci-Fi)

I also found this season of Penny Dreadful to be “on point” because it features a female psycho-analyst; something that I related to an exhibition I saw at the Freud Museum in Vienna about just that; the women who early on got involved with psycho-analysis and worked with patients.

In any case the show has been a delight. The third season has weaknesses but I still watched it in three sittings. Couldn’t get enough.

And then there is the wardrobe of miss Ives….

Not the best pics but she has a very dramatic everyday ware with epic outerwear; she also has some lovely dresses for when she is possessed by the devil(which is often). The colors, the materials and the puffed sleeves. I like puffed sleeves circa always.

It was that time of year in any case but inspired by this my beloved brown tweed-ish jacket with a victorian vibe is on heavy rotation. Worn here with jeans and a unicorn blouse. The jeans are Acne(the only denim label I wear because it’s the only one that works for me) and the blouse is Zara actually.

I’ve had this jacket for quite a few years now and when I find a tailor I can trust this is getting copied. It’s way beyond my sewing skills so I’ll let a professional handle it. The lining has started to tear and it is “pilling” so I need to start looking for said professional…

-Suss

Decline of the English murder cocktail

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It is difficult to establish any relationship between the price of books and the value one gets out of them. “Books” include novels,poetry,textbooks,works of reference, sociological treatise and much else…

-from Books v. Cigarettes by George Orwell

And collections of essays I might add. When I was in London I picked up the Orwell ones in Penguins “great ideas” series. Which in itself was one of the better ideas I had when at Sandoe books; they have brought me much joy. When I was younger I read both 1984 and Animal Farm, they struck me by their insights. His essays are more diverse; since they are on a range of subjects not all feel relevant to me or our time. But when he gets it right he is oh so sharp whether writing about political language or junk shops.

Obviously a cocktail followed: Decline of the english murder is a name to good to pass up. I used Johnnie Walker Red label as the base; this comes from his investigations into the life of vagabonds. They probably drank awful whiskey  but this one does have the name..(I’m not averse to a pun or two when making drinks).

Then I made a mix of tea with sugar and marmalade, the only thing missing is the toast. There are some Plum bitters for Plum pudding (he actually doesn’t write about plum pudding but does got ON AND ON about suet pudding. )

I used the Queen’s blend from Fortnum&Mason but a good Ceylon will do just fine. Just make sure you are using a bitter orange marmalade.

Tea-mix; 

3 dl tea; hot and strong (I used 3 tablespoons tea leaf and let it sit for 5 minutes)

2 tablespoons bitter orange marmelade

3 tablespoons castersugar

  1. When the tea is still hot stir in the sugar and marmalade and continue to stir until it has dissolved.
  2. Let cool and pour into a clean bottle. Will only keep one or two days in the fridge.

Once the mix is done the cocktail is easily assembled.

Decline of the English murder-cocktail; yields one cocktail

4 cl of Johnnie walker red label

4 cl of tea-mix

2 dashes of Fee Brother’s Plum Bitters

orange zest for serving

  1. Stir ingredients in a stirring glass full of ice until cold.
  2.  Pour into a glass,keeping back the ice.
  3. Twist the orange zest over the cocktail then add it to the drink

And that’s that. Tried it on friends and they liked it. A rather easy cocktail to make(and drink),if you can get the bitters, but it does have a nice mix of spice,fruit and bitterness. Rather like the essays.

-Suss

Makers gonna remake

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Last week I found myself in a part of Stockholm I rarely visit: the absolute center.The central station and there abouts is often very crowded, they are currently building a lot in the area making passage even more difficult and few things I want are to be found there. But it always good for me to get out of my comfort zone because I stumbled across “Remake”.

“Remake” is an initiative by a Swedish charity organization called “Stadsmissionen”( You can read more here in Swedish), trying to use things that they have been given that are not selling for different reasons. It is a problem that some people use charity organizations as dumping grounds for their old clothes; dirty, worn out or torn;those items do not sell.

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By cutting up shirts and stitching different parts together they create something new. They have an ethos that everything they make should be one size and unisex. A very cool idea. They also different items of denim patchwork(coats,cushion covers,dopp kits etc. Very much my old right now) which are all very charming. In addition they sell products that help you take care of your clothes, curated accessories and few items that fit into the environmentally friendly and fashion forward profile of the store. And having thought and time put into things always gives me a feeling of luxury. I obviously like their ideas and found the store very inspiring; using materials and things being made locally, not to mention being “one of a kind”.

Very few of there items felt “me” (I would drown in there One size fits all)) but I like that they are there(they turn out to have several shops) and I will recommend them to people I know. For myself I got a bunch of new ideas(I might buy one of the shirts and use as a beach cover-up), I love talking to people who know more about these things so that I can learn and even though we are not going to consume our way out of social inequality and climate change at least this is a step in the right direction.

-Suss

The wonderful weekend ends

img_8588When it come to the weather the weekend has been everything but wonderful. But it’s to be excepted towards the end of October. I’m always in denial about the climate I live in.

In most other respects it has been just that; time with loved ones, slow cooking,long dinners  and reading.

The weekend started early as I left work at three o’clock on Friday to go foraging for elderberries. There is a recipe in “The wonderful weekend book” by Elspeth Thompson that I’ve made before but I started out making one from a magazine this time;a plain elderberry syrup similar to the one by David Leibovitz that you can find here. Only forage if you know you are allowed AND KNOW WHAT IT IS YOU ARE GATHERING!! Elderberries must be cooked/boiled before consumption. The magazine suggested  using it for Gin&Tonics which we tried and it was nice(but next time I’m popping in a cinnamon stick in for autumn-vibes).

Then there has been sewing projects; two successful and a failure. I’m in a reading slump so did in fact start on Temeraire and spent  a lovely afternoon on the sofa with it, a magazine and big pot of tea.

Another thing that I’ve been doing in this cold and grey weather is showering by candlelight . Sadly there is no tub in this flat. It is something that I miss but I do try to make the most of what I  have. This trick did not come from the book(although is fully in line with it) but from Cup of Jo (here). I have also tried the eucalyptus thing  from the blogpost and it didn’t work at all. They just turned brittle very quickly. A nice scented candle is a much better bet.

Other things from the Autumn-chapter of Thompson’s book are; cashmere(Yaasss queen), baking bread (I make scones on the weekend;that’s as far as I’ll go), make hedgerow tipples (here in addition to the elderberry syrup) and lighting up the fireplace (don’t have one at home but do it plenty at the cottage).

This is a book I adore as you can tell. It’s all about “slow living” and has all these great tips and ideas on how to manage life. It’s because of this book that I now observe Lent, which is odd for an atheist but very character building: Often when I bring this book up someone mentions the sad death of Thompson herself. She committed suicide after battling depression for a long time. I feel for her family. Hopefully this book, full of joy, will be part of her legacy. I knew nothing about her death or her garden writing when I found this book in a second hand bookshop a few years ago. I do encourage you to keep your eyes out open for it. It’s wonderful companion for when the seasons change.

-Suss

Dark red and dragons

img_8625When I wrote that I would probably mix up my use of the Victoria Beckham lipstick with some Chanel I was thinking specifically about this one,Temeraire, which was a part of last years fall collection. I love orangey-red lipsticks(I do,I do,I do) but during this part of the year even I want a deeper red, and when I went out looking last fall this one caught my eye, mostly because of the name.

It is not named after the dragon in the Naomi Novik- series (sadly) but rather the french word “temeraire” which means “reckless” or “rash”. Incidentally the dragon is just that, at lest when he is a mere dragonet( so I still think it’s a good fit). In the book Captain Lawrence names him after a ship.

img_8628The lipstick is a lot redder then the ones I usually wear but it’s got enough gloss to make me feel comfortable. I usually put on just one layer so that it’s rather sheer. And it is one of the few times that I might put on a little more in terms of eye make-up ,even for day, for balance.

Incidentally I’ve also gotten the book down from the shelves. I’ve hit a reading slump and the books that I have on the go cannot keep my attention. This is partly brain fatigue; having to spend a lot of time reading texts at work(unusual) and needing to be a little more passive when I’m free. The book about the history of the Balkans that I’m reading is very good but I need my wits about me, skimming is not an option with that one.

And here the most darling of dragons come in; rereading something that I love is a good way to get through a reading slump. And these books, at least the first three in the series, are very charming. It’s dragons and Austen-era England; those are two of my favorite things. After all my all time most loved book is Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

-Suss