Little Kumquats Give Away!


Little Kumquats was started by a couple of creative moms who found a welcome outlet in making unique clothing for their own little bambinos and, thanks to friends eager for clever, hand made baby gifts, turned it into a business.

Jessica Buck and Amanda Twilegar started stitching their one-of-a-kind tops and onesies May of 2012 to sell at local Farmer’s Markets in the La Grande area where the long-time friends could introduce their baby line to customers in person. The sales and feedback they got were exuberant so they just started sewing faster to keep up with demand! Soon a locally owned shop in Enterprise, Oregon wanted to carry the clothing and business by word of mouth kept them busy. Now, exactly when the two women find time to dream up their creations and whip them into reality is, of course once their toddlers are fast asleep for the night.

“We have found inspiration in books, pictures, children’s illustrations and food.” Jessica says, “Sometimes friends drop helpful hints too. We now both see potential and objects in fabric. So if either of us ever complements you on a top or shirt, it may be because we secretly want to ‘upcycle’ it!”

‘Upcycling’, a popular trend and friend to frugal creators, makes one more enjoyable step to the process. The two women love giving new life to used items by scouring shops for vintage fabrics, buttons and trim and Jessica once discovered at auction, an entire collection of beautiful, old, quilting fabric, lovingly saved over many years. She won the whole lot and put the scraps to use right away.

Little Kumquats is giving away two of their fabulous onesies! (One Jessica’s and one Amanda’s handiwork!)
Enter by doing ANY of the follwing (and of course comment below to tell us you did) :

1. Link this post on Facebook
2. Like this post on Facebook (see the handy button at top left corner of the post)
3. Like Little Kumquats on Facebook here
4. Email this post to a friend

Each option gets you an entry and there will be two winners! Winners can choose either boy or girl’s onesies in whatever size they’d like. Good luck, winner announced Monday October 1!

Caring About What You Wear


 

While not exactly vital and earth moving, fashion and the clothes we wear is a choice we make every day when we put something on. And how did that something end up in my closet? I chose it, I bought it, or I was given it, whichever; it is now in my closet, I own it; and I wear it- by choice.

“I’ve become impatient when people claim they don’t care about clothes. They still dress every morning, and if they are going to reject fashion, they still need clothes to show it,” Grant says. Even when we simply grab the same old jeans and t-shirt, we are making a choice, a choice to go with the same old.

The Thoughtful Dresser is not so much about what I should be wearing but about the thought, the relationship of clothing to our lives.

Don’t you have those certain clothes that when you put them on you know you are looking good, they make you feel more confident? So, why do I always revert right back to my jeans and a t-shirt? Probably because cleaning a toilet, doing laundry, sweeping a floor, creating a masterpiece are on my horizon for the day, along with a trip to town where the world will see me. The French, apparently, never step foot out of their homes- even to just dump the garbage- without making sure they are looking totally put together. It is certain that if you think you can just run to the store real quick in that grubby outfit, no make-up and your hair all a mess that that will guarantee you run into twelve people you wish you hadn’t on that particular day? It always works that way for me.

“This book’s modest intent is to liberate its readers from the doubts and uncertainties that beset them when they start thinking about clothes or, worse, talking about them, and someone pipes up that they should concern themselves with matters more significant, such as the fate of the planet. Or the war in Iraq. Or the collapse of the banks.”

The Thoughtful Dresser by Linda Grant is a look at why we wear what we wear and why we care so much… even when we pretend we don’t.

“We care about what we wear. If we don’t we are fools. Only babies don’t worry about what they look like, and only because no one has yet shown them a mirror.”

And what we wore at twenty-five can not be worn at fifty-five for a variety of reasons: we look like fools in it, we have a struggle with a body very different from the one of twenty-five years ago.

Grant writes of “clothes as text, clothes as narration, clothes as a story. Clothes as the story of our lives. And if you were to gather together all the clothes you have ever owned in all your life, each baby shoe and winter coat and wedding dress, you would have your autobiography.” Remember that favorite pair of jeans that fit perfectly, that dress, that skirt that always made you feel confident, the shoes you wore until they fell apart because they were perfect? They bring back memories of things and times that shaped who we are.

Fashion historian, James Laver produced an interesting chart of how a piece of clothing changes though the years- all except the denim jean which has remained a constant since its beginning in the California gold rush by a Jewish-German immigrant, Levi Stauss.

The same costume will be through the years:

Indecent… 10 years before its time
Shameless…5 years before its time
Outre (darling)… 1 year before its time
…. Smart…
Dowdy… 1 year after its time
Hideous… 10 years after its time
Ridiculous… 20 years after its time
Amusing… 30 years after its time
Quaint… 50 years after its time
Charming… 70 years after its time
Romantic… 100 years after its time
Beautiful… 150 years after its time

 

This little chart rings true when I consider my very stylish purple velvet hot pants with matching vest. Yep, there they are at the 20-30 year mark- between ridiculous and amusing.

Grant include some fascinating fashionistas and explains, for example, why Coco Chanel was such a revelation, why her little black dress- the one that has never gone out of style again- was such a bold statement. She gives us a fascinating look at Catherine Hill.

Catherine Hill’s long journey takes her from the concentration camp in Auschwitz to the front row at the best couture shows. Having arrived in Canada as a refugee after World War II an orphan without siblings or relatives her career in clothing and style began as a sales clerk in a department store. When the owner realized her forthright assurance of fashion she was sent to Europe as a buyer. Helping women with their style she would see a bad clothing choice and not wait for the client to come to see the error but instead quickly state, “You must take it off because it is not for you.” She became trusted. She succeeded and then opened her own store, Chez Catherine, where she discovered designers like Umberto Ginocchetti, Valentino, Versace, Ferre, Krizia and Armani.

“Caring about what you wear is one small but not entirely insignificant dimension of existence.” If you care the littlest bit, you will enjoy this book.

No Heat Hair Curling


 

Basically I have bad hair right now. (A trend in our family). So while it grows out, I’ve had to get creative. This is a pretty fun updo that results in wavy curls when you take it out. Often I put freshly washed hair (just a little damp still with some root pump and/or mousse) up in the morning and then take it out for the evening so it’s all curly.

Here’s a video to show you how. (And geesh, what an adorable blog)

I’ve also tried the three sock method, which also worked well and was surprisingly comfortable to sleep in. Attractive to sleep in? That’s another question. Zac kept asking, “So. . . what do you have against a curling iron?” Here’s how to do that.

 

On Monday I’m going to turn 25- in the salon. Hair and pedicure- hours of off-my-feet bliss. Deciding on a hair style always makes me feel crazy though. Here are some of my ideas, with help from a friend, so far.

Pinned Image

Pinned ImageMedium hair with long bangsMy best haircut was when I brought in a picture of Reece WitherspoonGot this done at Aveda, it rocked.

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Have you ever whacked off your hair short? And liked it? It's so tempting but scary.

 

 

 

Dressing for two, round three


Give away – - – Give away – - – Give away – - –  Give away – - - Give away – - - Give away 

This third pregnancy has really thrown me for a loop. I wasn’t puking every morning like with the other two, but the fatigue left me feeling like an 80 year old, moving about my day in slow motion and hitting the sack as soon as dinner dishes were done. Or before they were done. And the varicose veins were something I couldn’t have anticipated. The ugly threads down my legs that were starting to make themselves known at the end of Jude’s pregnancy hit me like a ton of bricks only two months along. I began my research in the world of compression hosiery and again, felt I’d advanced about 60 years in life. But there is hope for those of you who find yourselves in my same situation.

In the mail the other day, my latest purchase of leg attire showed up and I knew these were the ones I would have a hard time parting with when it came time for laundry. (We’re giving a pair away! See below for how to enter to win!)

The footless design means you aren’t limited to closed-toe shoes, which, in the summer is life-saving. Also they’re cute! Seriously! They are the most comfortable ones I’ve tried, with more cotton in the mix so they don’t snag so easily. Also, the panel on the front isn’t bulky like many designs, these are slimming instead of adding more inches to an area you just don’t need it. All in all, an essential for tired, swelling mom-to-be legs.

For a pair of more nylon-style hose for dressing up with a skirt and heels I recommend this brand. Take my advice and only hand wash, I learned the hard way.

Best of all, I’m finding the fashion options are quite good if you want to go the legging route.

These from Isabella Oliver 

 

I want this, from Heidi Klum’s collection,  pretty badly. It’s can be worn open or closed:

Lavish By Heidi Klum Long Sleeve Cascade Maternity Sweater

Lavish By Heidi Klum Long Sleeve Cascade Maternity Sweater

Of course you can always skip over to an old time favorite brand that isn’t specifically maternity. I found the most beautiful blouse at Anthropolgie that had plenty of room for me and a bambino too in the folds of colorful floral fabric.

 

 

Other things that caught my eye:

 

So, tell me, what are/were your maternity fashion must haves, secrets, and best buys?

To Enter the give away:

Just share this link on facebook, email or your blog, each time you share the link, you’ll get another entry, so start sharing! Let us know you did in a comment below. Contest ends in one week, winner announced Monday August 29. Good luck!

Packing for San Francisco


In anticipation for my upcoming trip to San Francisco, I thought I’d put together some of the outfits I think I’ll be packing in my suitcase.  I have my fingers crossed for good weather.  Because San Francisco is on the bay they have a funny weather system and their nicest months are September, October, and November.  So I hope, I hope, I hope.

These shoes will be taking me all over San Francisco.

 

They are super comfortable. I know I copied you, Erin. But I know they're good because Erin wore them all over Turkey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surprising Swimwear


I was searching for swimwear for Valiant on-line (I’m about to file a sexual discrimination lawsuit after going into several large stores and finding NOTHING in the boy’s section but about 55  good options in the girl’s section) when I ran across these.

Pretty good styles I thought.

But here’s the surprising part: none of these will run you over $35.  And even more surprisingly, here is where they came from.

Now I know pictures can be deceiving, so I’d be curious if anyone has actually bought any of their bathing suits and could weigh-in on whether they are even worth trying out.

My What Not to Wear


For decades I have squeamishly but with eventual relief, chosen to go through the humiliation of having my daughters help me weed through my wardrobe.  They sit on my bed while I pull out all the clothes I own and they  laugh and guffaw over them as I throw them into a heap to get rid of.  Fun.

With just a day to go before Erin went home, we did the ritual.

A few of the items  were very quickly breezed by because I knew they would pass the “keep” test.  Then the hard work began.  These two ruthless women  immediately went into fits of laughter and said things like, “Mom, those shoes look like they’re made of foam.”  I took that to mean they looked extremely comfortable and perfect for very long walks in the city.  But the sentence ended with, “Get rid of them!”

The dress with just the slightest bit of puff to the sleeve and tad bit of frill to the hem line was deemed totally inappropriate for me. A favorite white jean jacket was mercilessly ridiculed, “If dad one day owns a motorcycle shop and you were to work there, then you could wear that. After reviewing about 79 t-shirt-type tops they freely informed me that if I never ever bought another t-shirt again, I would do well, “And no woman should ever wear t-shirts with beer logos on them.”  The Moose Drool shirt I insisted was only for painting in hit the discard pile.

Meghan disdainfully picks up my purse, “I’m pretty sure that’s plastic.”

And I defensively answer, “But I bought it from a nice store in Boston.”

Undeterred she retorts, “But it’s plastic.  And it’s falling apart.”

One last valiant effort, “I spent good money on that purse!”

And then Erin kinda does me in with, “It looks like a yellow hot dog bun hanging from two strings,” as she tossed it towards the growing pile.

You have to be a very strong, confident woman to go through this sort of thing.  In the end, 33 tops, 8 jackets, 15 pairs of pants, 18 pairs of shoes, 4 purses, not to mention the number of skirts and dresses were bagged up to go away.  I did manage to squirrel away the yellow purse when they weren’t looking, so make that 3 purses.

Apparently when I’m unsupervised I buy animal prints.  I love animal print.  Animals and their skins never go out of style.  Seriously, do animals ever say, “I am so over with the leopard thing all over my body?”  Apparently too, a person can have too much animal print clothing in their closet.

After all this hard, hard work we went shopping and here are a few before and afters and what I learned:

The wide leg on these cropped pants and the frumpy fit of the jacket all have a “widening” effect (not to mention the clunky sandals).

The fitted jacket and slim lines of these pants as well as the more delicate shoes all help to make the outfit more flattering.  The pants are still cropped, which some people would say a shorter person should never wear, but because they are just barely cropped and narrow I can still get away with them.

The length of this skirt is about right for me but other than that, this outfit has nothing going for it.  The top is too big, the crew-style neckline is all wrong for my face and the colors are bland.

The bold print of this herringbone was a satisfying compromise from animal print, and again it’s well-fitted, classy and slimming.

I love this jacket!  The white flecks are actually metalic and the detailing on the buttons and pockets is wonderful.  It’s slightly cropped which is good for my shorter height and very short upper body.  The two-thirds sleeves are vintage-looking and the whole thing has what Meghan described as a Coco-Chanel-look.

Ahhhhh….  What can I say? Mom Jeans.  They could make anyone look like they had a kangaroo pouch.  Crew neck on the tank again.  You really have to see the fabric on this shirt to appreciate cheap and spandexy it looks.

I’m not necessarily advocating bare arms on a woman my age but if I were going to wear a tank top, this would be it.  The entire top of the shirt is finely beaded in a thousand tiny, coppery baguette beads which makes it dressy, while the the fabric is a tee-shirt material which helps dress it down.  Even if I never wear it alone this will be a versetile shell under anything.  And the fit of the jeans is much better (I had some professional help at Gap picking them out.)

This was just a bad idea.

Fit is key.  This dress has some stretch to it is made from a light-weight denim material which keeps it from being too formal for every-day church attire.  The criss-cross piecing of it is also flattering to the figure.

Annnndddd drum roll please! Here is the pile……

Here it is.

Spring Hats


This week I got on a hat kick. Or maybe it was a hat frenzy. It was brought about, first of all, because in over three months I hadn’t held an article of attire in my hands, considering buying it, feeling it, checking the price tag, trying it on and I felt starved for the experience. So my sister-in-law, friend and I paid a visit to Carla at Jinglebob’s and begged her to let us in. She isn’t open during the winter months (oh wait, is it spring now? I hadn’t noticed due to the fact that I can’t see out my windows for the blizzards) but  we knocked on her door and asked if she could please come out and unlock the shop so we could just look and feel things and maybe,  she might possibly have a hat or two suitable for an Easter Sunday outfit . She did.

Nothing like the inside details of vintage pieces.

 

This one needs a little cleaning up but I still love it.

Is the brim supposed to be ripply?

I said it was a hat “frenzy” and I meant it. Lo and behold, I saw this old Effanem wool cloche hat at my 25cent store and brought it home. Who buys three hats in one week??? I don’t even have any experience in wearing hats. But I keep reminding myself of what Mimi says: “Wear a hat or wear hair, not both!” By which she means, tuck your hair behind your ears, and out of your face so you don’t look buried in head decor. We’ll see if I can figure it out.

Just Say No to Looking Like an American in Europe


A long time ago when I was in Europe, all the women there were wearing beautiful scarves.  In fact you could easily spot the American tourist for her lack of scarf.  That and the sneakers.

Here we are years later and scarves have caught on big time here.

Andrew bought me this one at Seattle Children’s Hospital.  There are an assortment of people who set up their wares for a few days every month and on any given day you just don’t know who will be selling what.  One day it might be leather purses, another day hand knit animal themed baby hats , and yet another day hand crafted jewelry.  It is a delight to go up there in a spare minute just for the splash of color.

I am glad we were there on the scarf day.  I think scarves are terrific in winter but also for that transition to the early spring temperatures.

And if you ever head to Europe, nix the sneakers but take the scarf.

Party Red


J Crew model

Seeing as the very red lips with the down played eyes is all the rage this season, I set out to find the perfect red color not too blue and not too orange and perfect for all those Christmas parties you have to attend.  After trying several tubes of lipstick, I found one that I love and think would work wonderfully on most skin types.  It’s by Rimmel and is called Alarm. Most drugstores should sell it and for a mere four and a half bucks, how can you go wrong?

Rimmel Red

Fall Sweater


 

I love this little sweater on Fox.

I have to admit I took the pictures more so I could remember the sweater once he outgrows it.

But I guess the little boy in the sweater turned out pretty cute too.

Oh How I Love Surprises!


Oh, how I love fall especially when Eric comes home with a little treat for me- the J Crew coat I had been pining away for.  Yep, he surprised me with it and it is just as beautiful as I could have hoped.

The great thing about J Crew is that even the details are lovely.  The wonderful mushroom colored lining and little chain make me happy every time I put the coat on.

Bling


My good friend Rachel just visited from Seattle and brought along a hostess gift to die for. She found it on her travels in California at a place called, Francesca’s Collections. As she said, horrible name, but amazing boutique!

I’ve hardly taken it off my finger, except to wash dishes and photograph it.

Vintage Outfits


I promised to post the outfits I scored at Jinglebobs and I didn't forget, it just took me awhile. The shirt and belt I already owned but I bought the skirt. I'm into pencil skirts right now. All my A-line skirts have been remade into pencil skirts.

I thought this was a fun little number that I think the owner said was from the '60's.

The blouse is Anthropologie and the skirt is Jinglebob's. I'm pretty sure that it's dupioni silk and I really love the acid yellow color.

Jinglebob’s


I can’t remember who first introduced us to Jinglebob’s Vintques, but whoever it was, I’d like to shake  her hand. And buy her a drink. And maybe a really nice car too.

Jinglebob’s was top on our list when Meghan and Taite came to visit the other week, Meghan was looking for pencil skirts, Taite just wanted something that would fit (she’s in that pesky in between size- not a kid, but not grown up yet either), and I wanted some colorful things for summer. All of us came away with a hefty addition to our wardrobes, and I’m not going to name numbers here, but you might drool on your computer a bit if you knew how little we spent. Jinglebob’s really is the best bargain I’ve ever found in vintage fashion. Clothing of less quality will sell for twice the price in Seattle.

Now, you do have to get over the idea that someone else once wore these things, but let me quote this wonder of a book “The Little Guide to Vintage Shopping” on the subject of old clothing:

( This book is a ton of fun, my mom gave it to me in my stocking last Christmas and of course you kind find it online, here)

“[Modern] Manufacturers also increasingly rely on spandex-infused fabrics to eliminate the need for a range of sizes, opting instead for the catchall S-M-L. But unless you have a perfect body, stretch alone will never replace a decent fit. Without proper proportions and well-placed seams, shoulders will strain or droop, necklines will gape, waist and bust-lines will ride up or fall down. Vintage clothing by contrast was made in all kind of sizes for the mature figure. With such a range, you’re bound to find nice-fitting clothing in vintage.”

I’ve really found this to be true and because of the superior quality, I’m amazed at what good condition the clothing is in even if it’s 60 or 70 years old. Besides that, there is something pretty wonderful about knowing no one else will be wearing that delicate 1950′s sun dress this summer but you. Even if you decide the Rothschild sorbet orange wool coat really isn’t you after all, you can usually re-sell things easily at stores or online. After one winter in said coat I re-sold it to a vintage store in Seattle for almost what I bought it for.

If you love finding designer pieces and high end vintage fashion,  here’s a great resource for researching brands and the history of different labels. The Vintage Fashion Guild online.

The shop owner is your best friend, ask her for help and you won't be disappointed. She has an incredible eye for what will look good on you.

Half the fun is poking though all the clothes that she has. Some things are hillariously funny and worth trying on even if you'd never buy them. You might even be suprised.

It's not just clothing she has but also vintage purses, books, hats, decore and even this darling swim cap. (I wanted to buy it as a hat but couldn't hear a blasted thing with the rubber over my ears!)

Perfect for a wedding I think.

The details on some of the vintage dresses is just beautiful.

Meghan desperately wanted this little '50's housewife dress to fit, but alas, both our ribcages were just too big.

The dress had embroidered roses all along the bottom. Really, it was quite adorable.

Are you a vintage junkie or an energetic novice to old clothing shopping? We want to hear about your shops for finding the best out there! (That is of course, if you are willing to share your secrets. . . . ) East coast or west, tell us about your favorites!

Free is a Very Good Price


Don’t miss out on the FREE tie for some little guy in your life!

Just leave a comment on the post and you may be able to dress up a little man in your life.  Chances end on Thursday.

We ordered a tie from Arrayed et Adorned for Matthias's Pipe & Drum uniform. (Matt's a drummer and that's a kilt he's wearing)

Dreaming of Stripes


 

Anwyn kindly modeled my new branch necklace.

I'm thinking this will be perfect with a white tank or t-shirt. This is my bit of spring I can wear now without freezing.

I’m excited for my spring wardrobe to come out.  Usually what happens is that the weather teases me for about a week, and I think that winter is over so I pull out all my spring things just in time for the temperature to drop about ten degrees and I am left freezing cold and wishing for a thick wool sweater that has now been packed away.  But boy I sure look like it should be spring! 

So, I am making myself wait and to tide myself over until then I have magazine clippings all over my walls of tanks and cardigans in navy, red or buttery yellow stripes because more than anything I want to add stripes to my closet.  The fault is all Coco’s.

This past weekend, my mom, sister and I watched Coco before Chanelwhich I thought was a perfectly delightful movie (though I think Caitlin thought it got to be a bit slow.)  In one scene, Coco is dressed in fisherman’s stripes and that was it.  I have been seeing and dreaming stripes ever since.  Really, who wouldn’t want to be as classy as Coco?

Little Black Dress


Designer Jeans sale


- It’s time to give the rest of your wardrobe a run for its money –

 

Shop Mapel offers 2 fabulous reasons to Make the Rest of Your Closet Jealous.

ShopMapel.com is offering 25% off all full priced Premium Denim, choose from 7 For all Mankind, Joes Jeans, Citizens of Humanity & more

during our Make the Rest of Your Closet Jealous Sale. In addition to deep discounts on sought after denim Shop Mapel is

giving away a FREE Stevie Wrap (in our newest color Stone) with every denim purchase.

As always Shop Mapel offers FREE Priority Shipping and our signature chocolate truffle with every web order.

Sale ends Sunday.  Mention Pinkpeppers with your purchase AND don’t forget you are automatically entered to win a Stevie wrap with your denim purchase.

New Life for an Airline Bag


We had a perfect girl-y Saturday last week. Aileen, our friend Yvette, Freyja, and I skibbled around town to all our favorite vintage shops in Seattle looking for anything that might catch our eye.

The number one treasure trove  of  the day was Red Light in Capitol Hill (312 Broadway Ave. East, Seattle WA 98102). We all scored a find or two, I think each of us got a dress. (I’ll make Aileen put a picture of hers up on the blog– it was so amazing. It was the sort of dress that threatens to break loving sister-ly relationships)

After missing out on the dress, my heart skipped a beat when I saw —  peaking out of a bin of bags, wallets, and purses– this amazing thing of beauty!

Behold, my new diaper bag!

I wondered what the “SAS” stood for and when I got it home to give it a good clean up, I vacuumed out the pockets and found all this:

A 10 cent postage stamp

Cosmetic wipes that say “happy landing”

A little plastic airline wings pin

And a  grocery receipt that shows bread cost 98 cents

I imagine this bag belonged to a flight stewardess named. . . Jeanette, and guessing by the mini loaf she purchased, I think she was on her own, unmarried, unattached, just traveling from one city to the next, without her own bathroom to wash her face in at night. She was writing letters everywhere she went though, to. . . her 14-year-old niece, Kimberly, and from her postage stamp, I know the year was 1968. She was a  Jackie O wannabe in terms of fashion, she couldn’t stand the Beatles and she thought the musical, Hair which  she got to see on an evening lay-over in New York, was highly over-rated.

Her bag ended up in Seattle when she left it at a hotel by accident. Thankfully, it wasn’t her daily bag so it didn’t have her wallet in it, just a few things she’d never miss.

And now the bag is sitting in my bedroom, it’s various roomy pockets (all the zippers and snaps still work) are perfect for its new calling in life.  And maybe some day, in years and years, its new owner will wonder what a few diapers and a pacifier and a receipt for bread that cost $4.50 are doing in an old airline bag.

That is, if I take as good care of the bag as Jeannette did.