November 19, 2010

Oak Glen

I've been trying to post this for two days! Finally some time to do it! There will be few words since I went to the midnight showing of Harry Potter last night and am kinda tuckered out now (loved it by the way, did not love the massive amount of stupid people who were also there)! But enjoy!

You know I love my gloomy days, and I also love romantic countrysides.
Oak Glen is about as romantic as our "countryside" gets. I've always loved the place ever since I was a little girl. So add some cold weather and heavy fog to the place, and I am one happy camper!

Raspberry bushes!

The last of the summer raspberries! We ended up with enough for two homemade pies!  So Yummy!


Snowline is an apple farm in Oak Glen that also has a tiny antique shop. I love this display of old medicine bottles!

The bushes tried to eat me!
Bow- Lulu Letty on Etsy
Cardi- Vintage, thrifted
Dress- Made by me!
Bag & Tights- Target
Shoes- Swedish Hasbeens

Apple Cider donuts. Mmmmm!

This shed (the same one I'm standing in front of above) is one of my favourite things about this place. 

He's 13. I'm sorry.

Don't let him fool you, he's really a devilish child! ;-)


I was either really hungry, or this place had the best chili burger ever. It was huge too! And their apple pie is amazing. As is their apple turnover. And the cherry pie. and the blackberry. Oh and the cherry turnovers too! and the...

It was such a lovely day. Why can't it be Autumn always?

November 16, 2010

Be Mine to Guard this Light ...


The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,
and on its outer point, some miles away,
the lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,
A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.

Even at this distance I can see the tides,
Upheaving, break unheard along its base
A speechless wrath, that rises and subsides
in the white tip and tremor of the face.

As the evening darkens, lo! how bright,
through the deep purple of the twilight air,
Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light,
with strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!

No one alone: from each projecting cape
And perilous reef along the ocean’s verge,
Starts into life a dim, gigantic shape,
Holding its lantern o’er the restless surge.

Like the great giant Christopher it stands
Upon the brink of the tempestuous wave
Wading far out among the rocks and sands
The night o’er taken mariner to save.

And the great ships sail outward and return
Bending and bowing o’er the billowy swells
And ever joyful, as they see it burn
They wave their silent welcome and farewells.

They come forth from the darkness, and their sails
Gleam for a moment only in the blaze
And eager faces, as the light unveils
Gaze at the tower, and vanish while they gaze


The mariner remembers when a child
on his first voyage, he saw it fade and sink
And when returning from adventures wild
He saw it rise again o’er ocean’s brink.

Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same
Year after year, through all the silent night
Burns on forevermore that quenchless flame
Shines on that inextinguishable light!

It sees the ocean to its bosom clasp
The rocks and sea-sand with the kiss of peace
It sees the wild winds lift it in their grasp
And hold it up, and shake it like a fleece.

The startled waves leap over it; the storm
Smites it with all the scourges of the rain
And steadily against its solid form
press the great shoulders of the hurricane.

The sea-bird wheeling round it, with the din
of wings and winds and solitary cries,
Blinded and maddened by the light within
Dashes himself against the glare, and dies.

A new Prometheus, chained upon the rock
Still grasping in his hand the fire of love
it does not hear the cry, nor heed the shock
but hails the mariner with words of love.

Sail on!” it says: “sail on, ye stately ships!”
And with your floating bridge the ocean span;
Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse.
Be yours to bring man nearer unto man.

The Lighthouse
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Hat- World Market, Earrings- Made by me!, Blouse- Thrifted, Vintage, Skirt- Thrifted, Cardigan- Ann Taylor Loft, Tights and Booties- Target


In the last days of October we had some rather wonderfully gloomy days. Despite my love of the cold and layering, my wardrobe sorely lacks layer-able items. I guess living in a climate that is nearly always hot (we're in the upper 70's and low 80's this week) has conditioned my shopping to look for pieces that  are cool, lightweight, and can stand on their own. I guess that's probably why I own more dresses than separates too. This isn't really a problem until we finally get some coolish weather (the nights have been getting really cold! Like down to the unheard of 30's!) and I just stare at my closet for an hour and sigh. When I'd like to be wrapped in woolen fisherman's sweaters and thick skirts, with sensible in the rain boots and thick stockings, I have to settle for a cotton blouse and skirt, old cheap patterned tights, and highly impractical booties.



Funnily, even though I sloshed this together last minute, and left my house feeling pretty annoyed with my wardrobe, I actually really ended up liking this outfit quite a bit. One of the things I decided to take cue from this autumn and winter was Late Victorian and Edwardian Maritime clothing. I mentioned before how much all things naval/nautical/aquatic fascinates me (even though the idea of going diving gives me a panic attack!), and to be honest, I'm always looking for ways to bring a little of that into my wardrobe. But for some reason something about this outfit said "Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter" to me. Which is probably ridiculous, and I'm not sure where I got that idea (probably my incredibly dour appearance, for which I apologize! I really wasn't unhappy!), but that's what I think every time I look at these photos. I get these images in my head of carrying stacks of wood and buckets of coal, surrounded by the bleak sea. Perhaps going to all those Lighthouses in Oregon as a child has finally gone to my head, but I really do like this kind of look. I've found though, that when an outfits has a "story" (even if it happens to be all in my head) I like it better. I guess it gives my clothes "character" :-). Now if only I could find me a proper fisherman's sweater...



November 14, 2010

Did It Myself: Luggage Makeover

One of the many things I love to collect are old suitcases. I find modern luggage utterly repulsive and refuse to use it. Of course being that I live in small quarters this does cause a problem with storage. I keep out of season clothes under my bed along with wrapping paper, and other than my closet there is no where else to store it. So all my luggage is stored on the shelf in my closet. It does serve a functional purpose holding odds and ends that have no other home. When I move (ha! sigh...), I plan on using it as furniture/storage, but for now it just sits there neglected wishing it got to travel more than it does. On Friday I went to a festival (post coming!) and I brought along all those reusable shopping bags that I store in my luggage (that should really be in my car!), so my suitcases were littering the ground, needing to be put away, but I decided I would procrastinate and play around online instead. It ended but being rather fortuitous!

Last night I was browsing one of my favourite photo groups on Flickr, Granny Chic, and saw this image. I actually squealed when I saw it! I even have an avocado green suitcase that was is need of some TLC. So last night I got together the things I would need and this morning I went at it.
Suitcase Makeover

You Will Need:
Suitcase Makeover
  • Suitcase
  • Scissors
  • Craft Spray Adhesive
  • "Clippings": I used scrapbooking paper from my stash, but you could just go through a magazine and clip out whatever catches your fancy!
  • Mod Podge
  • Ribbons/flat lace
  • Sponge/Sponge paintbrush
  • Damp rag

Suitcase Makeover

First I gave the suitcase a good cleaning with a damp rag and a little bit of soap. If the suitcase is in need of a little TLC and has scuffs or markings that won't come off, don't worry, you will cover these. Just make sure to get any dust or dirt off it so you have a nice clean surface.

Suitcase Makeover

Next I sprayed the surface with the spray adhesive. This is going to give you a base to stick everything to that is not permanent. If you put something on it and then don't like the placement, you can easily remove it without causing anything any damage.

Suitcase Makeover

Suitcase Makeover

Suitcase Makeover

Suitcase Makeover

After I applied a thin coat of the spray adhesive I placed my lace and ribbon on and then trimmed it to fit the curves of the case. Because I layered my laces I sprayed the adhesive over each layer so that the next would stick better. But do this very lightly!

Suitcase Makeover

Suitcase Makeover

Now comes the really fun part! Place your clippings as you see fit. These ones happen to be from a piece of scrapbooking paper that had all these old adds for resorts around the world. They reminded me of the stickers suitcases used to get at each place they were brought. 

Suitcase Makeover

Once you've got your layout, get your sponge/sponge brush and give everything a good coat of mod podge. This gives it a nice finish, secures your decorations, and gets rid of the tacky-ness of the spray adhesive. Make sure to cover your ribbons and/or lace too. Let dry and voila! Now you have a completely unique and beautiful suitcase! Just think of how envious all those ugly modern ones will be on your next trip!

Suitcase Makeover

November 3, 2010

Pyschology of Clothes


It may come as a surprise to some of you, but there are some things I am terrified to wear. Not many things, but some. Despite my ridiculous love of all things polka-dotted, they are something I have to force or remind myself to actually put on. I know I like to talk about my jeans-and-hoodie phase, but I've always had a rather eccentric sense of style, yet there are still some things out there that scare me to death to actually wear.

Dress- Thrifted, Cardigan- Target, Bag- Vintage, thrifted, Shoes- Old Navy

This dress is one of those. I bought it sometime in August or July even, with the intention of chopping it up and remaking it into something. It's 100% rayon, wonderfully soft, and I figured it would make a cute sundress. I didn't even try it on at the store because I really didn't care if it fit in it's original form. However once home I put it on and kind of fell in love with it. The only alteration was to remove the linebacker-esqu shoulder pads! My only thing about it is that it feels a little bold -even for me. My style as taken a very big change in the last few months, and I don't think I'm quite so bold in my clothing choices anymore. Even before, there were some things that I was terrified to wear, but now I feel like the things I choose are not quite so in your face. The eccentricities of my style are more subtle, softer, and are much less BAM! look at me! Maybe I've matured in my sense of what is cute/pretty/looks well on me versus what is just plain cookoo. Long story short though, I finally broke out this dress the other day.


Because of the boldness of it I wanted to keep everything else very simple and kind of toned down. I avoided adding my signature red but instead went with these maroon/rosy shoes and matching lipstick. These are some of my favourite shoes but they don't seem to match much in my closet. I even tried to tone it down with my hair. I've also realized that the rag curls I'd been doing each night were verging on costume. Besides I like my hair long and loosely curled. The faux bang thing is pretty exciting for me because this is only the second time I've gotten these to work! In the end I'm super happy with this look. It's the first outfit in a long time that I felt wonderful in from head to toe!


The funny thing is though, that as soon as I put everything together, the dress wasn't quite so scary. After months of hanging in my closet, looking at me with doe eyes, tempting my old brash style, I realized that the only reason I had been scared to wear it is because I had told myself I was scared to wear it. The dress is not scary at all. In fact it's probably one of the most flattering dresses I own. I hangs nicely, is a surprisingly good colour on me, has a flattering cut and at the end of the day was still very comfortable. And even after I removed the "softening" accessories, it still wasn't scary. It was just a dress, with a slightly bold-ish print, but one that I could totally pull off. I received more compliments on the ensemble than I have in months. Not that I haven't looked nice, or worn outfits that I really, really loved in those months, but maybe, just maybe, wearing something that I was scared of actually made me happier? Made me sassier? Made me hold myself differently? Maybe doing something that scares me, even if it's self delusional fear, makes me a better me.


I find that this is probably the best commentary for where I am in my life right now. I'm scared, and dreading tackling the things I'm scared of. I think in many ways I'd rather be a quiet shy person, than my true nature of someone with a megaphone for a mouth and zero inhibitions. I'd rather be a sweet, gentle person, rather than the slightly cynical, takes no crap person that I really am. I want to be timid.


Which is just plain stupid for me. I'm not timid, nor am I shy. I am the girl in the checkout line who holds everything up because the cashier and I have become best friend in the last minute and a half. I am the girl who will walk up and just start talking to you for no apparent reason. I'm the girl who after a five minute conversation you know pretty much my whole life's story. I stick my tongue out at my teacher's backs, and I can't wear stockings without getting a run in them. I'm not graceful, nor am I all too very elegant. I'm not afraid to get dirty. I'm the girl who puts popcorn in the microwave for too long at work and then when it starts to smoke because it's on fire, I try to blow the smoke back into the kitchen so it doesn't set off the fire alarm. I'm the girl that set off the fire alarm and the whole building was evacuated while I was still at the scene trying to blow the smoke away. I'm a klutz, I'm accident prone, I'm a little rough around the edges. I'm oddly patient, yet terribly anxious. I've seen all the wonders in life, and all the horrors. I've watched people die, and I've watched people be born. I've had to stand up and be strong. I had to learn how to cry in front of people. I'm the one people go to when they need a shoulder, and I am really freaking good at talking people out of suicide. I've been depressed, and elated. I'm terribly lazy, except for when I get a burst of motivation and surprise everyone. I don't know all that I can do, but I know I can do it all. I like to say that there are two different people in me, Bold, I don't care what you say Ashley, and Sweet, oh don't worry about me Ashley. But truth be told, they are really just different facets of one person who has been fearfully and wonderfully made to be an utter ball of nut-casery and confusion. And I like it. Guys, I like me.


Is it weird that wearing one dress made me realize all this? Probably. Though I think the truth is that it wasn't just the dress. It was many other things that made me question why I was ever afraid to wear the dress in the first place. Was the dress a metaphor? Was it a self fulfilling prophecy? Or was it just a dress that I happened to shy away from because of other things going on in my life? Who knows! But I completely believe that the things we put on  our body are a representation of who we really are. Every single person who reads this will understand that what you wear is deeply connected to your self esteem, self image, and self love. I mean when we're having a bad day, we go for ugly clothes to fit our ugly mood, unless we say "No! By George, I am going to at least look great today!" And we all know that our day turns around. How you present your self on the outside reflects how much you like yourself on the inside. When I dress sloppy, I feel sloppy. So maybe wearing a bold dress just brought out my true nature, but the facts are these: I like being me and I wouldn't want to be anyone else. And everyone deserves a few days of feeling pretty awesome, of having no fears, of being happy just to be themselves. Today I'm pretty stoked to be Ashley, even if my eyes are too small, and my nose is too pointy, and my feet are too big. They're my eyes, nose and feet, and I love them. If for no other reason than because they're mine.


So dear polka-dotted dress, I'm not afraid of you anymore. In fact, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

November 2, 2010



Friday morning I decided my original plan was not going to work so I bought a wig to go along with my new costume plan. I think I look eerily like Hannah Montana (which was not the backup costume). As it turned out I woke up Saturday determined to go with the original plan even though I still hadn't drafted the pattern for the skirt.... But plow through I did, and I am so, so, so, so very happy with the end result!





My hair came out great too! I set it specifically to fit with the cap, which I also made! This was actually very simple! I had done a lot of research on the caps and found a picture of one laying flat and based mine after that. It was basically a square cut diagonally at the corners of one side. I folded the corners in, trimmed them and stitched them down. The real deal uses buttons to attach the ends together, but I sewed on some snaps instead. Then I cut the top flap/peak part and stitched that to the main body. The velvet and gold trim I hot glued for time's sake. After that all I had to do was finish the edged and voila! Nurse's cap! I may end up doing a tutorial (since NONE EXIST!) at some point if y'all are interested!


The skirt is a tad too big (the pattern still needs adjusting), but otherwise it is perfect! Maaaaybe not quite so accurate, but people got it and were very impressed with the fact that I made it! So it was pretty exciting!! The blouse by the way was a way too big for me Men's dress shirt from Goodwill. I simply detached the sleeves, took in the sides and yoke, trimmed the collar, gathered the top of the sleeves, re-attached them, and voila! I was really afraid it was going to look dumb on, but once I put the whole thing together, I was in love! I forgot to photograph it, but my stockings are the back seamed ones I wore here. I also bought a set of these Naval Nurse Corp. lapel pins on Ebay and the Nurse's pin as well. My shoes are from a great old lady shoe store online called My Favorite Shoe Store. Trying to find WWII style nurse's shoes in a ladies size 10 is not fun. They do not exist. So these, while not perfect, are as close as I could find. They're actually a bit off white too, but I quickly got over that fact! So in the end I was really, really happy with it!

Naval Nurse Corps.

What did you dress up as??
By the way, Californians, remember to vote today!!!
Prop 19!!!