Monday, April 14, 2014

In your Easter bonnet...

Do a web search for "girls' Easter Bonnet" here in the mighty kingdom of Great Britain and you will find a lot of options for joke hats, straw rubbish and silly rabbity nonsenses, none of which are at all appropriate for little girls going to church on Easter Sunday or even hunting for chocolate eggs in the local park. How, I ask you, does a country that so embraces millinery fall apart when it comes to children's special-occasion headwear?

I refuse to accept that there are no cute Easter hats for little girls, so I've done some searching. There are a lot of ugly hats out there (hello, straw trilby), but I've found a couple of adorable options for little ladies that would be perfect for finishing off a spring dress, and I've picked out a handful here. Yes, some are very high end, but the pink cloche from John Lewis is very affordable, and if you are savvy with a needle and thread, might even be able to stitch yourself up a copy of number five. Tres chic, non?

1. This sweet flowery summer hat from il Trenino is pricey, but it would be absolutely darling on top of a soft pink calico with a billowing skirt, no? Perhaps if you were attending Easter Sunday services at Westminster Abbey or for having a lovely piece of cake with your favorite teddy bear? 

2. This fairly simple straw titfer from John Lewis could work with a number of sweet outfits and face shapes, and that sweet pink garland is to die for. Ringlets mandatory.

3. I love this little white bonnet from Mayoral, and the coral piping is such a great color this year. Also available in candy pink and mint green.

4. and 5. Joli Bebe. Isabelle will be wearing number four with her adorable little navy Rachel Riley dress this year, and a pair of navy patent slippers. Because if you can't look like a little doll when you are five years old, when can you? 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I admit...

Today I:

  • Mismanaged my time this morning and was not able to have coffee before I left the house
  • Walked out the door to two children screaming, "mommy, don’t go! don’t go!"
  • Got shoved on the Tube by a large and pushy non-English-speaking school group who did not realize the doors at that end of the train would not open at Baker Street
  • Looked the wrong way when crossing Euston Road and nearly got flattened by a semi truck
  • Came in to work to find the person I was supposed to be working with had no plans to be there before noon
  • Shivered because it is only 50 degrees outside, but it is April and the heat has been turned off already
  • Spent a couple of hours doing something I don’t know how to do, and don’t understand how to learn
  • Skipped lunch because I had too much to do
  • Discovered that I value my own time about 60% more than my income compensates me for
  • Learned how to write a formula in Excel to calculate gross profit margins {I have a degree in theatre} which is as complicated and boring a task as I have ever completed
  • Was the first one to leave the office {everyone else there is 25 and doesn't have kids, and so I feel like I'm sneaking out every single afternoon}...
  • ...but arrived home late anyway, so I missed eating dinner with the kids, and wolfed down a bowl of cold stew after they had already left the table
  • Read Isabelle's choice of story at bedtime, which was a book of poems on the theme of "I am sorry"
  • Got punched in the face by the baby who did not want another lullaby; proceeded to have him follow me out of the room and then have to plop him back into bed three separate times after I said goodnight
  • Fell asleep in front of House of Cards {which is a show neither one of us really enjoys} for the tenth time in a row
  • Woke up enough to get to bed, too late and too tired to do any reading, or anything else fun

Yeah, I know that it's possible to do it all, have it all, be it all, but on days like today, I really don't want to.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Working Mommy: What do you do with your legs in Spring?

via the guardian

Today I'm looking out my window at a typical April day, sunny, but cold. In a fit of optimism I packed away my winter clothes, all the sweaters and chunky tights and knee-high boots, in favor of my lighter swingier Spring wardrobe. A spring wardrobe made up of, largely, skirts.

According to me, one cannot go to work in a respectable place with chicken-skin goosebumps on bare legs. Not only does it look yucky, but its cold to have naked legs in an overly air-conditioned office (topic for another time: why are offices SO COLD?). So the only suitable thing to add to your outfit is a pair of stockings. But which stockings? The old tights-vs.-hose debate is a tough one in springtime, when suntan hose are so deeply uncool, but thick, opaque tights simply do not go with a light springy dress. No, I'm sorry, they just don't.

So I did some web research on this subject, and of course the first thing that came back to me when I typed in "hose vs tights" was a picture of The Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton. About a million pictures, in fact, of the fashion-forward Duchess wearing nude tights.
via reuters

I am no lover of the royal family, but I do have to hand it to Kate Middleton, who seems to be the answer for a million workplace fashion questions, and luckily, she looks great in pictures. She always looks appropriate. Not cool. Or rock-and-roll. But Kate in her nude hose looks very professional and ladylike, and that is exactly what you want for work. 

Before you turn away from a discussion about pantyhose, let me just say, as a hose wearer, there are many benefits to pantyhose: they cover veins and other blemishes, they suck everything in, and they prevent blisters even in the most affordable of Target shoes. I think the problem here is that when you think pantyhose, you think L'eggs Eggs {which, by the way, do not even come in those plastic eggs anymore, although their Silken Mist range in black is a winner for dress up occasions}. When Kate thinks pantyhose she clearly thinks sheer, glossy, and flattering shades to be worn with ladylike hemlines, and so should you.

So, working mommy, here is a short list of my favorite nude tights for spring, from the high-end to the very affordable: 
So there you go, lady. Put on your knee-length dresses and twirl. And if I catch even one of you running around without anything on your legs until it reaches 75 degrees, you'll hear from me. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Greatest of Bees....

Oh Great British Sewing Bee.... I'll tell you, you had me in tears when my favorite contestant left this week. She was a great sewer and I was sorry to see her go... But I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying this season; the challenges have been great, the people have been fun, and it's completely inspired me to haul out my machine and make a couple of things I never thought I would attempt (hello sailor suit for Billy). If you haven't yet seen it, the final is on Tuesday, and you must absolutely make time to watch three very talented sewers take on couture sewing techniques, because I'm sure it will be fascinating. 

Here are a couple of other reasons to watch: 

• The vintage episode (episode 6) including sewing on a 1930's Singer and the make-do-and-mend segment where the sewists refashioned a men's suit into something new. So challenging and so exciting!

• Judge Patrick Grant's attire:
via here

Savile Row needs no better advertisement for perfect fit, fine tailoring and flawless construction. Mais non?

• The fact that Chinelo has never once used a pattern for any of her amazing garments. 

• The joyous banter and happy camaraderie of the sewers on the set as well as the whole internet sewing community supporting this show, who have jumped forward with a great wealth of patterns, advice, tutorials and inspirations. Fun, buzzing and sassy, just like a real sewing bee! 

Anyway, Great British Sewing Bee, this is just a small letter from me to you to tell you how much I love you, and I can't wait to see who becomes Queen of the Bee on Tuesday! 

Happy sewing, everyone! 


Friday, April 4, 2014

Spring Clean: A Fresh Start

hawthorn blossom
Oh man, we've spent a little over a week spring cleaning our house {and still not quite finished... I'm looking at you, old oven.} and garden, and I thought I would give the old blog a once-over too. Gone are the fuzzy backgrounds, pixel-y tiles and my beloved puppet theatre, and in place is a new, blue-and-white springtime look. I am happy about this because the old layout has been with me for about five years, it's easier on the eyes and I'm excited to be able to employ my new Saint Agnes font, but I wish I'd done a screenshot of the old blog, because I don't have those graphics anymore! They are on my old computer, lying dead at my sister's house in Carolina.

Anyhoo, here you'll find all the same old Puppet Opera content we've been featuring for some time, plus a couple of new things that we're working on, and more exciting tales about our life and times here in London. Thanks for reading!

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