Saturday, 19 February 2011

Dress Up Dublin

Whirly. Liberating. Happy. Smiley. Uplifting. And did I mention happy already? This is what my time has been since the last post. Yeah, I made the trip to Dublin, of which more to follow, but I've had so much warmth and joy in my life of late. And it makes me smile. Constantly. Like an idiot. Don't mind though. If this is what an idiot feels like, just write me down as one. I feel like hugging everyone, and singing, and dancing. And I pretty much do all of that. And did I mention smiling already? Ok, ok, don't scream yeat, let's get back to Dublin...

My days in Dublin indeed also flew by in a whirl of vintage shopping. Like I said in the previous post, my friend there has gotten bit by the vintage bug and needed some 'personal shopping' advice, gladly provided by me. I love going through racks and racks of clothing and accessories in vintage boutiques, thrift stores and flea-markets, most of the time the stuff that I find just doesn't suit me because of my puzzling measurements, but since my friend is of a more vintage-friendly build, I was alltogether too happy to oblige. We started by going through the charity shops in the Temple Bar area, and I have to say that the variety there was surprisingly good, thought obviously, at the times, overpriced. If the shop has a separate section labelled with a huge sign saying 'vintage' you just know you're going to end up paying more. Even so, twenty euros for a dress is hardly too much. 

Sorry about the head-chop...
My darling friend
deemed herself not bloggable
facewise due obviously to
my crappy photography.

The dress is lovely, as is her face, by the way. You listening to me, Darling?? There was one button missing on top, which she was going to fix by transferring the middle on from the bottom. The buttons and the white ruffle are actually black-on-white minuscule polkadots. And the sort of Mod - mini look suits my leggier-than-should-be-legal friend perfectly.

Retro can be found
at George's Street Arcade.

And of course, we had to pop in at that one, Retro, since my friend was interested in finding the perfect pencil skirt. Which she did in fact find, only not from there but from another shop place altogether. But back to that later, at Retro there were indeed some unbelievably nice dresses and yes, pencil skirts, but frankly, almost 70euros for a pencil skirt is waaaaay too much. And yes, the dresses, Pinup Girl Clothing, Vivienne of Holloway et al, yes, lovely, but I can not afford, nor would I part with that kind of money even if I could, for a dress. To pay around 160e for a bengaline dress with, I hate to say this, not too exquisite sewing, this I can not do. The designs are fantastic, and really, really flattering to a curvy figure though. The sizes go up to there, so I'm sure anyone could be able to find a dress suited to their needs there. The fact that I balk from buying one myself probably stems simply from the fact that I've gotten so used to making my own dresses that the idea of actually spending some serious money on one needs some serious getting used to it. And as to the craftmaship, just blame it on Claire Shaeffer... But really, if you need a repro dress and don't mind parting with the money for it, this is the place to go.

Harlequin, at 
13 Castle Market

I had read a lot about the above mentioned vintage store, and it did in fact live up to its reputation. Of course, that would be the Harlequin. Two floors of well chosen merchandise, friendly and helpful staff, and oh yes, everything on the top floor reduced to half price. I do believe this is where my friend made one of her best purchases, the moddish mini-dress in the above picture. Not being a mini skirt kind of person myself it is lovely to see someone rocking that style so completely. I've sometimes come across people thinking about vintage dressing, and imagining it being solely about circle skirts and petticoats, swingy dresses and pencil skirts, but really, if you begin with the 20's, no, why not go all the way to the Victoriana, and travel up to the 80's, then let me ask you what type and style of clothing will you NOT come across with?

Not fashionable? Not trendy? Who cares, and besides, actually, I do believe they just might be that, at least considering the price developments during the past couple of decades. But back to Harlequin, definitely worth the trip. Though I had heard some complaints about it being pricey, I still think its well worth a visit. While my friend was trying on her choices, I found a couple of genuine 1940's dresses there on the evening dress rack. One with fantastic open point appliques, and since they were both way too tiny for me to actually consider trying on, I spent some quality time going through the seams, buttons, looped buttonholes and methods of hemming. Lord those women knew how to make a dress!

found at The Loft
but click on the link to their
online shop above.

Monday, we were intending on taking a peek at The Loft Market on the top floor of the Powerscourt Townhouse, but unfortunately found it has limited opening times of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. However, should those times suit you, do drop by. Besides the both new and vintage clothing and accessories, you can also find Aliquo Jewellery there, which I find absolutely lovely. They also have an online shop, click on the link to get there. I have my sights on the Tori Necklace...


On the second floor of the Powerscourt there are also some really nice shops selling genuine vintage jewellery, though for these pieces, be prepared to pay. A lot. And yes, I did see my marcasite brooch there. And there it stayed. Maybe next time. Sigh.

On the 2nd Sunday of each month, there's a thing called The Mingle Market held at the Dublin Co-op building at Newmarket Sq, that is actually supposed to be a fancy costume market, but as far as I could tell there was exactly one stall selling costumes as such. All the other stalls were selling vintage wares, handmade jewellery and other curiosities, organic produce, pastries and such. Fantastic. For me, the market yielded a pair of black bow-topped, open-toe wedges, a story book about Irish fairies by a small independent publishing company from the west of Ireland, and a cupcake. Yes, just one. Red Velvet, with cream cheese frosting, red candy hearts and a waffle stick. And yes sir, it was indeed lovely. And while we were sitting in the cafe, me munching away happily on my cupcake and sipping a giant cup of steaming hot black coffee there was actually a live band performing for the minglers. And now, please forgive me for my, again, crappy photography, but here goes...

They're called Truly DiVine 
and Her Indulgents
and I for one wouldn't mind
hearing some more. 
Sensual. Smooth. Sassy.

I still have cakes, burlesque and all sorts of thingies to write about, but am going to keep this post on the topic of vintage and vintagey shopping, so a couple of more dropworthy places still to go... Do not miss Lucy's Lounge. This was my favourite. By far. Suitably shabby, fantastic merchandise, just plain easy-going atmosphere, and a delightful proprietor to boot. Do Not Miss. I found myself two little precious thingybobbies there...

First, this feathery ring, which you can purchase also at True Birds Vintage Inspired Jewellery online shop.

'' Feathers symbolise the ability to take flight,
either spiritually,
emotionally or creatively.''
Suits me fine.

And then this one...

Which you can also find on 
Etsy by

Yeah, I seem to have a thing for birdies and feathers and trees these days. Go figure. And now I'm going to hop and skip to the kitchen for some munchies, and then I'm going to go back to my stupid smiling and begin writing a letter. Yes. A Real Letter. On paper. With a pen. Woohoo. So all you lovely people out there, smile stupidly, dance like your life depends on it and sing though you can't carry a single note. I will. Bliss.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Things That Make Me Happy

What's with the summer picture, you might very well ask. But let me ask you this. Do you ever think to yourself one moment or another, ' This, right here, this feeling that I have right now, this I want to remember' ? And do you, remember? Last summer, I was driving home with the Daughter from an evening spent at the beach, riverside. The air sat heavy, the car windows open, I could smell barbecues, wood heating saunas. See the lush green of the grass, the birch tree leaves. On the back seat the Daughter was sitting quietly, her cheeks flushed, her hair in wet tangles. Little Happy Miracle wrapped in a huge fluffy towel. Barefoot. Legs still covered in sand. Not minding at all. Summer. Me in the front seat, left arm hanging out of the window. Barefoot. Still in my bathing suit, with just a thin, gauzy linen tunic thrown over it. Not caring one whit if somebody thought my legs were too thick, my calves too white. The feeling of the warmth of the sun erasing anything but that single moment from my mind. The road in front of us. The happiness between us. On our way to home. And I thought, ' This, right here, this I want to remember'. And today, just now, I did. I can hear the wind howling outside, it's cold, it's dark, and this is what I remembered. Somebody said that we don't remember days, we remember moments. Indeed.

The Daughter's Feet. 
Sun. Water. 

Today, I went ice-skating. I know, you might also very well ask if I have, finally, gone officially insane. Not so though, I only skated for about a quarter of an hour and changed into my trekking boots as soon as my ankles started crying. And they seem to be fine now. So maybe I'll take another spin tomorrow. Not that I will be jumping and pirouetting any time soon, but it was a fantastic feeling to be able to move your body, to at least attempt to make it follow your commands to create those beautiful curves and spirals on the ice. And this was followed by some playground time with the Daughter, until my suggestion of some hot chocolate and marshmallows was answered with a resounding ' Yes Mommy!' continued with 'And then we sit on the sofa, and we take your blankie and you get one end and I get another and we eat cookies and watch whatever I want to watch'. Fine by me, darling. Which is exactly what we did.

Heart from my Heart,
you are.

We took a 'home day' today, both for her, from her kindergarten, and for me, from whatever I was supposed to be doing today. Started the day lazing around in bed. Playing ants. My fingers being the ants and her hands being a catapult that threw the ants into space only to land in a tickling mass on her belly. Loooots of tickling and laughter. Watching old Peter Pan and Tinkerbell film. And she says '' I want to bake, Mommy'. Which is what we did. Sugar cookies in the shape of hearts and flowers, raspberry jam in the middle. Spaghetti for lunch. Eaten on the sofa. Oooh, we were such two lazy little mice. Made a huge princess and castle puzzle on the floor of her room, on top of which she decided to dance because according to her that put her dancing in the castle itself. 

Now she is sleeping. Two duvets. Two dolls. Numerous pillows that she spreads all over the bed. A stack of children's books on her nightstand and a ladybug nightlight glowing dimly next to her bed. When she wakes up, she will grab the ladybug, and it will light her way as a torch for her to come to my room and climb in my bed, asking me if it is already morning. She is my miracle. She is the single most precious, most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me and I am so proud to be able to call myself her Mom. 

You Will Find Your Way.

I am still very tired. Next week, I'm heading to Dublin, Ireland, for the Valentines. For a decidedly un-Valentine Valentine though it shall be. Two old-time Girlies sifting through the vintage wares of the city, in search of the perfect pin-up dress for my Friend, with an occasional cake cafe thrown in. For me, books. And more books. And if a lovely marcasite brooch should happen to find its way to my vicinity, well, welcome home, little one. 

And this is something I've been wanting to do a long time...

Things That Make Me Happy

Children's Laughter
Smelly Cheese
Fountain Pens
Black Coffee
Old Lace
Walking Barefoot
...even in Puddles
Brushed Silk
Fresh Bread
Handwritten Letters