Along with my Peony parasol from Cricket Hill Garden, I ordered a package of 25 aluminum plant tags for $9.50. I have a couple of these tags on trees in my garden. The tags were on the trees when they were purchased and have remained legible for years. But this is the first time I've seen these tags for sale. They are 1" x 3-3/8" long which is enough space to write what's needed. You just press down with a pen or pencil. The finish does not oxidize, according to the Cricket Hill website. These came wrapped in the same packaging as my parasol. There was no shipping charge for either item.
Cricket Hill is selling these tags to use for peony identification and suggests tying them to a bamboo stake in the ground rather than tying the wire around a plant stem. I am going to use mine for trees and shrubs and do plan to tie them around branches. But I will use small branches that will take a long time to be big enough for the wire to cause damage. Or at least that's my plan. Garden visitors always want to know the age and variety of trees and now I won't have to count on my memory to answer their questions.
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I also replaced my AnyWear unisex garden clogs which are getting worn out after almost sixteen years of use. If I remember correctly I bought these ruby slippers in Seattle in 2000 when I was out there for a newspaper convention. I wear them indoors and for a walk around the garden but not for garden work. When I am in the garden for the day, I wear sturdy work boots. I have positional vertigo so I get dizzy easily and need to be well grounded when I am working in the garden. Otherwise I will end up on the ground.
Despite the way it looks in the photo below, the new ones fit nicely and are very comfortable. I have narrow feet and it is not easy to find this kind of a mass produced product that works for me. I think the price was reasonably similar to what I paid back then. At least I did not think it was outrageous at $38.25 and free shipping. I don't really feel too bad about buying these online since my other three types of garden footwear were all purchased locally at shoe stores. The only thing I feel bad about is that I could not find exactly what I wanted in red! The bright color means I can take them off anywhere and quickly find them. That will not be the case with these black ones.
I recently added two fiber purses, containers or what-you-will to my ongoing collection. This basket caught my eye as I walked past the door to the UW Arboretum's shop on my way to a class I was taking there this fall. I have a couple of these baskets in solid colors that I use to hold winter necessities. A navy blue basket holds hats while a teal basket contains scarves and gloves. I have a third one that is straw colored with black leather handles that I use as a summer purse. One friend uses hers as a market basket and another uses one to hold textile projects. This basket is so graphic in both form and pattern, that so far I am just displaying it as pure sculpture. The Arboretum's shop had a number of different and equally attractive baskets.
A detail of the handle construction.
World Bazaar on Madison's west side always has interesting items from around the world. Currently they have great Indian print curtains and wonderful Kantha carryalls. The bags are nice and roomy as you can see from the two funky photos of me holding one of these bags.
Both sides are composed of different fabric scraps. There is a snap closure at the top and a zippered compartment inside. Alas, can't find my receipts for either purchase at the moment, but I think they both were in the $30-$40 range.
The latest film version of Cinderella pairs director Kenneth Branagh with Lily James, the unexpected delight of the later Downton Abbey episodes, in the title role. Since it's a Disney production, magic and mice are involved making Branagh's over-the-top style a potential plus. I've read the reviews, heard from friends who've seen the movie and watched assorted video clips. But I'm still not interested in seeing this iteration of the classic fable. As far as I'm concerned, Andy Tennant's 1998 film, titled "Ever After," is as good as it gets.
The biggest difference between the two films is that Tennant's version, unlike Disney's, is not a fairly tale. There are no animated animals or magic wands to make things happen here. The efforts of real people — Cinderella, her longtime artist friend Gustave, her father's servants and, yes, Leonard da Vinci — steer this story more in the direction of historical fiction than fantasy. The scene is Renaissance France where da Vinci actually lived, worked and died. Though the film has lots of anachronisms and dates that don't match up, I was so enthralled with the setting — and the sets — that none of it mattered to me.
"Ever After" was filmed in and around seven chateaux in the Perigord region of France rather than in England or Hollywood, resulting in an entirely different sensibility than this story typically evokes. Hautfort (top photo) is the stand-in for the home of the prince and his parents, while Cinderella and her family hang out in the more modest manor above. There are scenes bathed in golden light reflecting off of old stone walls, dewy peasant gardens with wattle fences and pristine palace parterres, monastic libraries, and even truffle hunting in the woods.
The film is bookended with the great Jeanne Moreau revealing Cinderella's true story to the Brothers Grimm, complete with the breathtaking "slipper," fashioned by Ferragamo. Drew Barrymore is a 20th Century Cinderella (who rarely goes by that moniker in the movie): educated, outspoken, willing to go to battle for those she loves and who love her, namely her father's few remaining servants who've known her since she was a child. She cleans up beautifully for the ball but more often she's messy and a bit dirty, able to throw, run and climb. And use words eloquently to free one man and enthrall another. This is a funny, feisty, witty woman who holds the screen — even when opposite her stepmother, played by a deligtfully diabolical Angelica Huston.
Huston is greedy, plotting and beautifully dressed. She vamps and camps it up but her wardrobe is pure middle ages with all the dramatic headgear (above). Huston is typically abusive to her stepdaughter but not exactly loving to her own daughters, snooty Jacqueline and fumbling Marguerite. The daughters are usually at odds with each other, especially as Marguerite slowly reaches out to our heroine. The prince is played by Dougray Scott who looks suitably glam in tights, on a horse, or using a sword. But he is pretty much a rebellious boy trying to find his way in the world until he meets our girl. In this film, Cinderella knows who the prince is from the get-go, though he doesn't recognize her in their many encounters as the peasant girl he met while stealing her father's horse.
Though "Ever After" has the traditional stepmother making life miserable for Cinderella, this story is much more about fathers: fathers and daughters (young Cinderella with hers, above), fathers and sons. Even the "fairy godmother" here is male and functions more as a surrogate father to both the prince and Cinderella, aiding their romance with wisdom and engineering skills. "Ever After" is a visual feast and an eminently satisfying story of a young woman who has the wherewithal to save herself. And she has the best ball gown of any film version of this story — and plenty of other movies as well.
The movie is available for streaming on Netflix. Note that it sometimes has a subtitle: "Ever After: A Cinderella Story."
This two session program by Leslie Bellais looks like a wonderful way to spend a couple of evenings in November. I met Leslie years ago when I donated my 1960s hippie clothes to the Wisconsin State Historical Society. I've heard her speak on various textile topics and can say she's both knowledgeable and witty. The description below is from the UW-Extension catalog.
"Trends in American Quilting
Why did quilting become so popular in America when it languished in Europe? Why were there overwhelming national quilting trends rather than myriad regional ones in the history of American quilting? These are questions Leslie Bellais, curator of social history at the Wisconsin Historical Society, will attempt to answer in her class on the history of American quilting from the colonial era to the Bicentennial.
Instructor: Leslie Bellais has been the curator of costume and textiles at the Wisconsin Historical Society for more than 23 years. She has master’s degrees in U.S. history from the College of William & Mary and the UW. She is currently working on her PhD in U.S. history.
Tuesdays, Nov 4-11, 7-8:15pm; $30; #5706 Elvehjem Building, 800 University Ave; 0.3 CEU."
Mark and I went out to Black Earth an hour before the last WHPS garden tour so we could make a stop at the Shoe Box. We each replaced our worn out gardening/hiking boots. And I finally got a pair of rubber boots that fit my narrow feet.
So now I can weed the boggy garden bed that requires standing in the stream in order to reach the plants. As you would expect I needed boots made of rubber so they're waterproof, though these are actually made of a recyclable PVC-free synthetic rubber that’s 50% lighter than natural rubber. I could easily feel the difference in weight compared to other options.
The boots are made in Canada and/or the USA by Kamik, a family-owned-and-operated company that's been in the business since the Great Depression. New boots meant it was a good trip before we even saw the gorgeous gardens on the evening's menu.
When Mark was out shopping just as the gardening season was about to begin, he bought me a present: One of those neon vests that the people on road crews wear. Sometimes I wear it in the garden so he can find me easily.
But mostly I wear it for safety like when I was clearning up when we had the trees trimmed or when I work on my garden in the traffic island in the street in front of our house. Yesterday I dug out an invasive Nepeta, planted Nasturtiums and a couple of Pelargoniums.
I feel better knowing drivers can see me and my vest matches my orange construction cones — another present from my honey. He knows the way to a gardening gal's heart.
I bought my first Oleana sweater — actually my only Oleana sweater — at least ten years ago. I still love it, wear it year-round and get compliments galore. These are gorgeous creations from Norway but not like the typical Norwegian ski sweater you may be mentally picturing. They're made for women in fanciful color combinations, exquisite fibers and timeless styles.
I usually wear my Oleana sweater (above) with jeans and heavyweight Pacific Cotton brand long-sleeved T-shirts in one of the colors that appear in the sweater. I also have matching "wristletts" (fingerless gloves) which are perfect for cool weather. The Oleana catalog at the time I bought my sweater showed it in a much more glamorous context (below, and a different color combo).
I bought my sweater on vacation in northern Wisconsin and have always wanted to add another to my wardrobe. Though it's possible to buy them online I wanted to be able to see them and try them on in person. They are so variable in the colors and patterns that you really want to make your decisions with the sweaters in front of you.
So I was thrilled when my sister-in-law told me that Century House in Madison was carrying them. We went over to the store yesterday afternoon so I could see them in person and try them on. Century House currently has three styles in stock including the one shown below. I think the photos don't begin to capture the subtlety and the richness of the colors and patterns. The sweaters for this season are a combination of wool and silk making them soft and smooth to the touch and lightweight compared to a winter cardigan.
These are classic pieces that will never go out of style and the price (around $500.00) reflects today's economy as well as the materials, workmanship and the philosophy of the company. They are long term investment pieces. All the sweathers are designed by Solveig Hisdal and both knit and sewn in the Oleana factory just outside Bergen, Norway. At Oleana, they "believe that we have to buy fewer, but more beautiful clothes in our part of the world." Oleana sweaters are "slow clothes, fair made." It's a philosophy that is timely and one I think many women in Madison and elsewhere are beginning to adopt.
Sizes run small, and the sweaters are not on the Century House web site. You'll have to stop in and see them in person which is the only way to appreciate these beautiful creations. Do notice how the pocket on the sweater (above) is matched so the design lines up perfectly. I fell in love with the sweater below which was a deeper, richer blue than it appears in the photo. It's a very flattering fit and style. I like the sophistication of the color and pattern and then the playful striping on the sleeves. It also has a dramatic button at the neckline closure.
I think it is worth knowing the very special attitude of the Oleana team which helps to explain both the quality of their products and the cost. This is from the company's web site (my italics):
"Oleana was founded in 1992, with the aim of creating new jobs in Norway's textile industry. Most of Western Europe’s production had by that time moved to countries with far cheaper labour, but we wanted to show that it is still possible to produce textiles of good quality in a high-cost country like Norway . . .
People all over the world are becoming more aware of what they buy. By thinking more about the choices we make when we shop, we can share in taking care of our planet. Clothes made from natural fibres,— like wool and silk,— are good environmental choices.
It is becoming more important for us to buy clothing that is produced in a responsible manner. We can no longer accept the humiliating circumstances that many women and children work under in order to produce inexpensive textile products."
There is the Oleana factory by the fjord. It is located in the building that housed Arne Fabrikker, founded 1846, the first textile mill on the west coast of Norway. According to Oleana's web site, that company grew to be the biggest one in the country until it closed in 1978. Oleana has turned the lights back on — in the industry and the factory.
And, no, I didn't buy the blue sweater but I am definitely tempted!
In the fall of 2006 my sister-in-law, Sara, and I were at an art opening downtown where we spied a young woman wearing a dress that had us enthralled. It was modern and clean-lined yet reminiscent of a kimono somehow. It was nothing off the rack; rather something an artist had designed and sewn. As we stared at her from across the room we suddenly noticed she was with an older woman — clearly her mother — who was dressed in a kimono. That clinched it; we had to compliment the two women on their unique style.
We had a pleasant chat and discovered the young woman, Mayumi Takayama, was indeed an artist and would be showing her work as part of the weekend's Open Art Studio Event. We picked up a brochure and promised to stop by the next day. We discovered her studio was essentially her apartment and her mother was visiting from Japan. Mayumi was a painter and Sara and I both liked her work but much of it was sold when we got there.
We were also delighted with the jewelry that Mayumi's mother had created and was selling. While we looked at it, she made us macha tea which we enjoyed while we all talked about art and textiles.
The fiber necklaces pictured here were all made by Mayumi's mother (whose name I seem to have lost). They're made out of recycled pieces of kimono fabrics, sewn into tubes of different lengths and widths and softly stuffed.
They're embellished with beads, buttons, embroidery and fabric-covered tubes of different sizes. On some necklaces the cords wind around your neck and go through the tubes which you can slide up and down to reconfigure the design. Other necklaces have slipknots which also let you make the piece longer or shorter.
Some are just long lariats which you can wear with the ends hanging free or knot or tie however you wish. Every necklace is different but they're all lightweight and versatile. They're fun to wear and garner lots of compliments. And they're great inspiration if you sew and have the inevitable fabric stash.