Friday, September 28, 2012

Show and tell: 1990s beaded bling

Did you ever have Show and Tell when you were a kid in school? That's when you could stand up and show something of yours to the class and talk about it. We did this in Kindergarten and it was the highlight of the week, let me tell you!

I'm in a 1990s frame of mind these days (case in point; two floral 'ditzy' dresses purchased on Etsy recently, one of which is velvet! Will show you when they arrive). So I thought I'd show you some bling from the '90s I've kept over the years but haven't worn since then - like these metal and wooden earrings my twin sis made me back in the day.

She made me these ones too. Remember how big beading was back in the 1990s?

Ditto for these ones. I used to wear these hoops ALL the time. Alas, now I have only one. Perhaps I can make it into a pendant.

I don't wear earrings these days as they make my ears all red and infected, but I may just try to accessorize this necklace my sis made me with something soon. Did I make her anything? Nope, bad person, I know. But she is the artist and I can hardly draw a stick person. As the writer, I pen funny poems and songs for her on our B-day.

My best friend made me these.

I had long hair for part of the 1990s and loved these barrettes for pulling my hair back. I doubt I'll ever have long hair again, but like the beaded pieces, I just had to hang onto them.

I leave you with another kind of Show and Tell, a snap taken in the summer as I was walking along the lake and saw a duck and her wee chicks swimming in the water. Can you tell what's on mommy's back? She's the duck in the centre.

Can you see? It's a baby duck, riding on its mommy's back!

Maybe it was the weak one in the bunch? Hope it made it, 'cos I still get the warm fuzzies looking at this!

Happy weekend!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Steampunk chic

Plumbing problems this past weekend necessitated, among other things, a rather urgent trip to the **laverie automatique**, so, in keeping with the semi-industrial feel of a laundromat, I channeled my inner steampunk goddess with some recently acquired goodies from a charity shop I recently discovered.

The place: Vestiare St. Martin, a donation-based community venture that helps disadvantaged people. It's literally a ten-minute walk from where I live.

Like the sign says, the store is open only 2.5 hours a day.

Judging by the line up just before opening time, this place is a hit with the locals.

I can see why: most items average between .30-.50 cents! Case in point: this leather messenger handbag, made in France by luxury handbag maker Texier. It was .50 cents! Granted, it stunk of cigarette smoke, but a wash with wood soap in the washer (when the washer worked, and no, I'm not crazy; it didn't destroy the leather!), along with a detox in a bag filled with coffee grains, seems to have taken most of the smell away. (If any one else has suggestions for getting smell out of leather, please let me know. Right now I have some vanilla extract-soaked cotton balls inside to soak up the odor).

I picked up these semi-baggy boyfriend jeans at the same place for .30 cents! These are unreal prices for me. The pants are short but I think they work. I used to wear such tight, wide-legged jeans. The look turns me off now; it's so not applicable here! Now these are my new fave jeans.

I found this velvet vest at the Bazaar Sans Frontieres a few weeks ago for a buck - not their usual pricing but there was a table outside that day and everything on it was one Euro. I don't normally do vests but I had a bunch in the 1990s, and for some reason, that whole '90s look is really appealing to me these days. This baby had a hippie-Victorian feel to it.

I thought this compass necklace, bought a few years ago when I was doing the long-distance thing with my now hubby, was the perfect piece of bling to really tie up the steampunk look. I rarely wear it but it always makes me smile - it actually works too (in case I get lost)!

The cashmere sweater was a gift and you've already seen my fave lace-up booties, bought last Fall in a Toronto vintage shop for about $35. I thought this graffiti wall around the corner from the laundromat was the perfect backdrop for this outfit.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September in Annecy & Vide Greniers

I love Annecy this time of year. The days are warm - warm enough for bikinis on the beach - yet the bulk of the tourists have left, so the old town and lake are blissfully quiet, except on market days or weekends. I plan on coming back to this now-deserted dock now that all the boat renters have left. Maybe drink some vino and watch the sunset with hubby? Ahh sounds dreamy.

North Americans may be used to garage sales in the Spring, but in France, September is the time for Vide Greniers, which are essentially the UK equivalent of car boot sales crossed or North American flea markets but translate into "empty attics."

Basically people rent tables and get rid of their stuff. There was one in the main city square a few weekends ago, so I popped in to have a peep. There was a lot of junk not worth buying in my opin - cheap mass-market clothing etc - but if you dug around you could find quite the deals as many items were 3-4 Euros each.

I spent a grand total of 15 Euros and walked away with a few good finds, including this rock n' roll necklace with a cute Swarovski heart for 5 Euros.

I should have bought the big golden-tone ring in the corner for 2 Euros, and the matching gold-tone bracelet, which could also be worn as a choker. The woman selling the bling bought it in India.

You know my obsession for tapestry bags. Lately I've been haunting Etsy for ethnic bags. I found this fab leather and Ikat purse on Etsy for around 34 Euros if memory serves. I've been looking for more bags of a similar ilk but am too much of a cheapskate ....

... so finding this leather and fabric bucket style bag for 3 Euros at the Vide Grenier was a super treat!

I bought some designer jeans, not pictured here, for 4 Euros, but my absolute finito buy: these leather booties, made in Portugal by Minka Design, for 3 Euros - love! (They'd probably sell for 100+ Euros as I've seen tall boots of the same mark new for 200 Euros).

My French look, with the boots: thrifted 7 For All Mankind Jeans; thrifted Teenflo blazer (how apt that it's a Paris-based label ... but found the blazer and matching skirt in Toronto!) in a glorious brown and neutral velvet; cashmere sweater gifted; new scarf and sunnies; and 'everything bag' purchased on Etsy.

They're just the perfect booties to wear around Annecy: flat so practical for uneven, cobblestone streets, yet also possessing a certain amount of chic (the French here aren't obsessed with heels, and it makes sense!). Thanks to my darling hubby for snapping the above two shots and for making this one artsy, with his shadow in the foreground and the glorious French Alps overlooking Lac Annecy in the background.

I leave you with a photo of a very elderly couple - both with walking canes! - I spied sitting on a bench around the Lake the other day. I thought they were so sweet, and they're not an uncommon sight: there are a lot of old, yet very fit, couples in Annecy and you can often see them out walking together. You tend not to see this type of thing in Canada. The climate, diet and lifestyle is so wonderfully different here that people stay active into their elderly years. I am sure people live longer here (I have read that people on the French Riviera live an average of ten years longer than the average American). I'm staying put!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

1990s looks, thrifted

My eyes are shut here - maybe because I'm dreaming of the perfect thrifted outfit?

Not! That's because I'm wearing it! I thrifted this 1990s-esque (possibly 1980s?) jumper dress last year in Toronto for under 10 bucks. It's a deep navy blue with a wee green and yellow paisley-like pattern on it, and  it reminds me of something Phoebe from the TV show **Friends** would have worn. I'm wearing it with a tee I thrifted for 3 Euros at the thrift shop I told you about last time.

You may notice the bag? That's my distressed SAS handmade in Texas "everything" bag I showed you a while back, purchased on Etsy and found in my mailbox last week - love!! It just so happens to go with my equally distressed (and thrifted) Kenneth Cole boots - yay!

I found the 1970s red-rimmed sunnies in Toronto with the original tag still on the lens. Locket is vintage Avon found in a Toronto vintage shop - it used to have perfume inside!

Shoes and necklace: new and bought in Annecy.

Not the most flattering pic, but flashback! I think I had this exact same dress in the 1990s: long, flowy, slightly shapeless, and with teeny floral patterns - remember? I got rid of all these dresses when more form-fitting and less fussy styling came into being in 2000 or so - major regret! I found this in an Annecy vintage shop for 18 Euros - not the cheap and dirty pricing I'm used to in Canada or the UK but ahh, what's a girl who's groovin' on the 1990s to do? I will wear these dresses with jean jackets, big scarves and booties when the weather cools a bit ... Maybe I'll even splurge for a cropped leather jacket like all the girls in Annecy are wearing ....

See how versatile my 'new' bag is?

The necklace was dug up this weekend at a Vide Grenier - will show you a close up soon as I went home with a good haul and I have to show you all of it!

Have a fab weekend every one.

Friday, September 7, 2012

News flash: I found a charity shop in Annecy!

Who would have thought? There may not be 15 charity shops scattered in the main shopping area like there was in St Annes in the UK, but there actually IS the equivalent if a HUGE charity shop right here in Annecy, literally a ten-minute walk from me! I found out about it on an Expat Forum.

As the van says, it's called Bazar sans Frontieres. It's a association that provides employment opportunities for socially disadvantaged people, much like the Goodwill that I know and love in Canada. The website has different numbers but the French gent with whom I spoke says the organization employs 24 such people on site.

The place is huge, consisting of several buildings in which you'll find clothing, furniture, and books/bric-a-brac. Those are the French Alps in the background, BTW.

Outside there's stuff like old basins and tubs. I thought this iron day bed was particularly French!

You wouldn't believe the furniture building - two floors of it! The first floor is lined with solid wood armoires starting as low at 150 Euros!

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may remember, from my Toronto apartment, my penchant for green velvet.

Sigh. Retro velvet just doesn't excite me anymore.

But if I could have turned this tapestry chair into a handbag, I would have in a flash.

I can't quite banish velvet from my thoughts though: I hauled hubby back one rainy day last week to look a this brown velvet loveseat. I thought it was quite French looking. He hated it, alas.

You may recall the 20-some lamps I had in Toronto, most of which were thrifted, and then given away when I moved overseas (the ones I couldn't part with are at my Mom's for safe-keeping). Now we are lampless in Annecy. I picked up this green baby for 6 Euros as I liked the shape. I left the shade there as it stank of the smoke of 10,000 cigarettes. Now I need to find a shade. I can never remember what 'lampshade' is in French, so my phrase of choice is when asking shop keepers: "Quelque chose pour mettre sur un lumiere,"  and then some sign language and an air drawing in the shape of a triangle. Oh dear, no wonder I'm not finding one.

I found five paisley boho napkins for 1 Euro total.

They totally complement the paisley tablecloth, pictured underneath, that I found at last month's brocante market in Annecy for 6 Euros!

Here's a quick peep at the table with its new covering. Tres French, n'est ce pas?

So is this wee stool, picked up for 7 Euros, which now reposes at the foot of our bed. Why?

Because my darling 16-year old little stinker loves hanging on the bed, and she has difficulty getting onto it sometimes. Our lovely new Ralph Lauren duvet cover is slowly getting ruined with pick marks as she claws her way to the top, poor wee thing.

The little fart jumped on it right away and slept on it for a total of three days. Now it doesn't exist. Off her radar completely. She looks like the Cat that Ate New York or something here, teehee.

The housewares building was a gold mine of inexpensive ceramics, pottery, bowls etc. Check out this "Made in Annecy" pottery serving plate - boho gorg and only .80 cents! This would be a great place to come and suss out local pottery etc for souvenirs.

My crowning achievement that day: finding these Made in France corkscrews made out of dried grape vines, for 1 Euro each!!!. My bro-in-law has one from France that he loves that broke, so guess what he's getting for his B-day pressie?

In fact, every one I know and love is getting one as they're FAB souvenirs. Most have teeny metal plaques screwed into them identifying the maker and place of origin - this one says Annecy Le Vieux, which is a suburb of Annecy.

I'm so obsessed with these things that I cleaned them out (five in total). Then I went back a few days later and found another for .50 cents. Score!

For now they comprise an 'artful' centrepiece when piled in a French-made bowl (bought new) and sitting atop an April Cornell tablecloth purchased recently on Etsy (I had, like, ten tablecloths in Canada and - surprise surprise - I gave them ALL away, duh).

I have more show and tell but will leave it at that tonight. Have a wonderful weekend every one!