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Of Bikes and Bathing

You wouldn’t know it by the weather we’ve been having since June started (am I the only one who’s been wearing wool every day?), but summer’s here, which means two things as far as I’m concerned – bike trips and swimming.

I’m not necessarily overdue for a new touring bike. My 2006 Fuji is an amazing ride and I love it to pieces. It’s carried me through Yukon, Alaska, B.C., Ontario, Quebec, New Bruswick, Nova Scotia and PEI.

HOWEVER, as of today, Bike Hounds is a Surly dealer. How could I resist? So if you want to buy my Fuji, I could use the cash to finance my new Long Haul Trucker.

Oh, Trucky! I’m going to treat you right – wrap you with leather bar tape and set you up with a Brooks saddle!

Also included in the order was a Pugsley.

Can you tell the size of the tires? How about now?

This was a special order and it’s good for the most adverse of riding conditions ie: snow, sand, gravel, fields. It’s intense. Maybe I should start saving for it now so I have it in time for next winter? Assuming we ever have winter again?

Anyway, all this bike trip talk got me thinking about swimming and I realized I haven’t really got a bathing suit. I have 1, 000 bikini tops, but no bottoms. I have a one-piece for swimming lengths but it is all function and no flattery. I have a birthday suit, but that’s not family-friendly, and I have a long list of bathing suit preferences and hang-ups that rule out most suits ie: I want some serious shorts action. I am not a sunbather – I’m a splasher and a paddler and a jumping-off-cliffser and I need to move and be comfortable and not worry about flashing people.

As such, I spent the last 24 hours obsessing over vintage suits. Online. I know the dangers, but I feel like this is the only way. And since I’ve made my decisions, I thought I’d share some of my faves that are all (as far as I know) still up for grabs.

This Bond-girl bather is from Closet Case Vintage

This is a mint condish suit from the 1940s. Still has the tags. Also has all my measurements down to a T, except in the bust, where it’s a thousand times too big. Someone should get this. It’s the perfect suit. Careless Darlin’.

Sorry about your luck on this guy. He’s mine. So is the following…

What? So I bought two! They were crazy affordable! And since I had already decided to cough up the cash for the 40s suit (before I read the full measurements and that idea went bust, no pun intended), it was almost like I was SAVING money by buying these two. PS – if you or your children need a math tutor, I think I’ve proven my worth with that equation.

Anyway, there are still a handful of good suits and beautiful everything else at Aiseirigh Vintage.

Nautical Nelly, ahoy! I almost bought this one in the dead of night last night but they don’t have Canadian shipping listed and no one responded before I freaked out and bought the other two. If you’re interested, I’ll let you know (as soon as I hear) if this suit can come north from Your Bird.

This was actually my number one, and the suit that started me looking for suits again, but it’s about an inch too small in length, which kills me. This is 100% what I want. You too? Oh good! Head over to Ginger Root Vintage.

Sartorial Splendor. Because you love psychdelics.

All you need is a baton (or a trident seeing as we’re talking water here) and you’re in business. From Retro Glamour.

Hillbilly Filly will set you up to be the sweetest cowgirl on the ranch. You can swim in a lagoon-y pool like the one Hayley Mills did in The Parent Trap. That’s where I imagine this suit.

And finally, this one from Owlhurst Loft. Red. Smoking. Swingy.

Go forth and get summered!


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It’s Just Another Manic Wednesday

Worked on quite a few things yesterday.

First off was a Newfoundland cuff, which I carved, cut and tooled. It’s sitting on my work table waiting for paint.

Some smaller projects included an acid-green feather strung on a brass chain…

The motorcycle braid wraps (a custom order) I started last week…

And a new take on an old design – the Faux Bois-ome Earrings.

I love these so much better than the old design. The wood grain is more widely spaced and simply carved instead of tooled.

The leather is thick. The circles larger than they used to be.

My favourite part though, is the stain. I used to just dye these guys an all-over brown, but since learning to block-dye a few months ago (a technique I want to use on everything) I’ve switched it up and lo-lo-love the gradient colour achieved by layering shades like this.

If you want a pair, you can pick them up here. I do also plan to get a batch of earrings together to send over to White Elephant after a sore (read: non-existent) showing this summer so some of these might be included in that shipment.

Ha. Shipment.

In other news, I got a studio pet! A birthday gift from Sean’s mom.

So perfect. I knew I needed some lushness – some nature – in there and it was even in my day planner to buy something this week, but she beat me to the punch with this. I love it.

Hmmmm…what else? Lake and Larch made its first sale overnight which was an awesome surprise to wake up to.

I have photos of a few new vintage pieces, cropped and ready to list, but forgot my notebook full of measurements and specs at the studio. Check the shop later tonight or tomorrow for new additions.


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Treasure Trove

The other day, when my parents visited to help plant the front flower beds, they brought a little box from my Grandma – she’d been cleaning and found a few things she didn’t want.

Having just watched Cabaret, I’m tooootally in the mood to be surrounded by costume jewellery and velvet furniture, dim amber lights and filmy scarves.

All the pieces she sent fit the bill perfectly and have fully inspired my plans for studio decoration (which is on the horizon)…

Oh, pardon my sparkly wrist as my hand reaches for that cocktail!

Which brooch will I wear? All of them? Why not?

Charmed, I’m sure. Especially by the mini-bicycle.

Just have to secure some hooks on these earrings and they’re styling, art deco-style…

A feather for my cap or a comb for my hair? These are so beautiful.

This it probably my favourite piece even though it’s causing fights.

Sean simply can’t believe I won’t let him have this tiny harmonica. Yes, it plays and yes, he can play songs on it while I can’t, but it is a necklace and it does say Little Lady on it. Plus, how incredible! I’m afraid I can’t allow it to be banged around on his keychain when it could hang safely on my neck.

Sorry, Sean. I’ll find you one of your own that doesn’t have MY sentimental family value attached to it.

This is just kind of funny – a cardboard medallion. Good for a free pack of smokes with mail-in!

On one level, I feel like this has to be at least 50 years old. On another (the same one where I remember cigarette-vending machines), I can imagine it being as recent as the 80s.

Signing off with the promise to post some leather tomorrow. My apologies, but we’re moving furniture in preparation for shipping half of my studio to the new space this week,  so the house is a mental mess right now!

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Hammer Love

If you’re a runner, might I suggest you jog over to the Runner’s Den in Westdale? They have some sweet deals on this week, such as this pair of $170 Saucony’s I just picked up for $90.

Bonus? I was able to leave my old running shoes with them because they donate old shoes (with too little support for regular recreational running, but enough structure to function as everyday walking shoes) to people in Haiti. Amazing.

I should also mention Peacock Chic – the next-door vintage store I went into for the first time today. I didn’t stay long because I was sweaty and disgusting and self-conscious about being around anyone with a nose for more than a few minutes, but they have some stellar duds. Word to the wise, if you’re a size 7 and looking for tall cowboy/motorcycle boots, they have an amazing camel-coloured pair with turquoise stitching. Your name is on them in the same place where mine would be if I didn’t have gargantuan sasquatch feet. Check out their new arrivals here.

Finally, I should be getting some bike tools today so I’ll be working on designing a roll-up toolkit (complete with tools) this weekend.  Set to be in the shop by Monday.

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Big Business

All right, so I didn’t wake up Monday morning intending to maybe kind-of-sort-of start another business-ish venture. But it happened.

Some back story…

I’ve been wearing second-hand stuff for as long as I’ve been around. It happens when you have boatloads of older siblings and cousins and it happens extra hard when you were a teenager in the 90s.

Point is I’ve known a lot of really amazing vintage clothing in my day. And I’ve had to say goodbye to my fair share of pieces as well – pieces that I:

– Loved, but no longer wore.

– Never wore though I thought I would.

– Bought despite the dress being 10 sizes too big or small because I thought I would learn to sew.

– Bought despite the pants being 10 sizes too big or small because I thought I would take them to a tailor.

– Bought despite the shirt being 10 sizes too big or small because I couldn’t handle the thought of walking away from such a sweet score even if I would never be able to use it for anything other than a tent.

And as much as it gladdens (If “sadden” can be a word I don’t see why “gladden” can’t) me to imagine that someone will snag my own former finds at Value Village, or Goodwill, or Sally Ann, and thrill to such a sweet kill in the second-hand clothing hunt, it’s hard to say goodbye. How does one say goodbye? Forever? To things one has had longer than some friends?

Goodbye dear outfits! It’s not that I don’t love you anymore. It’s just that, for whatever reason, I feel we’ve run our course. I can’t explain it. Don’t let me cheapen things with words. Let me just say thank you for the good times. To you, tight bellbottoms, for that St. Patrick’s Day when the paremedic hit on me. To you, repurposed skirt, for covering my rear as I trekked across Europe. To you, legions of baseball T’s, for being sporty and sexy through thick and thin. To you, printed polyester buttondowns, for making me feel that much closer to Siamese Dream-era Billy Corgan. And to you tie-dyed sundress…I…I think I’ll miss you most of all.

I wish I could be there with you when you go for good, to ensure that the thrifter who finds you loves you as well as I did. I wish I could adopt you out like a Cabbage Patch doll, with papers and promises and certificates, but alas! This is not the way of things and we must be brave…

Or must we?

Rare Bird Vintage. Strut my stuff.

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