Friday, January 31, 2014

The Madwoman in the Garden

The following post was originally published on January 31, 2014. I'm reposting it because, well, Blogger and I had a little contretemps and I thought Blogger was going to throw this post in the bin. So I quickly hit Revert to Draft thinking that would save it, even if it didn't save my recent changes to the labels - I added labels so I could get "dynamic pages" on my new tabs on my blog. Cool, huh? I also updated the banner, in case you didn't notice. Doesn't my blog look really slick now?

Where was I? Oh, yeah, I hit Revert to Draft, and it did indeed save my post. But made it a Draft - unpublished - again. I guess that's what Revert to Draft means. Seems a bit cryptic to me.

So now I'm publishing it again, with the labels, so it'll show up if you click on the Short Stories or What I Wear tabs. You can skip the whole thing if you already read it. You can skip the whole thing even if you haven't read it.

But if not, I give you The Madwoman in the Garden -



The day was cold and drear, with an opaque fog seeping in off the Baltic Sea. Nevertheless, I decided to take some air in the small side yard of this crumbling old pile where I reside. I avoid the streets and open spaces. People stare at me and whisper behind my back. 

I prefer my solitude.



I am Valastasia, and I am the last survivor of my illustrious family, the Bugheroffs.



The passionflower vines are dead, as is my youth, and the fog clouds my mind and wraps me in a shroud of nostalgia. Memories haunt me, speaking to me in ghostly voices from the past.

But I find comfort in the confined space and the familiar gargoyle that looks down from the fence.


I wear old clothes salvaged from the dusty trunks in the attic of my family home. They are my sole luxury and my only mementos of past lives – an embroidered brocade jacket, a shirt of the finest imported silk, and hat and gloves made from the fur of an ocelot. 


The jacket's not really embroidered and the shirt is cotton. Of course you know the fur is fake. What a drama queen! 


My belt and boots were left behind by an officer in the military who was my lover in the halcyon days before the revolution.


I remember with yearning the days we spent together, days when we were young and untroubled, when we shared the deepest secrets of our souls, and dreamed of our brilliant future together. 

Whatever.

Alas, it was not to be. One ominous evening we went to see the ballet – it was a magnificent performance – and the next day he was gone. He had deserted the army, discarded his possessions, and abandoned me for another love. I was inconsolable! He had fallen for the lead dancer of the Bolshoi, Ivan Toudance, and they had fled to San Francisco.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. 


Blah, blah, blah, Valastasia never recovered, okay? She hung out alone in that creepy old house, shunning the world and living in the past. 

(No cats? That doesn't seem right.)

This Gothic tale inspired by and linking up with:
52 Pick-me-up at Spy Girl - Short over Long
Share in Style at Mis Papelicos - Gothic
Hat Attack at TheStyle Crone - Hats!

Jacket - Coldwater Creek (old)
Shirt - Jones New York (resale)
Skirt - Fresh Produce (resale)
Boots - JCP (old)
Belt - thrifted
Hat and gloves - WalMart (ocelot, my ass!)

Valastasia 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Google Friend Connect - connected!

After getting comments from people who still use Google Friend Connect to read blogs, I did a little checking. It seems Google, in their infinite wisdom, no longer put the widget in their list of gadgets for Blogger. Maybe that says something about their future plans...

But there are so many clever people on the web, and they contribute to forums, and they figure out the code so I don't have to!
 
In my sidebar I've now got a gadget for GFC. It doesn't have the usual graphic, but it's clearly labeled. And it works! Thanks, Sheila, for testing it!



Val

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

+ Me, Like Me, Follow Me



Thank you to everyone who's adding my new blog to your reading list! So now that I've forced you to find me at a new address, how are you following me?



Since I changed my blog AND my Google profile, I'm experimenting with the way I follow blogs. I've added several people on Google+, and I could add lots more but I'm still getting used to the messy interface (or is it just me?). However, it's fun to get short posts and links. I don't want to do Twitter. The closest I'll get to tweeting is this shirt.



Instead of setting up a new Blogger Reading List, I'm using Bloglovin' to read blogs. So I don't have a blogroll on my page right now - does that bother you? Bloglovin' is okay except for a couple of things. If I use the Bloglovin' window (which makes it really easy to move from blog to blog) I'm not able to leave comments sometimes. And I tend to stay logged in on my netbook, but Bloglovin' dumps me out and closes up after awhile, then I have to login again. Maybe I can reset that – I'll have to look into it.



And that's the problem with all this bloody technology – you have to keep learning new things and looking things up and adapting to all the unnecessary little changes. Like, does Gmail really need to keep changing their Reply interface?!? How does that help anybody?

shirt, belt and tights - Target; skirt - Docker's, thrifted; shoes - Tom's

Grumpy Old Woman signing off...

Val

Thursday, January 23, 2014

If at first you don’t succeed, Redoux


This is the tale of two black skirts, neither of which is pictured in this post.
 


The first one is a beautiful wool midi skirt I bought at the thrift store for about $8 - Talbot's brand, side button opening, fully lined, like new. But I can't show it to you. I was little optimistic when I tried it on. The first (and only) time I wore it to work I couldn't breathe! I thought about moving the buttons to give me more room, but that would ruin the line of the skirt, and even then it would never be truly comfortable on my post-Christmas girth.

So I took it to a local resale place - The Redoux Parlour. I'm adding the link because their website is very clever!


The Redoux Parlour is owned by Laura Lee Laroux – again, clever, huh? She's a fashion designer. The shop sells clothes by her and some other local designers, as well as resale items. And they do alterations. And they even have a sewing class.

Besides the skirt, I took some other clothes down to trade a couple of weeks ago, plus a top to be altered. I found a different black midi skirt that fits better, and I got this beautiful shirt by Jones New York.


This shirt is so well made. As Sheila would say, it's got good seaming. And the patterns are put together perfectly symmetrically. 

The fabric feels lovely, and although it's 100 percent cotton, it's barely been kissed by an iron. It fits like a glove, and it only cost $10, which I paid for with the things I traded.

skirt - Christopher & Banks; belt - thrifted; boots - JCP

The belt, skirt and boots have been seen before on my old blog, lots of times. The necklace was a Christmas present from my stepdaughter.

I'll show you my new-to-me black skirt (that I can breathe in) very soon. 

And in a couple of days I'll be linking up with Tres Chic Style Bits at Searching the Inner Me, and of course Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style!

Have you found some good treasures lately?

Val

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Grab a fork and a hunk of bread


Welcome to Muse Fondue! I'm so glad you came.

I really am glad you came - it's just too cold to smile!

Muse Fondue is picking up where Late Blooming Sparkle left off - a new name, but the same old me.

I know it's a weird name - I kind of like that - and I don’t mean to suggest that I want to melt my muse in hot cheese. It's more like I want to dip into my muse, share a warm snack with her. At its core this blog is a creative endeavor for me, so maybe Muse Fondue will unleash even more creativity! 


I thought through lots of other names, as you can see on the tab "Other blog name ideas." Some of those names were really good, and you're free to steal one if you want. But Muse Fondue just felt right. The words are rhythmical and lyrical. They're fun and flavorful. They're gooey and chewy. 

When I said "Muse Fondue" to Mr. S. I couldn't help but laugh – it's wacky! And it's not specific to any one subject, so who knows where it'll take me. 

Brrrrrrrrrrrr!

I already had a Google profile as Val S., so I'm using that and retiring Val Sparkle. (My last name really does start with S as in Sparkle.) I'll visit Late Blooming Sparkle from time to time to post links to here, but please add Muse Fondue to your Google+, Bloglovin', or whatever you use. 

jacket and teal top - JCP; Levi jeans - thrifted; scarf - local art museum; Tom's booties from local shop Shoe-A-Holic

I'll be linking up to 52 Pick-me-up at Spy Girl. The prompt this week is to pick a scarf and then dress to match. I picked my favorite scarf, which has my favorite colors - peach, red, turquoise. Throw in a teal top, blue jeans, and my new Tom's booties (squeeeeee!), and I'm ready to go. 


Even Wonder Woman agrees.

Val