Friday & Four Frocks

The weather has been nothing but rain and wind, the temperature dangerously close to zero and the skies a permanent grey. So obviously I’ve been wearing dresses all week.

Mind you,  I haven’t worn only that. I’ve been wearing tights and scarfs and cardigans and coats. In fact, due to a very stiff neck I am currently wearing my pink cashmere scarf all the time.

Seriously though, I have a few dresses that are made with this weather in mind, or rather; in materials that are unbearable in any other conditions.

On Monday night I went to the event where the August-prize nominees were announced, clad in a shimmery and very acrylic number. The fabric has a psychedelic pattern and when I got it I decided to make a simple design, also the fact that its rather thick made more advanced pleats unpractical. I do love it though, wore it with grey tights and my black double monk straps, and a little pin that is a wolf howling at the moon.

Tuesday I was dressed in a fave that I have tried to photograph many times, and it is a series of failures. Black dresses huh? The point is that this number, which is a modified Zara dress, was bought in hurry on sale and trying to wear it in real life i.e. not just trying it in a dressing room on an empty stomach with no time to spare, I realized that it was just to short  (for me anyways). As I liked the upper half of it, the solution was to cut off a bit of the lower end to create a line and add something else, which was some fake leather I had at home. It is now a comfortable length and it has a clean silhouette and reasonable proportions.

Wednesday was a dress made for cold days, it is lined with cotton so it is double layers. Warm and soft, perfect for this season. It was a weird shade of yellow at one point but is nowadays a greenish grey, luckily the gold embroidery stayed gold in the dye process. The fabric came from Pakistan, a gift to my father from one of his colleagues I think.

Last but not least, I walked around yesterday in a dress that looks like my auntie’s curtains from the 90s. Because that’s what it is; my aunt had a clear out, and I nabbed well, a bunch of stuff including this. Nobody is gonna buy it a the charity shop, trust me. They are drowning in old IKEA curtain that nobody wants any more. This might not be IKEA fabric but it’s got that vibe. Anyways, I’ve made it into a dress now (and I have more of this to work with so might make a skirt too) and it’s wearable with a black cardigan and some black boots. I should wear it with my big Kalevala necklace , I think that would great actually. With the colors and the print it has a lot going on but it’s lot less offensive to sensitive people in this form than as curtains.

-Suss

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Thursday & Tabac

IMG_5220I love a scented candle, I really do, to the point that it doesn’t feel like home without it. And the sad truth is that once you go down the road of the fancier kind, there really is no turning back. Not that all expensive candles are good quality (let’s never talk about Overrose again) but they always get me excited and I do want to try. They can get awful pricey however. When I travel I let myself get confused when converting SEK into Euros or Pounds and I may or may not have spent a lot of money on scented candles at Jo Malone/Cire Trudon/several shops in Italy but that’s a different story. In general I draw the line at the Svenskt Tenn and Byredo collaboration; 850 SEK is just too much, no matter how nice the the glass it comes in and the lid that is included.

And speaking of the the glass it comes in; i’m not the only on that has noticed that many of us have more of those jars and glasses then we know how to upcycle. You need one or two in the bathroom for brushes and stuff (and a cute little glass from a flea market for Q-tips), then possibly one or two at the desk for pens. I love Diptyque candles and those have a label that is easy to peel of and then the glasses gets used for cocktails (perfect size for an Old fashioned). But that’s about it. Some can be recycled pure and simple. But nowadays they can also be reused.

I’ve seen two companies that do the same thing; offer little kits for around 250 SEK that consist of scented wax and a wick so that you can “make your own scented candle”. Except you are not really doing anything; it’s already scented, all you do is melt the wax in the bag it comes in and pour it into the container of your choice.

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The one I tried this time is from L:a Bruket that also make candles in nice brown jars, so I guess it is intended to refill those, but you can use one from another label; just make sure they are approx. the same size. I used an old fave of mine with illustrations by Liselott Watkins. L:a Bruket has four scents, I bought Tabac that “creates a golden aura of mindfulness and anticipation to give life and focus to your mind”. Mighty big words for a soft scent of musk, lemon, tobacco leaves and a hint of jasmine, does it make me coffee in the morning too? But it really is a lovely scent and it makes it smell like the flat is full of freshly laundered clothes, which is a lovely  to be sure.

We will see how it develops over time, but I can say that the instructions were easy to understand and accurate. I will try this again, possibly with another scent from L:a Bruket (as they make theirs in biodegradable soy wax) but I have seen another company that also work with the same concept, and they might have something that’s for me.

Refills? Seems like a very good idea actually.

-Suss

Green&Gold

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In the realm of “corporate social responsibility” (also know as the twilight zone) there is something that is called the Green&Gold theory i.e. by “going green” you will make more money in the end with savings in production (making energy use more effective), more motivated staff (people want to work, and work better, for an employer they can defend morally) etc. It’s not that easy obviously. And if saving money is possible through efficiency measures to reduce energy use you should have done so anyways you silly capitalist. Anyways it’s been on my mind lately as I’ve been catching up on reading sustainability blogs, research and internal memos on the subject of ISO standards and GRI reporting. As these readings whirled in my mind I ended up writing the list of seven things people can do that save both money and a little bit of the environment. Nothing new but a gentle reminder.

  1. Don’t buy take-away coffee too often. It really is silly expensive given what you get if you prefer a basic black drip (and I do). I had a thermos mug before but it broken and I finally got around to buying a new one, from Stelton this is a reasonable size unlike many other that are huge.
  2. Bring a lunch box. Eating out can be great fun and sometimes it’s the only option. In my case it’s also a food intolerance thing to factor in. But by bringing a lunch box to work you are saving money and you know what you are eating. So few restaurants serve organic vegetables and well-sourced meats and those that do usually set you back even more.
  3. Borrow books from the library. I realize not everyone are as spoiled as I am with public libraries, and books are probably not the worst environmental offenders, but still. Less paper and resources being put in to making books and a penny saved.
  4. Don’t do more laundry than you have to. Some things need to be washed, and washed properly. Sweaters and jeans? Not so much. Many garments need no more than a proper airing before being used again. If it doesn’t have any stains and don’t stink then save yourself the time, the money that detergent cost and the bother. Less washing also means less tear on the clothes themselves.
  5. Buy vintage and second-hand. High street fashion can be inexpensive to buy but doesn’t always last all that long. By going to good second-hand and vintage shops you can get high quality clothing at a fraction of the cost i.e. at a price point that is similar to what the big chains offer. I live by this and not only because I’m obsessed with a model of jeans that has been discontinued. There is research backing it up.
  6. Cut the packaging. At a later point we’ll go through arguments for and against buying organic products, which certifications to look for and how to reason. For now let’s just agree that by using every drop of product  you are doing nature and your wallet a good thing. I do think that they try to trick me sometimes by selling things in packaging that doesn’t easily empty.
  7. Get a nice fabric tote. Plastic bags cost money at the grocery store and well-known way to save money has for a long time been to bring your own bag. Except now it’s been elevated to government policy with the environment in mind. Shops have to inform about the negative aspects of plastic bag use and many stores have started charging to encourage people to think twice.

-Suss