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Archive for October, 2015

Autumn walk at Riverdale Farm

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On Sunday afternoon Todmorden Mills was the site of a precarious convergence of history, nature and thrifting.

The Northern Hemisphere’s cooler temperatures and vivid fall foliage induces people to get outside and, optionally, take photos. I really needed a nature fix. The Don Valley is the closest nature oasis to me. I had scored at the thrift shop on Saturday and also wanted an outfit of the day venue. My humble little Nikon Coolpix is such a sad camera but I put it to the task at Todmorden Mills.

Todmorden Mills currently functions as a museum, art centre and wildflower preserve. The site has experienced several adaptations. In 1795 two brothers were granted land to build the mill. A brewery was built in 1820. The mill was converted to a riding stable in the 1920s. It served as a German prisoner of war camp in the early 1940s. The site was modified and lost direct river access with the construction of the Don Valley Parkway. Jean Gertrude “True” Davidson, former mayor of East York, proposed it as a centennial project and it became a historical site in 1967.

I checked out the Watercolour Society’s art show in the Papermill Theatre and Gallery space. As often happens when I visit a smaller gallery I think back to how I assumed creating would be an essential part of my life and wonder why it isn’t. Flux. A poster reminded me that this space houses a community theatre group. Years ago I had been a member of a community theatre club in York Region and a few members were also involved with this club, The East Side Players.

I was meandering the grounds in several new to me pieces. I had purchased three items at the thrift store the day before. My eye was drawn to a rust and gray tones print blouse. It’s by Sandwich, a Dutch company, and I’ve had and currently have other items in this brand. It’s somewhat too big but the fabric is lightweight and semi-sheer so I can deal with it. I also spotted a black and white houndstooth scarf. I was surprised by the Burberry label and wonder if it’s fake. I was also quite pleased to take a black Tignanello clutch with removable strap home with me. I have a white Tignanello cross-body bag and I love the quality and design excellence of this Italian brand.

Also new are my Laundry by Shelly Segal black leggings. I picked these up a couple weeks ago at Winners (TJX Max). This is actually the first time I’ve worn leggings as pants. Yes, I’m late to the party. And, yes, I’m aware that there are very impassioned arguments for and against. I’ve worn them for yoga and fitness and with dress length tunics and skirts before but never with just a blouse. This is a long length blouse and I’m short so it’s more tunic length; nonetheless, I’d be comfortable wearing these leggings as pants with a shorter top. They also work with my riding boots (Franco Sarto, old, purchased on clearance). Change is a constant; flux is the norm!

In hindsight, I should have removed my jacket while taking at least some of photos.

I’m linking up with Patti’s Visible Monday party over at Not Dead Yet Style.

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I picked out this top, on sale, last summer after returning something else. I wasn’t able to get a refund and didn’t want to spend any additional money. This limited my options. It was either this XS oversized top or an XL dress.

It didn’t get much wear last year but I do like the asymmetrical cut, colours and pattern. I’m not crazy about the fabric and the sleeves fit too snugly. Pushing the sleeves up does improve the fit and wearing a tee or shirt underneath makes it more fall weather friendly. I was comfortably attired as I took in some of the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon this afternoon.

Do you ask about return policies prior to making a purchase?

Standing in the wading pool in autumn

Standing in the wading pool in autumn

I’m linking up with Patti and the Visibles at Not Dead Yet Style.

Asymmetrical top by Jana (old, on sale); sleeveless sport top (thrifted); Eileen Fisher jeans (old, Winners).

Marathon runner and drummers

Marathon runner and drummers

Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon runners

Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon runners

Fabulous supporters to cheer on the marathon runners

Fabulous supporters to cheer on the marathon runners

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A striped tee. An extraordinarily versatile garment that goes with everything. A ubiquitous wardrobe basic.

The original marinière was worn by French sailors so they’d be easier to spot in the waves. It had 21 stripes – one for each of Napoleon’s victories. It inspired Coco Chanel and she introduced it to the fashion world in 1917. It’s gender neutral and has longevity!

Here are a few of the ways I wear my black and cream variation.

Do you wear stripes?

Postscript – I’m taking this post to the party at Not Dead Yet Style.

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Being This, 2012

Being This, 2012

I was at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) on Wednesday evening. Liz Magor’s exhibition, Surrender, engaged me and is still on my mind. Her works explore our dependence on domestic objects and fabrications to create a sense of self.

Being This, detail

Being This, detail

Everything I own fits into a van and I’m still downsizing. I’ve tossed most things and started over a few times and, as a result, I’m not particularly attached to objects nor do I accumulate much stuff. Yet, I’m not a strict minimalist either. Or perhaps I’m a minimalist in training, still refining and building.

I wanted my own greenhouse and studio and, by extension, house. Up until a few years ago I still assumed I would at least have my own home. As my expectations, aspirations and general worldview have shifted I’ve developed an interest in fashion and personal style. In this sense, Magor’s work resonates with me. A relationship with things – a personal style – is part of a sense of self.

2009?

Part of Liz Magor’s Surrender exhibit

On Sunday I briefly poked around the St Lawrence Antiques and Collectibles Market to see what others were looking for or had discarded in their creations of self.

004crHere’s a fun quiz from Sylvia over at 40plusStyle if you want to check your style. I get casual eclectic, which, while not always expressed, does correspond with my sense of self.

I’m linking up with Patti and the Visibles at Not Dead Yet Style’s Visible Monday.

I’m wearing a blue-gray shirt (J Crew, old, thrifted), black tank top (The Loft), gray slightly asymmetrical skirt (Fresh Produce, old), and black/cream pony hair slip-ons (Campers, old).

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Fishers

Fishers

I noticed a number of tweets highlighting fall walks for this Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend. I decided to head over to Tommy Thompson Park to take advantage of one of the volunteer guided walks. We went for a leisurely and informative walk over to the Bird Research Station. Along the way we met a few birders who were kind enough to share their binoculars with us. At the station we chatted a bit with the conservation staff person. He and the volunteers were busy banding birds. Our guide, I didn’t catch his name but he’s originally an oceanographer from Uruguay who met a Canadian woman and is now an environmental student here, mentioned that the cormorants in the park nest in the cottonwood trees. It’s unusual as cormorants normally nest on the ground and it’s killing the trees.

Bird banding at the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station

Bird banding at the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station

Cormorant nests in Cottonwood trees

Cormorant nests in Cottonwood trees

As I was already at the park and it was such a lovely day I decided to continue walking on my own after the guided excursion. I made it over to the lighthouse and had meant to look for the turtles at the pond on the way back but forgot about it.

Lighthouse at Tommy Thompson Park

Lighthouse at Tommy Thompson Park

When I left home this morning it was a chilly 6 degrees Celsius but by afternoon it had definitely reached the anticipated 15 degrees, or more likely warmer as I no longer needed to wear my jacket. I’m loving this weather!

Have you been out enjoying nature this holiday weekend?

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I’ve had my eye out for a fall jacket/coat. A few weeks ago I noticed Mountain Equipment Co-op’s Vizela jacket and its 56% clearance price reduction. Temperatures dropped this past week with a few early mornings in the single digit Celsius territory so I returned to MEC to make the coat mine. The colour, according to MEC’s website, is sleet but I’ll probably forget that and just think of it as pale gray. So far, I’m as pleased as can be with it.

The cooler weather had me wanting to make soup. I picked up the veggies at the market but couldn’t find celery. I don’t recall ever not being able to find celery before and put it down to shopping at the market stalls rather than a large grocery retailer. I made a delicious vegetable rendition with wonderful spicy notes of cumin and smoked paprika.

The missing celery reminded me that it is apple season. Aside from purchasing the usual local varieties I was thinking that maybe I should pick some crab apples and try making a jam or something with them. With seasonal harvest thoughts on my mind what do I see while walking through the park – chestnuts! A Google search reveals that chestnuts were almost entirely wiped out by a blight in North America during the last century. I didn’t know this at the time of my sighting but was still delighted to see the chestnuts on the ground. It reminded me of vendors selling roasted chestnuts from their carts when I was a child. Most chestnuts are cultivated in Europe (Italy and Portugal), China and Japan. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a chestnut but now I’d like to taste them. Simple pleasures.

I read my horoscope today. It suggested I seek out people and situations that inspire me and that I remind the world that I exist. Seriously! I’ll follow through on that by linking up with the Visible’s at Patti’s Not Dead Yet Style party.

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