Tuesday, 30 March 2010

apron dress for tropical heat

Living in a tropical climate as I am now, it's important to wear as little as possible while still feeling comfortable. Cotton apron dresses are excellent for just that! It leaves my back mostly bare (remember sunblock!), and it's got a good length just below my knees. Of course a strapless bra is vital to any halterneck outfit, at least in my opinion. This dress is from Emmaus, maybe 4 years ago. Just as I was leaving the store, I saw the pretty fabric sticking out of a sale box where everything cost 20 kronor. I grabbed it immediately and didn't even find out it was a dress until I got home, and was very happy to see it also fit perfectly. It's been one of my favorite summer dresses ever since.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

pretty things on the wall pt. 2

I've got a sort of phobia of white walls, that is empty walls. Minimalism is not my cup of tea, at all. Ever. And I like combining all sorts of things I find pretty enough to want to look at on a regular basis, be it posters, post cards, origami paper, wrapping paper, album covers. This wall's arrangements is one of the bigger in my Stockholm apartment, cos it's the only wall without a door or any furniture, so what else could I do with it? With a few re-arrangements, it's looked pretty much the same for maybe 4-5 years now. In the upper left corner in the black frame is a Arcade Fire vinyl single cover. Below that is the reason why I first got into The Decemberists, their cover for 5 songs that I saw at a friend's place many years ago and immediately fell in love with. I did like the music as well, but as superficial as it may sound I love their aesthetics just a little bit more than the music, even though I think in the end it's all part of a great package. Just take a quick look at their website! And all their covers! Carson Ellis is the one responsible for most of it, and I love her work oh so much. But they use so many brilliant graphic designers for their tour posters, one day I would like to buy all of them. Underneath The Decemerists are two framed italian handmade papers, very different in style and equally beautiful. Sorry I forgot to take close-ups of these things. When I get back I'll take care of that.

Here is a close-up of another amazing Arcade Fire cd cover, and an adorable butterfly origami paper in a vintage frame. The origami paper is from one of my absolute favorite stores in Stockholm, Ljunggrens Pappershandel in Gamla Stan (Old Town). I found the shop I think back in 1996, when I still wrote a lot of letters by hand on paper, and I think I must have went there once a month or so. Just browsing all the different kinds of paper, and envelopes, and stamps, and note books, and pens, and ink ... Usually not buying that much, but enough to keep writing letters on pretty paper. I'm happy to say it's still there, still as good as ever, and still makes me as happy as the first time I went there.

Bell Orchestre I went to see cos I was a bit obsessed with Arcade Fire in the beginning, and they shared band members. It was a very good show indeed, but most of all I love buying this gorgeous poster afterwards. I've been into band's cos of their graphic design of album covers and such for a long time actually, mainly since I got into 4AD bands back in 1990 or around that time. Sometimes I would even just buy an ep cos I liked the cover and knowing that 4AD would never put anything out that I didn't like. Mostly I knew what I was buying though, and I bought a lot of records and still do. Nowadays I have for economic and convenient reasons started to buy digital music, but I still feel a bit bad about it. The Decemberists is an exception though, I always buy the real thing when it comes to them simply cos of what I explained just now: Carson Ellis in print.

I'll conclude this with one of the most precious gifts I've ever been given, this completely wonderful Decemberists poster that my brother bought in the States and carried all the way back to me. It's so so so so so pretty in every sense of the word, just a completely perfect piece of art. So there you have it: a wall of personal interests as art.

Friday, 26 March 2010

pretty things on the walls pt. 1

In my South African home I don't have any Chinese girls on the walls. I do however have this probably Indian beauty. My 2 year old niece (at the time) thought she looked like me. I wish. I was out looking for things to decorate the house with when I first moved here, and immediately fell in love with this painting (or poster), as much as the exquisite wooden carved frame. 300 rand was a bargain! It's from one of my absolute favorite stores in Durbs, NSA Gallery's gift shop. A place where you can get so much, for so little. Now she hangs over the bed, and I get happy looking at her every time.

This poster I found in a very nice local design shop here in Durban. Right now I can't remember the name of the shop, but it's next to The Corner Café in Glenwood, and another one is on Davenport Road just a few blocks away. They've got so many nice things there, but a little on the expensive side for a bargain hunter like me, which probably isn't really expensive compared to most design places though. A few posters and a note book got to come with me that time. If you go there, make sure to have time for some excellent coffee and light food at the café as well, and check out the little clothes and jewellery shop in the backyard too. There is usually a nice selection of seriously good local designs there, I'm still agonizing a little about one dress and a pair of earrings I didn't buy, a whole year later. I'll make sure to go there again soon, and see what's new in store.

When you stumble across something as beautiful as this book cover, it just takes my breath away! I am a big fan of Poe as well, but have already got most of his stuff in other editions. One of them is close to this pretty, but I lent it to someone, against my better judgment, and of course never got it back, so this one almost makes up for that loss. I don't care that it's torn, I just care about the gorgeous green colour and the spiderlike trees and the bird and the moon and the amazing lettering! It simply makes me happy. What else is there?

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

five favorite flower prints

Let me present to you one of my all time favorite dresses! It must be about 5 years or so ago I found this a summer day outside a vintage shop that unfortunately no longer exists in Stockholm. I hesitated for a minute, cos I thought 250 kronor was a bit much, but considering how much I've worn it that was money well spent for sure. It's got a perfect fit, and it works in all seasons. Well, since it's polyester maybe not during the hottest of days, but the cloudy ones at least. It's just something about it that makes me feel very good about myself each time I put it on. And I've always loved black and white.

Sleeveless cotton dresses are a better pick for those scorching days, and this pretty pink on black thing has also proved to be an excellent investment. Think it's also maybe 5 years old, and actually from H&M, but vintage. For a brief period their store at Brunogallerian had a corner with vintage clothes, don't ask me why. I remember it being the day before midsummer's, a weekend I particularly used to hate, cos for some reason even the closest of friends tend to pair up and forget about the singles who has to stay behind in the city. I'd decided to not care about it that year though, and not do anything but at least together with my brother. He likes not doing anything as well. I still wanted to get something pretty to wear for this not doing anything event, and what better than a flowery thing like this. Don't really remember how much I paid for it, but I've got a vague memory it was about 150 kronor.

What happened in the summer of 2004 was that my band at the time (Dexter's Moon) got a show at Vinterviken, and I decided that was an excellent excuse to finally buy this incredible vintage dress I'd seen in the window at Emmaus in Götgatan. A bit nervous I went there hoping it hadn't been sold in the meantime, cos it wasn't in the window anymore, and I'd told myself I could get it if it didn't cost more than 300 kronor. Luckily it was still there, and it cost 280! I'll post pictures of it some other time, but it's a white dress with black polkadots and tiny yellow flowers scattered over it. It had long puff sleeves and was full length, very 70's looking, and the first time I saw it I thought it would make a great wedding dress! Since I had no plans of marriage at the time I shortened it and cut off the sleeves. From the left over fabric I made a matching hair band. The show was at 3 in the afternoon, and I swear it must have been one of the hottest days that summer, and the stage was in direct sunlight, my guitar is black and you can figure out for yourselves how hot that guitar got ... I was barefoot, and by the time the show was over my dress was like a second skin on my body. It was still a very good day, and it started this fix idea that I was allowed to buy one dress for every new show we got with the band. Maybe I should add that I was really broke at this time, and shopping was kept at a minimum. Fortunately my economy got a lot better around the same time as we suddenly got a lot of bookings, and during spring of 2005 my wardrobe grew considerably.

This red dress is quite similar to the pink flowery one, and it's a bit difficult to see but it's got tiny white flowers on it. I don't remember at all where it's from, could be from that H&M vintage selection as well cos I remember it's from that same summer.

Here's a non vintage dress! It's got a nice retro feel to it though. I got it during my first visit to Durban, when I got so overwhelmed by Mr Price, the chain store very similar to H&M in my opinion, but even cheaper. And with a pretty bad name. Who cares about that when you can buy a new dress as pretty as this for a mere 110 rand (about the same in kronor)?!? I sure don't.

This was a christmas gift last year from my mother-in-law, or rather two years ago I guess. I love halternecks, and I've got very few green dresses although I love green, so this has become a favorite. It's not vintage, and I don't know what it cost, but it's from a store called City Girl here in Durban.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

a sight for sore feet

So I've made my first little shopping round here, but I did good not spending very much on things I don't really need. A pair of ice blue peep toes from Mr Price for 40 rand (about 40 kronor) had to come home with me though, how could I resist? Most importantly I got a coffee plunger and fresh italian coffee and have made really good ice coffee for two days on a row. Got some coffee getting chilled now as well, can't wait for the next drink. When the temperature reaches 30 outside, it's lovely staying in front of the fan inside, watching dvd's and sipping ice coffee. Or going to a friend's new house with a pool, like we did yesterday, having a nice evening dip before dinner and a movie and cold white wine.

Flying here last weekend I had my mind set on going to the Heathrow Clarks store, where I wanted to buy these shoes I've looked at a thousand times at their website. When I got there though, my feet were so swollen and warm from the flight I couldn't really try anything on properly, even though I wanted to buy probably 10 pairs right away! For some reason most Clarks shoes don't make it to Swedish shoe stores, just the classic ones, but there are so many other cute ones I want to get my feet in. The pair I'd got my eyes on had a bit stiff heel, and my heels are ridiculously sensitive, so I decided to get these ones instead. They were also on sale and cost a mere 25 pounds. Of course I regret not getting the other ones now, and these super cute pink sandals. If I get to pass that terminal going back in June I'll see if they still have them and get them then. In the mean time it's not like I don't have anything to wear on my feet, and during the day I still very much enjoy not having anything on at all. On my feet that is.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

vintage vegas

I have never travelled as light as I did this time, only bringing 3 dresses! And some skirts and tops too, but still. It was an effort, and I'm quite proud of myself for making the cut. On the other hand, about 80% of my summer wardrobe was left behind here, so it's not really like I'll have to wear the same clothes over and over again. The one above is a flea market find for 60 kronor, from my only visit to Skrapan Vintage Market in Stockholm. They call it vintage market, but to me it definitely was more of a garage sale. A woman and her mother were selling some really nice real vintage things, lovely jewellery and old hats for example, but the prices were set a bit high for what I wanted that day. This dress was the only nice thing I found from the rest of the sellers, and it fit me perfectly. It was really 100 kronor, but the zipper is a bit tricky to get up sometimes, so I got a discount. The woman selling it said it was bought in Las Vegas, which is kinda cool.

This pretty little thing is one of the 5 dresses I got from that hair dresser basement vintage store on Götgatan, and it had to come along for this trip too. I just fell in love with the colour, and you can't really tell by this pic, but it's also got tiny freckle like black polka dots. The top part is see through though, so I'll have to wear a vest or something underneath, which isn't exactly ideal in this climate when you want to wear as little as possible, but I'll find a cloudy day to wear it I'm sure. The belt is missing too, but I've got a nice black one I can wear instead. It was also 150 kronor, like the rest of the bunch.

I'll take pics of the dresses I've got here pretty soon, and of course I'm looking forward to some more shopping while I'm here, even though summer season in the stores is almost over. Coming from a much colder climate it feels weird calling winter here winter I must say, but having experienced most seasons here by now (except spring) I can appreciate the difference between the seasons, although it's far from being as apparent as up north. Both ways is the only way I want it, to quote one of my favourite author's latest book.

Monday, 15 March 2010

great book cover art

It seems suitable to mention some great South African book cover art on my first day back here. Good thing I discovered these awesome new titles from publisher Modjaji Books. This one above is particularly my favorite, and by a very talented artist called Hannah Morris. Not only is she a brilliant illustrator, but also very good at hand lettering, a combination I might have mentioned before I'm very much all for. I also really like the title, and short stories, so as soon as this book is out I'll be sure to get a copy.

Any book cover with classic 60's dress silhouettes will catch my eye and draw me in.

More hand lettering and a beautiful use of colouring. In general I'm not a big fan of less is more philosophy, rather the opposite, but simple yet striking letters sometimes don't need anything else.

My cats here, especially Missy and Pixie, have affectionetly showed me how much they've missed me, and making me feel right at home again. The new addition to the family, Milou the little white fluffy dog, also seems to accept me fine, and I'm sure we'll become friends. And I'm grateful that it's been cloudy since I landed yesterday, making it a bit easier to ease into the heat, which is a huge climate change from the snow piles in Sweden. I was however accused of bringing a cold front, but I swear it was never my intention!

Friday, 12 March 2010

heading south again

Tomorrow I'm off to my other home again. Just looking at these pics from my first visit I realise how much I've missed Durban. The Indian Ocean. The amazing trees, that I just fall in love with every time I see them! Some streets are like tunnels of lilac blossoms, so beautiful. I miss going to Bangladesh market on Saturday mornings to buy fresh veggies and pirate dvds.

I miss the ice coffee at Café Bacio on Florida Road, and the falafel wrap at the NSA Gallery, not to mention their incredible gift shop. I miss Beanbag Bohemia, and the awesome dolphin show in Ushaka.

But from Sunday I don't have to miss it anymore, cos I'll be there again and do all those things. I'll get to drive those rollercoaster streets to the university again. And on the way I've got a mission: trying to find the Clarks shop at Heathrow airport and buy a pair of shoes I'm completely in love with! I'm also hoping for a similarly great selection of movies to choose from as the last time I went. So the next time you hear from me, I'll be somewhere else, but still here.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

owls and wool

Today I said goodbye to my colleagues for the next three months, when I will be working long distance. I also said hello to my new little owl friends that I found yesterday, and went back to fetch today. They come from a little store called Pryl, on Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 3, and I can't believe this was the first time I went there! Probably a good thing in a way, cos I would most likely have spent way too much money there. This time I settled for this little set of owls, almost too cute for words. They come in black, pink and green too, so it was horrible trying to choose cos they looked so lovely in any colour. In the end I went with red, cos I've got a lot of red, black and white clothes. Buying earrings and a necklace at the same time earned me a discount of 20 kronor, and in all I payed 340 kronor. When it comes to new design jewellery I don't mind that kind of price, especially when it's young female talented designers, and especially when you get to buy it from the designer herself. I really like that, getting to tell them how awesome they are. Go there at once and make sure you've got time to check everything out properly, and bring cash cos they don't have a credit card swipe just now.

Speaking of goodbyes and hellos, I'm also saying goodbye to my nice collection of berets for this winter. No need for wool where I'm going now. Can't wait to be able to be barefoot again too! As much as I do love my wool socks during the cold months, I love cool tile floors in the summer too.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

someone brilliant to brighten your day

Staffan Larsson is one of the most talented and imaginative artists around right now, in my humble opinion. If I was the creative president of the world, he would be seen all over the place! Right now he can be seen in places like this and this. I think his pictures are very musical, that's part of the appeal for me, since I'm a music maniac. And I don't just mean the fact that he incorporates musical instruments in the pictures sometimes, it's just something about the flow and use of colour and details that are so well composed in my eyes. I love pictures that I can look at forever and still find new things.

And sometimes he draws dresses that I want to wear and dance in. And write music to.
Incorporating wonderfully whimsical letters in pictures of course tickles my fancy every time.
To add up: Staffan Larsson is amazing and everybody should know his work. Pronto.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

come sunday next

I plan to wear this dress after having arrived to my other home on Sunday, and having had a refreshing shower after my long journey. It's not that many weeks ago I got it, but I've been so eager to wear it ever since and the weather up here hasn't really permitted it. One morning going to work I saw a very pretty polka dot red dress in the window to a hair dresser, which I found odd. Why would they put a dress in the window where they usually keep schampos? The morning after I walked a bit slower and noticed some shoes and other things as well, and a small sign saying "vintage in the basement". So after work I just had to find out what that was all about, if nothing else to find out what that pretty red dress cost. Chaos met me in the basement, the most wonderful chaos you could ever imagine, my heart started to beat so fast it was hard to breathe. Really. One entire room was filled with dresses, and some shoes. And what dresses ... Since the super friendly French guy who runs the little store just opened that day, he had an introduction price on everything, and the dresses were just 150 kronor each (normal price 250). Which isn't the best price ever, but certainly not the worst, and the selection was so overwhelmingly good I didn't think that hard before getting 3 at once. I went back a few days later with a friend and bought 2 more, and my friend bought 5 too!

Götgatan 84 is the address, and then just go down to the basement. Bring cash, in case he still hasn't got a credit card swipe machine. Oh, and the pretty red polkadot dress might still be there, cos unfortunately it was too small for me ...

Monday, 8 March 2010

salvation dresses saves the wardrobe

The Salvation Army store (Myrorna, Götgatan 79) across the street from my Stockholm home has become one of the best in the city, in my opinion. As with most stores you have to go there quite regularly, since they put up new stuff often and it'll sell quickly. It's very possible to get great finds still, even though some things are priced for what you get too nowadays. Guess a better range also means higher prices, which is fine by me. The one above is definitely one of the cutest from my fall shopping. 60's style polyester with an Asian lookalike print, with adorable little buttons on top (sorry for lack of close-up). 110 kronor.

This one is modern, but with a nice retro vibe to it, and a great fit. The print reminds me of Asian paper lamps. For 60 kronor I didn't even try it on the store, I just decided it would fit for that price. And years of vintage shopping, well shopping in general really, has made me quite good at accurately seeing what'll fit or not. Cotton stretch is of course one of the easier fabrics to know without trying it on if you're in a hurry, or the line to the dressing rooms are just trying your patience.

I like treating myself to nice dresses for a variety of reasons, but when it's my birthday all the more so. This one became a gift to myself last October, and I wore it on the very day of course. It's a little bit on the big side and I thought of taking it in on the sides, but with a belt, or this little cute ivory knitted bolero with mother of pearl sequence and pearl buttons from Åhléns, it looks great anyway. I might do the alterations in the summer, cos it's a nice light viscose fabric and very suitable for that season, when I can't really wear knitwear on top. It set me back a mere 105 kronor. I'd guess it's 80's, but the print looks 50's in my mind.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

feline friends of mine

This is Kassandra. She's an old lady, going on 19 years! She's like me though; she looks young for her age. When she was a tiny kitten she once walked into an almost empty popcorn bag. She loves boiled eggs more than anything, and she's not afraid of dogs since she grew up with one. I've had her for so long I can't imagine not having her around. For my time away now though, she's gotta go live somewhere else, and I'm certain she'll be taken care of so well until I get back.

Pretty Missy is a peculiar cat for sure. The first times I met her, I was convinced she hated me, and I've got great cat skills. I can persuade almost any cat to let me give them a cuddle. She was thought of as a bit stuck up, like she knew how pretty she is, that she didn't need a charming personality as well. But when she got used to me, cos I was living there instead of just visiting, suddenly I became her favorite. She chose me, and I'm very happy she did. She used to wake me up exactly at 6 every morning, when I'd let her in the bedroom window and give her a little bit of breakfast and hopefully, but not usually, she'd find a spot to sleep so I could too. She also likes to hide underneath my skirts.

Sometimes Missy and Pixie can accept eachother enough to sleep this close, which makes it a little bit difficult for me to do my work, cos I just wanna look at them. Pixie is the mother of Missy, but not very maternal. She's a naughty one, and she'll try and steal anything she can eat. When someone puts the kettle on, she'll come running and start to cry and make a big scene cos she knows it might persuade us to give her some milk.

Golly doesn't stay in our house as much, she's a little nervous, but once she's in and able to relax she's fine. Especially if her mum Pixie is close by. The sisterly rivalry between Golly and Missy is apparent. But while I'm accused of spoiling Missy, which I can't deny, Golly gets her fair share of spoiling from the others. And when she thinks no one is looking she's actually the most daring one of the bunch, always in fights with the neighbour cats, and catching the biggest bugs that she'll play with and usually leave for dead after a while. I've seen her jump up so high to catch a dragonfly.

So, let's end this cat loving odessey with my favorite pic of Pixie. Having three cats in one place makes it easier to bear being without my Kassandra when I'm away from my other place.

Friday, 5 March 2010

peacocks in particular can revive tulips

I bought a very pretty peacock shawl at Kina Li today, my cat likes it too. It cost 99 kronor. I also wanted to buy a dressing gown with peacocks, but it was a bit expensive I thought (399). The silk slippers I came there to buy I had to leave without, they only had big sizes left right now. I love that store anyway, Ringvägen 129, in case anyone's wondering. Worth a visit every time.

This is a rabbit that looks just like my cat. He's from IKEA. He says hello. Sometimes he scares me, cos I think it's my cat that looks weird. It's happened to visitors too. I still love him.

Yesterday my tulips I bought the day before looked like this in the morning. They had finished all the water over night.

I apologized and they perked up after that. Now I need to put on a dress and some make-up and go for a very much likely magical night at Lejonkulan, Dramaten, to see Loney, dear. Every show with him/them is a treat.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

font me, please

Okay, I'll admit I say "this is one of my favorite things" or "I love this more than anything" A LOT, but please don't hold it against me. Letters have always been one of the things I've been most enthusiastic about in life. I would say since I was about 5-6 years old, and became aware of longhand writing, particularly my grandmother's. It was the most beautiful writing I'd ever seen, and I made her teach me how to write my name like that. That was the beginning of a life long obsession with handwriting. Later on I started to appreciate fonts too, and as much as I love vintage clothes, I also prefer vintage letters. Today I've found this amazing place, where all the fonts are from: House Industries. I'm awestruck, really. I wish I had lots and lots of money to spend on fonts, and that I could wear them as clothes.

ps. I would also really like to meet these Rodeo Clowns from Sweden? Where are they?

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

my "it" girl and nowhere boy

Today I wanted to show my first Chinese girl, who followed me home from an antique shop in Notting Hill, London, 1999, for 5 pounds. I still love her as much as the day I first saw her, and I get so happy every time I look at her. She's got a few sisters on nearby walls, they'll visit another day.

I just came back from a preview screening of Nowhere Boy, the new film about John Lennon. It wasn't a great movie, but I enjoyed it immensely! And what I wouldn't do to get a time warp and head back to the late 50's/early 60's England ... The clothes! The furniture! The music! I'll admit I'd prefer something other than british post war food though, but I'll take the rest any day. I'm really jealous of my mum sometimes, to have lived as a teenager in that era, well late 60's that is. Little did she know back then that her future daughter would hunt vintage stores for the same clothes she'd wear every day. Or fall in love with old Chinese commercial posters.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

bargain books and more polyester

Today it was colder again and I took the opportunity to wear another one of my polyester 60's dresses. This particular one is from Berlin, and was paid for by weight, I think it cost 7 euro about 3 years ago. Pretty nice system I must say, haven't seen it anywhere else. I really like the geometrical, a bit unusual pattern, and the colours are great.

During my lunch I went to one of my fave book stores in the neighbourhood, the always wonderful Bokmagasinet at Hornsgatan 80 in Stockholm. They've got a perfect combination of new and antiquarian books, a good children's books corner, a back catalogue bargain room, and a beautiful selection of art postcards and notebooks. I was just gonna look around, not really buy anything (when did I ever manage that ...?), when something black and red with a gorgeous gold font caught my eye.

I fell in love with them just looking at the spines, took one down to check the price and it said 1-5 200 kronor. I asked someone if that was correct, cos there were 6 bands actually, and the store lady confirmed all of them cost just 200! I honestly started to shake with excitement a little bit, and then I also found out that they're from 1960. Pretty good year. Pretty, pretty good, as Larry David would put it. They're incredibly heavy so I only carried 3 of them home today, will bring the others tomorrow. Expect some quotations in the future.

Just look at that foil stamp! I'm a complete nerd when it comes to many things, but book details are one of the things that make me the happiest. Good thing I get to work with it for a living.

I also got a free baklava at the lunch place today, for being cute, which may sound a bit creepy but completely wasn't. It was a good baklava, but not as good as the best ones that we used to be able to buy next to work. That shop is unfortunately gone now, and I miss it pretty bad. I'm thinking of going to Turkey to get the real stuff one day. And obviously to visit Haga Sophia at least once. Yes, that I wanna do one day.

"BAT, the only mammal capable of true (powered) flight." The Caxton World of Knowledge, Vol. one A-Cap.