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Entries in holiday (86)

Tuesday
Jan012019

Picnic-Perfect

The first day of January is a perfect day for a picnic, and what is a more perfect picnic outfit than one featuring gingham? There is something just so cheerful about this fabric, and my favourite combination is red and white, although I do have other colours.

Gingham is usually made from cotton or cotton-blends, but the origin of it is open to speculation, possibly originating from the Malay, or from a town in France, or even perhaps from the Dutch. Many women would associate gingham with school uniforms, which may put them off, or imbue it with an affectionate nostalgia. My high school uniform was a green and grey plaid, so I have no such reminders. (I don’t think I’d want to wear a dress made from my high school plaid though – the notion makes me laugh aloud.)

There is something just so cheerful about this fabric …

Perhaps the picnicking connotations has to do with red and white checked cloths traditionally used in picnic baskets? While a picnic did not after all transpire on my first day of the year, I did have a friend visit for afternoon cake and coffee on my balcony, and we went for a walk in the local Botanic Gardens. I was pleased to wear a red and white gingham dress rather than this exact outfit, as it was far too warm for denim.

This blouse was actually gifted to me by the friend I saw today, which is apt, and the vintage 60s hat I purchased on eBay. The adorable heels were purchased from Anthropologie on sale. They were a bit expensive to start with, and I dithered so long over buying them, by the time I finally did they were drastically reduced – hurrah!

It was a lovely sunny day in the gardens (I carried a red parasol), and while my friend and I ambled around, we came across plenty of picnicking parties – a pleasant beginning to the year indeed.

I hope that 2019 brings you joy and fulfillment, and the strength to see any challenges through. Here’s to a fresh new year!

Photos: September 2018

Wednesday
Dec262018

Three Christmas Kings

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts, we traverse far
Field and fountain
Moor and mountain
Following yonder star

Oh, star of wonder, star of might
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading
Still proceeding
Guide us to thy perfect light …

Boxing Day is traditionally – I’m talking about medieval traditions that is – the day the ruling lords rewarded their serfs with boxes of presents. In places of worship, alms boxes collected donations for the poor. I wonder if this tradition could have been inspired by the three kings (or wise men) who followed a star and traversed a vast distance to present their gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby in the manger?

More recently of course, Boxing Day traditions have us all rushing to the shops to buy discounted presents for our well-deserving selves!

The carol tells the story of the three wise men in the Bible who had seen a star in the east and travelled to Bethlehem in search of the baby born King of the Jews. The song – both words and music – was penned in 1857 by the American John Henry Hopkins Jr, and the opening verses are beautifully lyrical. Sung in rounds it sounds both solemn and joyous.

I hope you all enjoyed both giving and receiving gifts yesterday … excuse me now, I’m off shopping!

~

Fashion Notes

Amazingly I actually already owned all these vintage maxi dresses, hats and wigs which were perfect to illustrate three wise (wo)men. On the left, I am wearing a 60s silk dress, with a vintage 40s black and white turban, and beaded slippers by Mollini; in the centre, is a green 70s lurex gown, with a vintage 60s velvet turban decorated with a vintage rhinestone bird brooch, and the slippers are by Sarti; on the right is a vintage 60s striped empire line dress, with a vintage 40s pink jacket, 60s silk petal hat and beaded slippers which were a souvenir from Vietnam. I am standing in front of the entrance to the King's palace, in Fes, Morocco, where I visited in 2011.

Photo: December 2018

Tuesday
Dec252018

A Christmas Angel

Hark! the herald angels sing, 
“Glory to the new-born King! 
Peace on earth, and mercy mild, 
God and sinners reconciled” 
Joyful, all ye nations, rise, 
Join the triumph of the skies; 
With th' angelic host proclaim, 
“Christ is born in Bethlehem.” 
Hark! the herald angels sing, 
“Glory to the new-born King!”

Well, I knew this song had been around for a long time, because they don’t write lyrics like they used to, but I didn’t know that it was written in 1739 by the famous Methodist preacher Charles Wesley. Interestingly, he requested slow and solemn music, and it was not until one hundred years later that the more joyful music still used today was composed by Felix Mendelssohn.

Wesley had based his lyrics on the angelic choir I talked about in yesterday’s Christmas Eve story, so today’s picture is a fitting, if more stylised extension, as I depict the angel heralding the shepherds.

I decided to go for a Renaissance style angel in gloriously colourful and billowing clothes, sumptuously golden wings (large antiqued wall ornaments, borrowed from Hurn & Hurn – which you can actually buy – fantastic!) and a deliciously gold background reminiscent of some paintings and frescoes of the era, or Byzantine icons (another art period I love).

Merry Christmas! I hope you have a wonderful and celebratory day, however you spend it.

~

Fashion Notes

I am wearing a blue top with silk puffed sleeves by Australian designer Lisa Ho, a silk taffeta vintage 70s skirt, beautifully dyed and embroidered fabric that I think must have been a sari as it is so long (I bought this in a vintage boutique in Sydney when I was a teenager!), and a copper metal headpiece of flowers by which label I remember not.

Photo: December 2018

Monday
Dec242018

A Christmas Shepherd

While shepherds watched
Their flocks by night
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around
And glory shone around …

Here we are again at this festive time of the year, at Christmas Eve. You may be celebrating another religious festival altogether, or none at all, simply enjoying spending time with family and loved ones. But this is after all Christmas, celebrating the birth of Christ.

I must confess, when I was thinking about what to do for my Christmas stories this year, this carol came into mind, and my thoughts kept diverging to the naughty schoolchild lyrics, “While shepherds washed their socks by night …” I debated doing a humorous picture to suit, but eventually decided to keep it clean (haha), and give you my interpretation of a trio of Christmas carols.

The story of the angel appearing to the shepherds is told in chapter two of the book of Luke in the Bible (verses 8–20), and is recounted just as the song lyrics poetically put it: the shepherds are told of the birth of a Saviour, Christ the Lord, whom they would find in a humble manger. Suddenly they were surrounded by a heavenly choir of angels singing praises to God. After this, the marvelling shepherds hurried off to find it all just as the angel had told them, and they went away telling everyone all that they had seen and heard.

Maybe you’ll be listening to carols tonight, or maybe you’ll be watching a favourite holiday film (mine is The Holiday with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz), but whatever you are doing today, I hope it is both pleasurable and joyous!

~

Fashion Notes

I’m a lone shepherd here, standing in a field in the Rif Mountains of Morocco (a photo I took in 2011), wearing a jellabiya I bought in Morocco, and over the top a sleeveless jacket by Australian brand Country Road, with thrifted tan leather sandals.

Photo: December 2018

Tuesday
Dec042018

When Silver Louboutins Are Not Enough

It is seldom indeed that one might declare, “Silver Louboutins are not enough on their own!” But it might be at the height of the silly season, n’est pas?

When this occasion arises once a year, may I propose a pair of vintage 60s silver crystal shoe clips to remedy this untoward situation? Shaped like snowballs, pom-poms or what-you-will, these articulated beaded clips will shake merrily all the way to the party.

I found mine in a thrift store, but there are plenty to be found on Etsy new and old to delight the festive spirit. Start decking out those party feet now!