Monday, 17 April 2017

Winter Wardrobe Audit

At the beginning of winter season I compiled my winter wardrobe. I am not strict on having a 10 (or any other fixed number) item wardrobe but I noticed that I feel better when my wardrobe is not jam-packed. I keep all my out-of-season clothes in boxes and at the beginning of the season I select a number of items to put in my wardrobe for the upcoming season. Since I read a book Dressing Nifty After Fifty by Corinne Richardson several years ago, I use her suggestion to start planning one's wardrobe from making a list of activities during a two week period. I find this idea very helpful. I didn't repeat this exercise last autumn since I have done it already after retirement and my list of activities haven't changed since.
Anyway at the end of the winter season I decided to review how my assigned winter wardrobe worked, to make an analysis what I have actually wore and what items got little wear, and then decide what items I need to add or replace for the next winter.
Here are the core items from this year winter wardrobe.
Three bottoms - black pencil skirt, warm dark grey trousers and black trousers that are not that warm and more dressy. All three items are me-made.

Four tops - me-made bow tie blouse that I have refashioned, two knit-work tops and a shirt.

Four knit cardigans - pink, brown, black and dark grey. All cardigans are store bought except the dark grey one. Grey cardigan is recycled Asma cardigan that I didn't wear.

All in all my core winter wardrobe counts 11 items but the grey cardigan was added only in February, so at least half of the season it was a Ten-Item Wardrobe.

I calculated that it makes 33 different outfits. I should say that I felt quite comfortable with it and it took me through most of my winter activities rather well. I could compile a casual or more formal outfit from these eleven items.
There were some extra items of course for special occasions like Christmas etc. I also don't count T-shirts (two T-shirts - black and white) and home-wear. Since we have central heating and the outside air temperatures are very low I always change clothes when I go out or come home.

I know that many people do this exercise at the beginning of the season and I have done this before as well. I still have to decide about my summer clothes. In previous years I started planning my summer wardrobe already in February and for me it worked perfectly well. Since I aim to sew and knit the most part of my wardrobe I need some time to make things. This year I am a little behind but it is still early spring here. Spring is late this year, we still have zero temperatures and even had a little bit of snow today.

Happy Easter!

 My hand-dyed traditional eggs for Easter.

Till next time...

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Beauty, Books and Inspiration

The picture is from my trip to Venice

I've been feeling a little bit down lately. Since the end of the winter after all snow has gone we have such an ugly weather, everything is so grey, dull and dirty. It was return of snowfall for a week, then followed by a week of rainy, windy and cold weather. On top of it the news lines every day make me sick. I am so desperate for beauty. Seeing beautiful pictures of lush greenery and blue skies on the blogs I follow is a real treat.
It made me seeking some inspiration and thinking about how can people create beauty in life when they have no influence on their milieu. I was looking for some inspiration and role models that I can follow.
First one that came to my mind was the Virgin Mary. She lived in the city of Nazareth in the middle of the desert and the family was poor. I've been trying to imagine her everyday environment and how she lived. I am sure she managed to turn into beauty everything she touched.
My second choice of inspiration is my all times favorite "Jane Eyre", especially the chapter when she moved in a small school cottage in Morton. Jane Eyre has always been my favourite heroine, since my childhood.
My other favorite book is "Little Women". I like reading the description of their modest but cozy living room, how they plan presents for their mother and how they manage their resources.
Another favourite of mine is a novel by Nina Fedorova  "The Family".  It has been published in 1940 and I guess it hasn't been reprinted since that time but I can't recommend it more. It's a real gem. "The family" is a fragments of a big aristocratic family who live in exile in China after the 1917 Russian revolution. A Grandmother, a Mother, a young granddaughter and two nephews. They have literally no money but remain so beautiful in their attitude towards each other and outer world, show such a wonderful example of christian love and support to those in need and devotion to their friends. I think this book deserves five stars. If you ever have a chance to read it, I can't recommend it more.

The postcard I placed at my desk. 
A painting by Russian artist Ivan Aivazovsky (1844).

 What inspires you?

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Back to blogging

It has been really long time since I last wrote in my blog. Now I feel that I am getting my blogging mojo back. Partly due to reading interesting and thought provoking posts in a number of blogs that I follow. After reading them I feel a desire to echo back.
During my absence I have had several major changes in my lifestyle that required time to adjust to them. I went in retirement and my son got married. Both events were no surprise and long foreseen. Now I don't work and take care about my mother who is 86, and my son lives very far from me. My new lifestyle asks for a different wardrobe, more casual style, a wardrobe for a homemaker. This is very foreign for me so I need to learn a lot.
Last but not least addition to my life are two rescued cats.

That's enough about past and now about what I would like to aspire in my sewing/knitting projects.
I am into making a lot of recycling / upcycling. Make do and mend is my motto now. There are several reasons for it. Not only because I am naturally thrifty and hate waste but also for economical reasons, as well as for educational reason. If  I don't wear the garment (and I have a lot of these) means that I've made a wrong choice, either of style or pattern or material (fabric, yarn). Another option is that it doesn't fit my current lifestyle. I am determined to have all my garments wearable and to learn to "see" the best use for the fabric (yarn), to be able to identify the pattern that will be the best use  for the fabric. I have already an example of successful recycling that I am going to show in one of future posts. Another goal is to finally create a harmonious and well curated wardrobe where all pieces go well together.
I guess that now my blog will be focused not only on sewing and knitting but also at frugal living while after retirement the resources are scarce. Nevertheless my aim is to live in retirement with dignity, elegance and joy.
I bought a flower today  and the cats have already trimmed it :).

I think I have to sow some oats for them. Unfortunately they don't eat the grass that I buy for them in a pet shop.