made in china

the above outfit, while quintessentially about as american as you can get, rrl chambray and levi's, all of it was made in china.  and while i'm at it, almost my entire wardrobe is too.  and price points don't matter.  i have a few vintage pieces but for the most part every single item was made in china or india or malaysia.  i am woefully under-educated on this subject but for the last few days have been reading quite a bit about it.  it is a tangled and twisted story and there is no real simple answer.  it's easy to say shop u.s.a. but there are sweat shops here too.  and even labor experts don't want to close those b/c they at least provide jobs that would otherwise be shipped out to china. one option would be to sew your own clothes but you better check where your sewing machine and fabric is made. my singer machine was made in china.

i love this solution.  miranda left a comment that said... 

I look for local artist designers and I have gotten back into designing and sewing, which is a lot of fun. I recently found old draperies from the 30’s and made them into modified kimono jacket. I lined it with the silk from a dress I wore in the early 90’s. I can’t express how satisfied I feel when I wear something beautiful and I know whose hands made it. Old clothes can be made into new clothes, artisan fabrics milled responsibly can be found on line. I just ordered a bolt of un-dyed linen for a summer dress and pants. There will be a lot left over for other projects! This has been my solution to a problem I could not be comfortable with. 

if you cannot sew then the basic options are to google clothing made in the usa or free trade clothing.  you will be surprised at the number of manufacturers out there.  etsy is another option.

i for one will be more careful and considerate when making my choices. 

here is a small list of ethical retailers that either make garments in the usa or around the world.
i'd love to grow this list so feel free to add ones that you know of in the comments and i'll add them to the list.

shabby apple dresses
steven alan
lesley evers


mary ann just sent me this link..

premiering on the planet channel on april 19th - earth day
i don't have cable but it sounds really good.

dresscue me


full blown roses

small but charming flowers on monday

roses from the garden this morning and a vintage flower frog from france that we found in the basement after moving in



~afternoon addendum~

these roses have almost doubled in size since i cut them this morning!

i made this toile pillow and trust me i don't know how to sew.

this is why i love gardening



rain or shine

it's been raining and shining here in southern california. 

short red trenchcoat
forever 21 - $25

what i love about this jacket...

1.  the material.  cotton, machine washable
 2.  the color.  RED
3.  the fit.  amazingly comfortable, soft, lightweight, packable (not that i go anywhere)
4.  the style.  love the cinched waist and length
5.  it seems to be well-made

what i don't love about this jacket...

1.  it is made in vietnam
i don't know what to make of garments made in china, vietnam, etc.
my brooks bros jacket was made in china.  i have a kate spade dress that was too.  levi's for the most part are made in china.  gap, j. crew, all made in china.  i would love to buy american but it's almost impossible unless you only buy vintage. 

what are your thoughts on this?



a comforting lunch*

grilled peanut butter and jelly sangwich
what am i?  8.

 seriously, why have i never tried this?  it's so good.

*no animals were harmed making this sangwich



my garden this morning

yesterday it was pouring rain and we had terrible winds but this morning all is peaceful.  i thought i'd share a few pictures of some pretty flowers.

this rose is at least 8" across

have a beautiful day



my spring 33

would you be interested in seeing a few pieces i bought for my spring wardrobe?   i had really big plans for this season, i was so excited, even dreaming about fashion.  but then the IRS decided to decimate my kate spade fund and now my month in france fund is currently being attacked so i've been forced to get creative.  a big thank you to the IRS for helping maintain my blog's mediocre status.

putting together 33 pieces of clothing that will get you through a season, makes you think ahead.  i have no weddings, parties or special events that i have to attend because i have no social life. but you might, so it's something to consider.  these days i prefer to stay behind my gate.  narrowing down this list to 33 was much more difficult than putting together the fall/winter list and to be honest with you i don't know if i'll be able to stick to it.  anyway, it's done and i hope it will all work out.   one of my favorite things is a pair of white levi straight 552's that i purchased at the end of last summer.  i feel optimistic when i have them on. 

so here we go...

this happy little peasant top is from walmart. yes, you read that right.  i was in walmart to buy a heater filter and i found this.   it is 100% organic cotton and it's as soft as baby pajamas.

this is my picnic shirt.  i call it that because when i see it i want to have a picnic. 
this shirt runs big (this is an x small) it's from target.

i love everything about this top.  3/4 sleeves and plenty of room for a big lunch.  have you ever been to forever 21?  this sailor top is so, so cute in person and the fabric is nice and it's well made. why don't i have on my julie lorusso pearl bracelets?  a stylist i will never be.   i think coco would like this bow detail. 

legs - benjamin moore decorator white

this is by far my favorite find.  i love this dress.  it's a cotton poplin safari dress from walmart.  with its crisp collar turned up i feel so ladylike.

so i'll see how these new pieces hold up.  will they make it one season?  my bet is that they will but i will report back.

my list

white levi's
dark levi's
black full skirt
black slim pant

red kayce hughes dress
black cotton dress
black safari dress

chambray shirt
white shirt
red and white picnic shirt
orange peasant top
white tunic top
black 3/4 sleeve t-shirt
navy and white striped long sleeve t-shirt
black and cream sailor top

black cardigan
yellow cardigan
red short trenchcoat

black sandals
brown sandals
coral sandals
black loafers

pearl bracelet
turquoise cuff
skinny brown belt
skinny black belt
wide black belt
1 or 2 scarves
straw bag

 for more information and inspiration go to...



my latest blooming orchid

happy st. patricks day


copy kate and me

on sunday i took the copy kate spade bag out for its first public appearance and i have to report that it got rave reviews.  i was most surprised by this and also by all the comments i received here saying you preferred it over the real kate spade bag.  i went to church, a meeting and trader joes and received a total of 5 compliments.  the last one was at trader joes.  a woman approached me and asked if i had tied the ribbon on the bag.  when i told her that i had, she said...i think i'm going to copy you.  swear to God, that's what she said.  how funny.


i have been diligently working on my list of 33 items for the spring/summer session of project 333.  i am having a difficult time narrowing it down.  i suppose it's all the spring excitement in the air and my wanting to wear more color this time of year.  but i will be channeling ralph and kate very heavily.  i've purchased a few really cute, really inexpensive pieces that i will share with you in the next day or so.  i will be reporting back shortly.  


prelude to spring

With an extended forecast of temps in the mid 70's for the next week, i seems like spring has arrived in southern california.  back in january when i was in utah experiencing some of the coldest weather i've ever been in, i skipped a day of skiing and stayed inside, just me and the sketchy internet connection i had.  luckily  i came across this dress by kayce hughes at a whopping 75% off before my internet connection went out.  originally $138, i bought it for $34.  so here i am trying to do this really cute dress justice.  the things i really love about it are the long sleeves that can be pushed up, it has two pockets and that it can be belted or worn loose.  i can wear it with tights in the fall and bare, shockingly white legs in the spring/summer.  so as i continue to participate in project 333, i'm really happy because this dress will stay in my closet year round.

i apologize if i am writing too many posts about my wardrobe but i really love fashion and it brings me happiness.  i don't know about you but i need all the happiness i can get these days.  also, while there are lots of fashion blogs directed at women under 50, there are few for women over 50.  if you know any that i am missing out on please do tell.


copy kate

browsing the kate spade website for spring inspiration i fell in love with this bag.  the point breeze coal is so pretty for spring and summer but with gasoline running $4 a gallon, it's out of my budget, not that i ever go anywhere...but still.

i am not a crafty type person at all, but i figured i could maybe find something more budget friendly.  this is what i came up with.  this straw bag with non-leather handles (yay) was $19.99 at marshalls. the bag itself is nicely made and it's lined.  i'm not normally a fan of cheapo purses and shoes, but i am very hard on summer purses for some reason.  maybe it's the all the sitting outside at the cafe sipping lattes.  anyway, i went next door to joanne fabric and spent $2 on a yard of black grosgrain ribbon, tied it on and there you have it. 
my new spring/summer bag...



this, that and red

I know i have been missing from my blog lately and i really appreciate all the emails i've gotten concerning my whereabouts.   i have about 500 problems in my life to solve right now and all of a sudden it seems that life is just one BIG problem, but that is not true.  i am blessed in many, many ways and so i am forcing myself to see all the good in my life TODAY.  

so in that spirit...i'm focusing on the tiniest problem of all, adding color to my house.

After reading steve's recent post on adding a little bit of red to his living room i haven't been able to get it out of my mind.  i have no idea why, but i will tell you that living in a black and white interior makes me crazy scared to add a third color. 

whenever i do add color i cannot live with it for very long and out it goes.

red carnations do make me pretty happy
and they are a nice surprise in the laundry room

this red pillow is not bothering me at the moment.

and i'm hopelessly in love with this little vintage lantern

a little red pillow from ralph

how about you?  does adding color scare you? 
i myself waiver between loving a clean, spare look and riot of color, ala anna spiro

if you'd care to share your secrets with me, i'd love to hear them.


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