Sunday, August 7, 2016

Pretty Pictures and Pleasing Diversions

So I got a new camera. Can you believe I've been taking photos for my blog on my phone this whole time? After all the bad news lately, and my heavy posts about that news, all I want to do with this post is enjoy the pretty pictures Beau and I can take with my new camera.

So, for your and my viewing pleasure: a pretty 1930s look, beautiful flowers and gardens, and lovely, early 20th Century houses.

I could show you a lot of examples of 1930s outfits to prove to you that my new dress has a decidedly late 1930s vibe, but I'm not in the mood to do all that research this time. Just today, I bought an authentic, 1930s, feed sack dress, in my size, so expect to see another well-researched post on the topic soon. I'm so excited!

But this post is about pretty pictures taken with my new camera. I know nothing about cameras but I noticed one thing about this one right away: all our photos were in focus! Imagine that!

I live in a very cloudy, rainy city, so poor light is common. This year, even the summer has been cool and cloudy (much to my relief, as I loathe summer heat) and this day was no exception. But, even in this light, instead of getting grainy, unflattering, dull shots, we got beautiful images that make me smile.

Dress:  Trollied Dolly;Sunglasses: Aldo; Shoes, earrings, dress clips, bracelet, and ruby ring: vintage
I've admired this tree for years but I've never been able to capture its beauty in a photograph before. The owners of this house once told me the name of this type of tree and it was a perfect name -- something like Money Tree, or Golden Coins -- but I can't remember it now. Do you know? Do tell!

I love how my new camera can capture the way light passes through its leaves.

And check out my zoom lenses! I took this photo of "my" (unfortunately named but super cute) bushtits from about 20 feet away. The photo is so clear that you can see the colour of their eyes. I know they're all female because they all have yellow eyes. Male bushtits have black eyes. 

I'm still working on getting photos of my hummingbirds with this camera, but now, when I do, they won't be mere blobs as they've been in the past. I've made our home a kind of hummingbird heaven, with multiple feeders and lots of their favourite flowers, like this fuchsia -- so, no fear, I will get some great shots. Today, for the first time in my life, a hummingbird ate from my hand! I'm so excited. As soon as I get a good shot of that, you bet you'll see it here. 

I can also get nicer shots of little details in our neglected but still beautiful garden. This frog just tickled my fancy so I got him. My step-sons get a kick out of him too.

Look what else I can do: I can photograph my black cat and you can actually see him as something other than a black thing with eyes. You can see the details and colour variations in his fur, which is, for the record, the softest, most luxurious fur I've ever felt. Even now, at 20, his coat is incredible. I give him salmon oil and I think that helps. 

I love him so much!

Just as the camera does more justice to black fur, it does more justice to my white skin. I knew it would take much sharper, detailed photos so I worried that it might pick up my flaws too much. It does show them more clearly but it shows my skin's brightness better... or something. I'm not sure what it does but I think my skin looks better, flaws and all, with this camera than with my old phone. 

It definitely shows Beau's skin to better effect. Where my skin has pink undertones, his has yellow ones and he often looked almost sallow when I took photos of him with my phone. Now you can see his skin as it really is. 

Still, I never feel that Beau looks as good in photos as he does in real life. He has movie star good looks. I'm not just saying that because I'm in love with him, I swear. Everyone says so. But I don't think his good looks show up all that well in photographs. It's funny how some people are just super photogenic and some are less so. 

I've never minded being super white but, lately, I'm learning to really embrace it. My skin is so very pale that it's almost exotic in our multi-cultural, urban environment. That's fun.

Colour in general is so much richer and more vibrant with this camera.

We haven't really done anything with the yard this year because our lousy landlord told us right to our face that he plans to tear down our house in a few years. I had spells of being homeless in my teens and early 20s and my recurring nightmares about my house being torn down have increased in frequency now. I have to remind myself that things are different now and Beau and the boys and I will never be homeless. I will never be homeless again.

But I'll miss this place. Despite the neglect, I think our garden looks beautiful. 

As you know, I'm quite heart broken about the fact that a lot of our city's old buildings are being torn down to make way for over-priced, pre-fab crap that leaves no rooms for gardens and any personality whatsoever. It's become a kind of mission for me to take photographs of our gems before they fall.

But before I show you more lovely homes, let's talk about my outfit first. I saw this dress on Mod Cloth and immediately fell for its late late 30s, early 40s cut and print.

It is a bit too big for me, I admit. I could have bought it in a smaller size. I've been insecure about my size lately and find that I keep over estimating it and therefore ordering clothes that are too big for me. Then I think, "Oh, what's the use? I'm disabled. I can't exercise any more. So, if it's not the right size now, it will be soon enough."

But, when I see photos of myself looking so period specific, I kind of do like my size. I feel kind of authentic or something. If I were still thin, at 45, would I look quite right in a 1930s frock? I'm going to tell myself I wouldn't.

Besides, this poor body has taken such a beating, even before I was born, it's a wonder it's still working at all. I'm still here, body somewhat intact, and that's something to be proud of.

I have worn this dress with a thin belt and it looks good but belts can really hurt me when on my scooter ...

... and when I'm sitting, which, as a disabled person, I often am. 

Plus, the only belt I own that looks really good with this dress is gold and gold accents didn't feel very 1930s to me.

I thought it would be better to match my accessories to the colours in the dress.

Check out the little butterflies! I think they're delightful.

I find this is kind of an odd colour combo: mustard yellow, red, orangey-red, teal, and white. Was this combo common in the 1930s? Do you know? Was it common during any other style era? Maybe the 1960s? What do you think?

At any rate, given the teal, I chose to wear these mary-janes with it again. You, dear readers, seemed to love them so much the last time I wore them, that you influenced me and I've worn them a few times since then.

I would never normally pose in front of a building this colour because it's a very triggering colour for me. But it matched my shoes so I couldn't resist.

Plus there's a really interesting, long-standing rumour about this building that I find intriguing. I'll get to that later.

Teal eye shadow would look awful on me, so I opted for a green that I thought complimented the teal.

Of course, I didn't want to only highlight the teal in the dress. I thought I'd play up the red with my celluloid dress clips, which are probably from the 1930s. To save my bank account, I haven't yet succumbed to the allure of Bakelite, though I fear I soon will. At the moment, I stick to the more affordable, vintage Bakelite.

I almost always get compliments when I wear these dress clips.

I added these little, red, rose earrings that I think match very well.

They are vintage but they're not very old at all. They're certainly not from the 1930s. To me, they look enough like similar earrings that were in style in the 30s that they're fine by me. I'm sure a vintage purist would disagree but that's okay.

I posed with some nice reds too. This nearly fire-engine red bench is literally outside a firehouse, so its colour seems appropriate to me. 

My round, red sunglasses are in keeping with 1930s, though I'm pretty sure they were made to hearken back to the 1990s which have been making a comeback amongst today's youngsters.

With a dress that has red flowers on it, I've got to wear my ruby Revenge Ring that I bought when my no-goodnik father died.

The 1960s bracelet doesn't really work but I just felt like wearing it so I did. It was nobody's outfit but my own, after all.

I don't have a cane that perfectly matches this dress so I opted for my pink one. I own so many red and burgundy clothes, I don't know why it's only just occurring to me now that I should own red and burgundy canes. Silly me.

My red scooter matches many of my outfits. Why not a red cane too?

Speaking of colours, aren't the colours of the house behind me scrumptious? They remind me of this post.

As I usually do with my 1930s outfits, I pinned my hair into faux bob. I recently cut my hair into a long bob and I'm not sure how well the shorter, faux bob works with this haircut.

But I felt I needed to shorten my cut a bit. As I get older, I have an annoying straight bit of hair on either side of my face that, on bad days, makes me look like I have an awful mullet: curly on the top, straight on the sides. Shortening my hair brought the front curls back, much to my relief.

Of course, it's summer now so I'm mostly wearing my hair up, wasting the effect of my new cut. Oh well.

I asked Beau to photograph what I thought was a single, stray curl that resisted every one of the many boby pins with which I tried to restrain it. I found it amusing.

Then, when I saw photos, I realized that it was by no means the only rebellious stray curl in the back of my do.

Nor was it the only one in the front of my do. I don't mind. My hair is like me: willful.

I don't know why bobby pins fell off my radar for so long. How ironic that they were so old-fashioned that I, lover of all old fashions, didn't think of using them. I love how they disappear into my hair so it looks like it's staying up by magic.

The only colour in my dress that I didn't play up in my outfit is yellow. I knew I'd have that covered in the local flowers ...

... and houses. Houses like these two are about 100 years old and are, I think, protected as heritage houses, thank God. The size of the trees outside them attests to the age of houses and trees alike. They create lovely, dappled light ... 

... and welcome shade. From what I've read, bright colours for houses were en vogue throughout the early part of the 20th Century, just as they are now in the early part of this century.

I think we often forget how colourful the past was. Black and white photography gives us an image of a dull, colourless, almost drab past.

But the world then was just as colourful then as it is now.

This house was probably built around 30 years after the first one. Look at the gorgeous Art Deco details on the window box!

You've seen this house before but it bears seeing again.

But, readers, this the house I want to live and die in.

It's the most darling little house I've ever seen. It's just the right size (and therefore price) for me and Beau once the boys, now 12 and 15, move out.

Look at its beautiful jungle garden.

When the sun hits it just right, it looks like a house in a fairy tale. What clever people the owners are to think of combining fuchsia, lemon yellow, and white. It kind of goes with my dress, don't you think?

Forgive me if this house shows up too often in my blog but I do love it so!

As I mentioned earlier, I branched out in my colour choices for this photo shoot. This house isn't quite my "bad blue," as Beau and the kids call it, but it's close. But it did match my shoes and, besides, I had another reason for wanting to photograph it.

We live near this lovely old school. We've tried hard to photograph it for my blog but it's proven difficult since most of its great details are very high on the building and hard to capture.

But I recently learned that this building is widely rumoured to have been the original elementary school in the area. Isn't that darling? As a teacher myself, this somehow made it seem worth it to brave the colour, and walk up the painful little hill. Such are the odd motivations that help those of us who are disabled and/or have PTSD.

It certainly does look like an old school house, doesn't it?

I think it especially looks like one in black and white, but that's just because, as I said before, we imagine the past in black and white.

It just seemed appropriate for a teacher wearing a 1930s outfit to pose in front of an old school house.

In fact, if truth be told, when we took these photos, I was kind of pretending it was the 1930s, and I was the teacher at this school. Who says grown-ups can't play make-believe? After all, isn't that kind of what we're doing when wearing retro outfits?

That's it. That's my post. I hope you found it diverting and light-hearted. I know it gave me a nice respite from today's news. I hope it did the same for you.

(I'm sharing this with Fine, WhateverNot Dead Yet, Elegantly Dressed and Stylish, Sydney Fashion Hunter, Fashion Should Be Fun, Rachel the Hat, Adri LatelyHappiness at Mid-Life, High Latitude Style, Tina's Pink Friday, and Not Dressed as Lamb.)


  1. Dear Charlotte, wonderfull post with amazing Charlotte, Dress, garden and houses.....and tree ;)
    This new camera take very good pictures.
    Wush you a wonderfull week, Tina

    1. Thanks, Tina. I can't wait to do another photo shoot with the camera.

  2. Oh the new camera opens up such beauty in your surroundings. I adore old houses too, and these have the most exquisite details. And your cat! May he enjoy another 20 years. xox


    1. My cat is a miracle. He's been close to death a few times and (with vet visits) has snapped back within days. He seems healthier now than he did a few years ago!

  3. I think your camera does justice to your lovely skin which could be described as porcelain. I really liked the accessories that you chose for this outfit

    1. "Porcelain." I like that! There's a little art in, a little cover-up, here and there.

      Aren't the dress-clips great? I have a few pair now and am always on the lookout for more.

  4. Charlotte, the opening photo of you is one of my most favorite ever. You look beautiful, charming and happy! You know me - I am all about feeling as happy as I can as often as I can. :) The dress is wonderful on you. I think it's even prettier that it gives you a room to breathe. I adore old neighborhood with lots of original architecture and will never be tired to see your photos. Hurray for your new camera! And for your cat! 20 years - amazing!
    PS I am in love with your shoes!!

    1. I like this photo too. I look proud, in a good way, and that does make me happy to see that. I was actually smiling at some people who were passing by and enjoyed watching us. Room to breathe is important, especially given how much pain I can get from pressure on my waist.

      I'll bet you have a lot of similar architecture where you live too. It's all up and down the west coast here.

      And, yes, my cat is amazing. My last guy lived to 20 too but was not in as good health at 20 as Bobby is. I think he's going to live for a while longer yet!

  5. Very nice post and outfit! I do have a cane but I don't use it often, it is made of wood and it has my name. I am not a disabled person but I have vision problems. xoxo

    1. Vision problems can be a kind of disability too, can't they? I'm glad the cane helps when you need it. I don't yet have any wood ones because they can be too heavy, but yours sounds pretty.

  6. I'm loving the dress Charlotte! And I'm now having the urge to paint the exterior of my house...yellow or blue...hmmm....
    Did you mention the name of your camera? I'll have to go back and check...the colours and focus are wonderful!

    1. I didn't name my camera and now I don't have it with me so I still can't tell you what it is. Sorry! I still don't know even half of what it can do.

      I've got an amazing house coming up in a future post: indigo and fuchsia. I'm going to pose in front of it when I wear my new, early 1940s style, fuchsia dress. I guarantee it will inspire even more colour ideas for your house.

  7. Wow Loving the pictures. Isnt it exciting with the new camera? Love the details of the little yellow and red flowers on your dress, which looks wonderful. The brooch and earrings perfect with this look. I feel the same about belts, dont wear them often!
    Thanks for linking up with turning heads tuesday
    jess xx

    1. You struggle with chronic pain too, right, Jessica? Belts and tight waists can be awful with pain. I'm wearing a skirt today and I've secretly loosened the zipper to spare myself some pain. So sad: it's a beautiful skirt but it hurts me. That's why I've been wearing so many dresses lately. But dresses can be wonderful too.

  8. Thanks for linking up to Top of the World Style. This dress is very pretty.

    1. Thanks, Nicole. It was so 1930s, I just had to have it.

  9. Beautiful dress!! Love all of those houses!

    1. I love the houses even more than I love the dress, but they're considerably more expensive! Some day...

  10. Wonderful photos - even with a simple camera I find that I "see" more in my surroundings, so I can imagine how much better it is with a good camera. You've chosen so many good topics for your shots. Looking forward to your post about your feed sack dress!

    1. I know what you mean about seeing more when you're doing a photo shoot. I scan my surroundings for different colours and shapes, depending on my outfit. It's a fun way to make me appreciate my surroundings in new ways.

      The feed sack dress hasn't arrived yet. My mailman heard all about that dress when he delivered a less exciting package today. He says he'll keep his eyes open for it. Everyone around me learns about fashion history, whether they like it or not!

  11. Having a new camera is always so fun. I love that this dress is from the 30s and still so relevant and in superb shape!

    Thank you for being a part of TBT Fashion link up and hope to see you soon!


    1. Thanks. The dress is actually new. It only looks like it's from the 30s. I think the dress clips may be from the 1930s though.

  12. Replies
    1. You're most welcome. And thank you for reading them.

  13. What a cute printed dress! I'm loving all the colorful houses too!
    Jeans and a Teacup

    1. Some day, Beau and I will own one of those houses. I hope.