"To perceive Christmas through its wrapping becomes more difficult with every year" - E. B. White

This year Mr. Heb and I are attempting a "relatively commercial free Christmas". Regular readers may recall that we piloted this plan last year when the Hebden household attempted a slightly more challenging no gift policy...sadly we discovered the error of our ways on Christmas morn...the childish thrill of ripping brightly colored paper of something (anything) is a necessary part of the holiday...without it, something intangible was missing. This year the revised plan is one low-cost gift a piece (hopefully wrapped in about 12 layers of glittery paper) and a festive glow instilled by whiling away our time before the big day by making our own decorations, cards, and other seasonal accoutrement.

A trip to the local art store yielded origami paper to festoon our tree...and a lino cutting kit for the production of Christmas cards. The goal is naive charm...though as I haven't applied chisel to lino since high school I'm assailed with doubts of the "will our seasonal greetings look like they were created by a five year old?" variety. Time, as they say, will tell...



"Mild restraint will go a long way with lace." - Brian Primeaux

Oh, what a terrible thing it is to have an obsession...it makes one so...predictable. A skull...especially one formed out of black lace and appliqued onto an exceedingly comfortable looking grey sweatshirt...and I'm a quivering mass of longing.

I need to get a grip...or, preferably, a sweatshirt.


"Isabelle a les yeux bleus... Bleus les yeux Isabelle a" - Les Inconnus

It's not often (at least in the US) that you get a walking-talking-Isabel-Marant sighting...so when I stumbled across this video of Marant discussing her Spring/Summer 2010 collection on Joseph's website I had to share (even though the collection in question left me a little cold)...


"Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps." - Emo Philips

Black leather conjures up a lot of mental images...and, if you Google it, quite a lot of slightly iffy actual images as well. It doesn't normally, however, make you think 'Scottish librarian'...until, that is, you add a plaid shirt and the kind of itchy, over-sized, cardigan that looks like someone's grandmother made it for them for Christmas...

Plaid shirt - Ralph Lauren, cardigan - vintage Paul Costelloe, leather shirt - Zara, boots - Frye


"Here's the rule for bargains: 'Do other men, for they would do you.' That's the true business precept." - Charles Dickens

This definitely falls under the "curiosity killed Aunt Agatha's feline friend" category but the slew of emails that I've received...all trying to lure me of out my warm bed on what promises to be a distinctly cold and dreary morning...so that I can battle other Black Friday shoppers in the war to find the perfect bargain...has prompted me to check if anyone actually felt it worthwhile to get up at some ungodly hour and go shopping?Photobucket

Of course I realize that by the time this post appears any truly dedicated bargain hunters will either be busily wiping the blood of vanquished foes off their (heavily reduced) new shoes...or continuing to take part in the great cheap cashmere war of '09...but I still pose the question. Was the lure of 25% of one item of your choosing enough to compel you to stand shivering on the sidewalk at 5am waiting for H&M to open? Did the offer of 25% off sale merchandise cause you to run towards Club Monaco like a child into it's mothers arms? Most importantly, did you follow Dickens' advice?


"Coexistence... what the farmer does with the turkey - until Thanksgiving." - Mike Connolly



"The horror of the Twentieth Century was the size of each new event, and the paucity of its reverberation" - Norman Mailer

Generally the magic words "size issue" are accompanied by dark thoughts about the designer who (clearly) mis-marked his designs so as to make the consumer feel rotten about themselves by having to take a garment marked a size or two larger than they normally wear into the changing room...or the retailer who panders to the public with vanity sizing and causes the opposite angst as you can't figure out how low you could (or should) go as you rattle through the hangers...what you don't expect to be talking about is a laptop sleeve. And yet, here we are...

Marc Jacobs' laptop sleeve is...leopard printed...insanely gorgeous...and...14" wide. Too large for my hopefully-soon-to-be-retired PowerBook...too small for the MacBook Pro of my dreams...I'm having nerdy size issues and I don't like it.



"Do you always arrange to take your calls in the lingerie department? " - Dr. Catherine 'Cathy' Gale

For a while now I've been searching for a black leather pencil skirt...for the somewhat irrational reason that this one article of clothing reminds me of both my grandmother and Honor Blackman as Cathy Gale in The Avengers circa 1963-64. Amazingly, I've found one...

I use the "a" word because, in addition to wanting a skirt that would have made both ladies proud, I had some conditions...it had to be a) classic, b) priced so as to not break the bank, and c) real leather (items b and c being in direct conflict with one another).

Yet a five minute foray into Zara...Mr. Heb tapping foot impatiently outside...sales assistant providing absolutely no assistance in locating a skirt that was the correct size yet lacking the hole that I discovered in the one that accompanied me to the changing room...yielded something that met all my criteria. Amazingly² I was even able to gather a rather natty little plaid shirt into my arms as I ran for the cash register...



"Drown in a cold vat of whiskey? Death, where is thy sting?" - W. C. Fields

Even though I'm possibly the only non-whiskey drinking Scot in existence (a huge exaggeration I admit but people do generally seem surprised when they discover that I don't imbibe in my "national drink"...I wonder if non-vodka drinking Russians are met with the same level of incredulity) I think the Hebden household needs some Whiskey Stones.

Soapstone blocks that cool my beverages without diluting them and make me feel like a Prehistoric lounge lizard...what more could I want?



"To gild refined gold..."

"Therefore, to be possessed with double pomp,

To guard a title that was rich before,

To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,

To throw a perfume on the violet,

To smooth the ice, or add another hue

Unto the rainbow, or with taper light

To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,

Is wasteful and ridiculous excess."

- William Shakespeare


Dress - Cos, scarf - Burberry, talon cuff - Pamela Love, boots - Frye


"'Maybe there is a beast....maybe it's only us.'" - William Golding, Lord of the Flies

At some point we probably all suffered the blight of mockery during our High School years. To the merciless bullies we were (depending on what day of the week it was or if their mom had neglected to restock their favorite breakfast cereal) too tall, too short, to fat, too skinny, too loud, too quiet, or blessed with a name that rhymed with something funny or lewd.

“Upon reaching man’s estate” we heaved a sigh of relief and assumed that such senseless mockery was behind us; until, that is, Christian Louboutin decided to share his view on ankles with the general public.

In a recent article in the UK Times Mr. Louboutin states that “The thing that really restricts me is not fabrication; it’s the ankle.” Lest that doesn’t induce the correct level of paranoia in readers of the newspaper he follows up with “Even Barbie had to have her ankles slimmed for me.” The Times then decides to elucidate even the dimmest reader who may still not have grasped the point by adding “In his world, “cankles” are a crime.”

Sadly, the persecutors who try to make us feel bad about ourselves don’t go away when we become adults, they just start charging us $1,000 for the privilege.


"Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called 'walking'."

Home is the sailor, home from the sea...home is the business traveler, home from the creepy hotel room with the stained red leather recliner that I was too repelled by to sit in (generally I can withstand a little dirt and grime but it's usually a bad sign when you feel dirty coming out of the shower)...home is the visitor to Texas whose life has been enriched by a visit to Chick-fil-A and a sighting of the common Grackle.Photobucket

Tweed coat - Acne, t-shirt - from a street vendor in Paris, jeans - Joe's, hi-tops - Converse, suede bag - Tila March


"Sleeplessness is a desert without vegetation or inhabitants" - Jessamyn West

You may have noticed a distinct lack of posts around here in the last couple of days...unfortunately, thanks to the combination of work and work-related travel, the similarity between tumbleweeds rolling across a desert and this blog will continue for about another week.

To illustrate how out of it I am...in a brief, two-minute, click through of La Garconne's latest and greatest I spotted these leopard tights. They were cotton...they were fun...they were...for children. Yes, all five feet eleven inches of me was lusting over hosiery designed for the "up to age 6" set. Almost as alarming...that people spend $28 on tights for tots.



“With bread and wine you can walk your road” - Spanish proverb

For a while now the fashion press has been heralding the return of the loafer. A manifesto which, as a flat shoe wearer, I could firmly get behind. Of course, when they published the articles I think magazines were thinking more of the 'Alexa Chung slightly dorky librarian' vibe and less of the 'Tescos was having a sale on cottage loaves' variety.

Yet, there you go...twin brothers Remigijus and Egidijus Praspaliauskas obviously heard the word and realized what to do with the uneaten crusts in their bread bin. Whereas most of us would simply make a bread pudding or contribute to the obesity of the local duck population they thought footwear (I like to imagine a sort of Archimedes in the bath process...one second you're shoveling jam onto it...the next there are cries of "Eureka!" and you're sticking your foot into a baguette).

Though there's only one slipper-like style the food-wear comes in white, black, classic, and golden and (to quote the website) "feels good in dry climate". As ideas go (much as I hate to be the one to say it) this one just about takes the crust.



Space...the final frontier...

Thanks to work I've been spending quite a bit of time in hotels recently and the thing that I've noticed (apart from how easy it is to get used to room service...and that chefs seem unable to resist the urge to tart up the humble, yet tasty, Club sandwich by throwing everything but the kitchen sink on it) is how much simple pleasure can be obtained from only having a duffel bag's worth of clothes in the closet.

Much as I love "stuff" it's incredibly refreshing to open the closet door and be faced by a few hand-picked favorites, each luxuriating in a couple of inches of personal space, rather than the normal seething mass of pieces, crushed against each other like commuters on a Japanese train.

Now to find the courage to boldly go where no Hebden has gone before (yes, I'm a geek) and purge a few things...


Perfection and Anarchy

"The human race is intoxicated with narrow victories, for life is a string of them like pearls that hit the floor when the rope breaks, and roll away in perfection and anarchy." - Mark Helprin

Kudos to Club Monaco for inviting Paris-based jewelry designer Ligia Dias to collaborate on a capsule collection of necklaces for the holiday season (you may remember me mentioning Dias' work before when I developed a slight passion for the necklaces she designed based on the work of Bauhaus designer Anni Albers...an idea that I shamelessly copied after a trip to the hardware store). The CM collection reignites the yearning for a little something that successfully blends the simple with the lavish by placing rope, pearls, and Swarovski crystal in close proximity to each other.

The only problem is that CM has decided that the only US folks worthy of such trinkets are based in New York...guess that means I have another Dias-based DIY project on my To Do list....



Ezekiel cried...

"The thigh bone's connected to the hip bone
The hip bone's connected to the back bone
The back bone's connected to the neck bone
The neck bone's connected to the head bone
Oh hear the word of the Lord!"

Two obsessions in one...games and skulls...I'm like a kid let loose in a (rather macabre) candy store.


"Art is like baby shoes. When you coat them with gold, they can no longer be worn." - John Updike

Once again I'm left cursing the food Gods...and the fact that there are no Ladurée outposts in my immediate vicinity...thanks to news of a collaboration between Ladurée and Marni.

Friends, ignore the (admittedly very cute) polka dot box...for nestling within are gold leaf bedecked chocolate macaroons...talk about gilding the lily...


"I saw a woman wearing a sweatshirt with Guess on it. I said, Thyroid problem?" - Arnold Schwarzenegger

Though the majority of their pieces that I've seen have been knitwear...of the ethereal, Rodarte, type...Daphne and Vera Correll's Random Sewing Sweatshirt is what caught my eye (surprising given my love of all things sweater-y).

Apart from anything I think I'm drawn to its "I just got a new sewing machine and went a little crazy trying all the different stitches" appeal...


H.M.S. Pinafore, or The Lass that Loved a Sailor

A British tar is a soaring soul,
As free as a mountain bird,
His energetic fist should be ready to resist
A dictatorial word.
His nose should pant and his lip should curl,
His cheeks should flame and his brow should furl,
His bosom should heave and his heart should glow,
And his fist be ever ready for a knock-down blow.

- William S. Gilbert & Sir Arthur Sullivan

Sailor shirt - United Bamboo, khakis - Junya Watanabe, Chelsea boots - Frye


One man's trash is another man's treasure

I mentioned my cold weather nesting instinct a little while ago...something that I think is fairly normal...the disturbing thing is that my c.w.n. appears to have taken the form of a single minded fixation on napkins (hitherto mentally categorized as 'one of the most boring things in the world it's possible to do with fabric'). The latest incarnation that I found however was so delightfully bizarre, yet vaguely useful, that I wanted to mention it.

MYdraps are...cotton or linen napkins...on a roll. According to their website they are "for single use or to be washed and used again"...I'm not quite sure about that...but the idea of napkins-on-a-roll is so novel that I don't really care (especially as they come in a slew of colors including bubblegum, aubergine, and carmine red). Sadly they only seem to be available currently in Spain so I'll have to contain myself until they find a web/US distributor.



"If your project doesn't work, look for the part that you didn't think was important" - Arthur Bloch

I'm all for multi-tasking...and 'craft' projects that take almost no time or effort to accomplish...but British Vogue's suggestion to "get ahead" of next spring's satchel trend by tying a scarf onto your handbag to create a strap seems a little too lazy (even for me).

Impractical too...you're either going to ruin a perfectly good scarf by attaching it to too heavy a bag...or create an impractical lightweight, too light to actually carry anything (and therefore failing to fulfill the remit of being a satchel).

Egad, I'm turning into a craft curmudgeon...or maybe I'm just jealous of the Hermès bag used in this experiment...


"My strength and my weakness are twins in the same womb." - Marge Piercy

Though, in this case, the only "strength" I can think of is that I realize (and acknowledge) that my "weakness" is coats...more specifically, the trench...like this specimen from Zucca whose wonderfully elongated collar and flared skirt set my pulses racing...Photobucket


"Through tattered clothes small vices do appear; Robes and fur'd gowns hide them all - William Shakespeare

I've mentioned rabbit fur in several posts recently...it was therefore only a matter of time before something in the family Leporidae made its way into my closet...though what I ended up with wasn't quite in the form I'd originally envisioned (i.e. my thoughts were more in the luxe scarf direction and less in the 'slightly bizarre lovechild of Amelia Earhart and Elmer Fudd' category).

Yet, after a trip to Orvis to pick up some Thornproof Dressing for Mr. Heb's Barbour, that's exactly what I ended up with...a leather and fur aviator hat. As someone who has suffered through numerous winters...battling subzero wind chills with only a knit cap between my scalp and the elements...this is the kind of cute yet practical headgear I've been yearning for...



Birds of a feather...fall off their perch due to hypothermia

If we weren't about to take our first tentative steps into winter...and are therefore anticipating months of layers...I'd probably rush in (where angels and other winged messengers fear to tread) and buy this organza sleeved number from Topshop...but what good are organza ruffles when they're either hidden under knitwear and coats or framing a rather unsightly mass of goosebumps?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...