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  1. Mad Melodies: Cover me Canada

    Saturday, October 22, 2011

    Welcome to another Edition of Mad Melodies. This round features all Canadian artists with amazing cover songs that I just had to share. First up:


    I'm falling in love with the Good Lovelies, who I found because they are coming to Camrose Nov 11. An all-girl group that sings close-harmony swing style coming on Remembrance Day? How perfect is that? (if anyone in Camrose/Edmonton is interested in going, let me know!)
    I found their cover of K'os Crabbuckit on Youtube and fell hard.

    Credit: Google Images
     Jaymz Bee is another cover artist I adore. A little bit like Richard Cheese, Jaymz Bee and his Royal Jelly Orchestra (also Canadian) covers modern tunes in a swinging 60's style. He's hard to track down online, but I have one album (Cocktail: Shakin' and Stirred, 1997) thanks to a former prof and one off iTunes (Seriously Happy, 2004), which has lots of swing standards like Sing, Sing, Sing and Got The World On A String. I am hunting high and low for the Christmas album, so if anyone has any leads on it, let me know! Their cover of Alanis Morrisette's You Oughta Know is the only video on Youtube (below) and it's not great quality, but the audio of their cover of Safety Dance (one of my personal favourites) is here.

     Alex Pangman is another fabulous Canadian Jazz artist. She's had a lung transplant due to cystic fibrosis and is back on her feet belting out 1930s jazz standards. I heard about her on CKUA's Facebook page and had to buy her album  ASAP. Her latest album is 33 to celebrate turning 33 and it's all songs from 1933. How awesome is that?  Here's a video of a few of her songs from the album launch (LOVE the dress.)

    What are your favourite cover songs or artists? I have a whole lot more that I will share soon (perhaps an entire post on Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, hmm?)

  2. How-to: Transition summer clothes to winter

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    I am not blessed with an expansive vintage wardrobe. I took the vintage leap last spring and as such only have a few retro-inspired garments in my closet, so I've needed to find a way to make these last, lest I be wearing the same four outfits all winter long (and it's a very long winter in Alberta!). Also, of course, it gets terribly cold (I'm not looking forward to -20, no sireebob) and so I have to have at least two layers under my coat, if not more.

    Here are some of the ways I plan on stretching my wardrobe into the next seven (!!) months of frigid winds and snow that lies ahead. I highly recommend checking out Charlotte's series on cold weather vintage over at Tuppence Ha'penny. She has some great scans of coats, knitwear and more!

    (I was being lazy today and as such did not want to iron or wear a slip so some of these are wrinkly or staticky)

    Skirts over dresses


    This can get tricky because you have to make sure the skirt on top will be longer than the dress's skirt and is about the same volume (the dress shows more underneath the pencil skirt than the brown skirt. I lean towards using short dresses anyway because that is the number one thing that makes me toss them towards the summer pile anyway (my thighs are very susceptible to frostbite).

    Dresses over long-sleeved tops

     As someone who never likes to show off her shoulders, especially in the work environment, I often wear sweaters or jackets over my dresses or blouses, even if the weather doesn't warrant it. My shoulders and upper arms are particularly ugly or sexy, but I just feel more professional that way. So to stave off the permi-cardigan that I am sure to don as soon as the temperature starts dipping even more, I'm examining the dresses that can go over some of my longer sleeved tops. In this case I chose a low-cut sweater and would tuck/pin it a little better so just the sleeves are showing.

    Sweaters and blouses over dresses

    Teal sweater over pink striped dress
    Spring 2011

    This goes above throwing a cardi on and calling it a day. Of course this works best with tops that have a little give. Wearing a tight blouse on top of a textured dress will look a little strange. This would look better if I had a shorter sweater *hmm*

    Slips and camis under dresses and blouse/skirt outfits
    There is no better way to discreetly layer than with camis and slips. With most of my button up blouses and sweaters I wear a cami or bandeau underneath to cover-up cleavage, but even just tossing an extra layer underneath a collared shirt works to keep you a little bit warmer.


    Short floral dress under brown skirt with white cardigan
    As seen in NYC when it was blazin' hot out

    Of course a combination of any of the tips above works as well. This dress was rather short, very thin (perfect for hot, humid days like we experienced in NYC) and had straps instead of sleeves, so I covered up everything except the floral top.

    How do you plan to stretch your summer and spring wardrobe into the colder months?

  3. Autumn is in full swing (probably the downward swing too, darn) here in Alberta and I spent the weekend preparing for it.

    After the whole mouse debacle on Friday I needed some retail therapy so I stepped on over to visit my sponsor, Imagine Vintage. Not only was Peggy sympathetic to my plight but she had some wonderful deals on, including beautiful fur collars (which I wanted to save because some teenager said she wanted to go as a PETA protester and buy the collar and drip blood on it - which doesn't even make sense), 1950s wedding and prom dresses and a bunch of other beauties that I would have loved to take home with me had my boobs fit in them (damn you voluptuousness!)

    But I did get to take these two dresses as well as a nude and black slip.

    1950s dress, perfect condition and an amazing fit.

    Date unknown, but doesn't it just scream Autumn?
    Made with pure virgin wool, perfect for chilly days.
    On Saturday and Sunday G and I spent the day with his mom where we got to hear all her mice horror stories (mine don't even compare!) and stopped by at H&M where I stocked up on sweaters and a cute Peter Pan collared blouse that I just couldn't pass up.

     I love H&M and all their retro/vintage inspired stuff, but shopping there is so tiring because you have to haul 8 versions of a garment in the change room with you.

    Some blouses are sized S-M-L, some are numbered sizes. A 10 in one dress was massive on me but another 10 dress was a smidgen too small. I bought some blouses before to fit my chest but now they're too big in the shoulders.... and the list goes on. Vanity sizing! UGH.

    Aaaand then today I had a haircut to thin the masses of hair I have on my head. Hopefully tomorrow I will wake up with dry, tangle-free curls instead of the rats nest I've been accumulating lately. I find that since I no longer use heat and try to wash my hair every second day my hair has been growing like a weed! Look how long it's gotten since August when I first got my middy:

    October 2011

    August 2011

    How are you preparing for winter? Stocking up on sweaters like me or holding out with your summer clothes until the bitter end?

  4. Close encounters of the rodent kind

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    Friday I took a trip to the emergency room to get the doctor to take a gander at my left lung because it had a sharp shooting pain at times. She told me it wasn't anything serious so I should just go home, rest and take some Advil.


    I was sitting at home, minding my own business and watching Lisa Freemont Street's 300th video when A MOUSE ran from my closet to the couch I was sitting on. He was the size of an elephant with a chainsaw and a stick of dynamite. He was comin' to get me, I tells ya.

    Artist's rendition of the culprit

    Of course my instinct was to scream and jump on the couch before I even really registered what happened. Like this, but fully clothed and much more terrified:

     I grabbed my tablet, grabbed my phone and bolted to my office, even though it was my day off.

    I also called G crying, and he thought that I was dying or something because I had just told him I was in the ER (whoops). My wonderful co-workers Nick and Vince volunteered to come over and mouse-hunt for me (to no avail) and my awesome landlord Karl helped G lay some traps at lunch time. I stayed out of the house all day while G was at work because there was NO WAY I could stay home with a mouse (I also paid a visit to my sponsor Imagine Vintage but that's another post for another day).

    After we laid the traps we went out for beers so G - who is also terrified of mice - could have some liquid courage to dispose of the creature. My hero!

    A lot of people on my Facebook/Twitter were expressing their wishes for me to dispose of the mouse humanely, but I don't roll that way. Mice are dirty, disease carriers. If anyone wanted to come and do it themselves I would have let them get rid of the mouse anyway possible but if it's in my house, it's my rules.

    So we are mouse-free as of today, Sunday. We think it was a lone mouse that snuck through a door that was open for a split-second too long, but we've left the traps up to be safe.

    And that's the story of my weekend. It could have been much worse!

  5. Thanksgiving Hangover

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    What a feast! Even though it was just me and G for Thanksgiving, we decided to go all out, but at the same time mini-sized the meal.

    We had the great fortune to find a 9 lb bird at Superstore. Anything bigger probably wouldn't have fit in the sink or the fridge! G soaked it in a delicious brine and then cooked it for a mere two hours (small birds are quick) along with potatoes and mixed veggies. The turkey was SO JUICY that it was dripping all over the cutting board, over the cupboard and onto the floor.


    My duties for the day were to make dessert. I didn't want to make whole pumpkin pies as those are hard to split up evenly (and I love sharing) so instead I bought some tart shells and made mini-pies!

    Add fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of pumpkin spice!

    And even though it was just the two of us, I did get a little dressed up. I attempted a french twist but since my hair is too short it didn't really work. Instead I improvised, stuck a bunch of bobby pins in my hair along with two orange flowers and a dry pin curl at the front. Ta-da!

    I'm also coming along rather well with my knitting. I started over since my last post because I added stitches (I have no idea how) and went from 30 to 61. I unraveled the whole thing and started again by myself, which I'm pretty proud of. I've been at a steady 28 stitches until this morning when a 29th cropped up in there somehow, so now I've got to fix it.

  6. Today, it was knitting:

    (I was in the zone, no time for smiling).

    I'm much farther along now

    Thanks to Camrose twitter and knitter friend Tanya, I have finally joined the ranks of girls who have some sort of hand-made talent, although I am VERY far behind. So far I have about 1/36 of a scarf done with vintage yarn from Eatons, no less! But my hands got tired so I thought I would work on that ole carpal tunnel for a little bit and share what else I've been up to.

    Last weekend I went home to the farm in ole Saskatchewan for my Grandma and Grandpa Callsen's 60th wedding anniversary. They were wed Sept. 4, 1951 and are still together today!

    It was a blast, not only because I got to see some immediate family I hadn't visited with since July, but also because I got to see my "BC cousins" that I hadn't seen in a few years.

    Cousin Ryan, me, my brother Greg, sister Maryanne, cousin Darci and sister Deanna

    I also got to try on my Grandma's wedding dress but sadly, we were not a match (my boobs prevented all the little buttons in the back from doing up, waah). But from the front it seems all right!

    Doing up alllllll those buttons after.

    I also got to visit with my other set of grandparents and get some family stories down on tape. Grandma told me about her family's dairy - The Huff's Maple Leaf Dairy, which was located at 144 ave and 97 st in Edmonton and was the first dairy in the city. She and Gpa Marchant met at an army dance in Edmonton while Grandpa was in the air force (he said she was a fifth wheel, and she was under the impression it was a blind date) and the rest is history. Grandma and I also bonded over my vintage hairstyling book, which is a memory I'll cherish forever.

    In other news - how did I JUST discover the magic that is Mary Ford and Les Paul? I'm mad at all of you from keeping this from me. (G wants me to point out that he found it. 3 gold stars for him).

    Imelda May and Jeff Beck do a top notch cover in a tribute to Les Paul & Mary Ford too:

    Hope all my Canadian readers have a wonderful Thanksgiving (I'm not sure what we'll be doing yet) and that you all have a wonderful weekend.
    xo Laurie

    Addendum: I also learned today that not only was Cary Grant really into LSD, he forced his wife Dyan to take it even though she didn't want to (which probably accounts for all her bad trips).