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Velvet Colección–what I’ve been watching

The setting of the Netflix series, Velvet Colección, is a fashion design house in 1960s Barcelona.  The series is in Spanish.  I had several years of la clase de Español in school, but am not fluent.  I understand sporadic phrases supplemented by body language.  Regardless of the language barrier, I’m watching every minute of every episode because of the super cool 1960s dresses, the interior decor of the offices and homes, and the catchy music.

Velvet promo picture

Velvet Colección is a spin off of ‘Velvet‘, a series about a 1950s fashion design enterprise based in Madrid.

Velvet dress

The Velvet Colección story is one I’m sure I would enjoy, so I’m trying to follow as much of it as I can, despite the language barrier.  But, it’s the 1960s dresses, the decor and the music that keep me coming back to watch more episodes, to be inspired to make my own dresses reminiscent of that time.

Velvet setVelvet dresses

There are supposed to be three seasons of Velvet Colección.  According to Wikipedia they’re stopping at three.  Netflix is only offering Season 1 at the moment.  When I finish with Velvet Colección, I’m looking forward to watching Velvet, for lots of lovely 1950s fashion.

Velvet Colección links:

Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velvet_Colecci%C3%B3n

IMDB https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6762348/

 

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Dehydrating home-grown tomatoes; trying to speed things up.

Confession:  I don’t like fresh tomatoes very much, except in BLT sandwiches, which I love.  The tomatoes I grow are mainly for dehydrating, for using later in breads and other recipes.  This year I only grew one tomato plant.  It became huge (as in Little Shop of Horrors) but it took forever to start producing.  Then it started producing tomatoes like crazy.  The picture below is the yield from just one day.

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I let the tomatoes sit for a couple of days after picking, and then it was time to prep this batch for the dehydrator.  Normally I would hand-dice them.  Dicing the first batch is always fun, but after that, the dicing becomes drudgery.

This time, I tried speeding things up by using a hand-crank food processor.  I roughly cut the washed whole tomatoes into quarters, 8ths, and 12ths, depending on the size of the tomato.

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I put the large cut pieces in the processor, 2 – 3 tomatoes at a time.

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It took 40-45 turns of the hand crank.  After about 25 turns of the crank, the tomatoes were reduced down so that the rest of the cranks (15-20 more) were super easy.  IMG_20180930_111802484a

The result was small, rough chunks of tomato, similar to diced size, and a lot of liquid juice.  IMG_20180930_111924249a

I strained off most of the juice.

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Then spread the chopped tomatoes on the dehydrator sheets–using the sheets with mini perforations to hold small pieces of food.  [Tip:  I wipe the sheets with a trace of vegetable oil.  It makes the dehydrated morsels easier to remove from the trays.]

This batch of tomatoes only took two dehydrator trays.  If I had diced them by hand, they would have filled 4 – 6 dehydrator trays.

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The next step was to plug in the dehydrator and let it run for a few hours.  A batch is done when the tomatoes feel hard or rubbery, with no wet or squishy pieces.

The dehydrating process for this batch of tomatoes took about 6 hours.  By comparison, a batch of hand-diced tomatoes would have taken about 10 hours to dehydrate.

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The yield of this entire batch fit in an 8-oz jam jar.  By comparison, a similar number of hand-diced tomatoes that I dehydrated last week, filled a pint mason jar.

Jarred tomatoes

This batch yielded almost 4 cups of strained juice.  The juice is a bright red-pink color, which I suspect it is packed with Vitamin A and other nutrients.  Not wanting to discard all of that nutrition, I poured the juice into a muffin tin and froze it.  I’ll try substituting the juice for the liquid called for in bread recipes and Mexican and Italian dishes.  This will be something new, as I’ve used a lot of juices and wheys as substitute liquid in recipes with great results, but I’ve never tried it with tomato juice.  I’m curious to find out if the tomato juice adds an interesting, or weird flavor.

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Conclusion:  Using a food processor to chop the tomatoes is faster, but hand-dicing makes nicer looking pieces, and a bigger yield.

Post-script:  After I wrote this post, I had another nine tomatoes ripe and ready to dehydrate.  This time I tried an electric food processor.  That made a better consistency of chopped tomato than the hand-crank processor.  There was still a lot of liquid, though.

I also tried the immersion blender on a couple of the tomatoes.  That was a no-go; it instantly juiced them.

Mercury 13–what I’ve been watching

This week I watched the Mercury 13 documentary on Netflix.  It is about the thirteen woman astronauts who trained for the space program in 1961.

I tried to be inspired and not let myself be consumed with anger at the stories told in this documentary.  It wasn’t easy.  There were plenty of moments that moved me to tears, at how these brilliant, accomplished aviators and scientists were trivialized and relegated to lesser status for being women.  They were put through more rigorous testing than the male astronauts, and scored better on some tests.  These 13 women qualified, but were banned from the missions to space.

Below is an excerpt from one of the woman astronauts’ testimony before Congress.  She used the exclusion of woman nurses from Civil War field hospitals as her example of why women should be allowed on space missions.

Mercury 13 testimony highlight

National hero John Glenn then testified, drawing laughter from the senators when he said he would welcome qualified women astronauts with ‘open arms’.  Then President Johnson ended the women astronaut program, saying, “We have to shut this thing down.”

More reading:

The IMDB listing.  https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8139850/ 

Wikipedia page.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_13

 

A free afternoon in Fort Worth–a treat for my inner cowgirl.

The day after the ELO concert in Dallas last month, my train wasn’t scheduled to depart from Ft. Worth until 5pm.  I opted to spend the afternoon in Ft. Worth, so on checking out of my hostel, I caught the TRE commuter train from Irving back to Fort Worth.

Irving train stopTRE regional commuter train

In Fort Worth, I decided to visit the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame.  Feeling an acute need for exercise, I opted to get from the train station to the museum and back via Fort Worth’s bike share.  There was a bike share hub at the train station and one at the museum complex.  Good job, Fort Worth!  All went smoothly with the bike checkout process.

Bike share RSR

Google mapped the bike route for me.

Fort Worth Bike Ride

The bike was a joy to ride.  It was easily adjustable, and had no mechanical issues.

Bike RSR

It was a mostly-flat, pleasant 3.1 mile ride each way.

 

 

National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame

The cowgirl museum was wonderful.  Part of it is under renovation and closed to visitors until February 2019.  This means I will want to go back and see the rest.  But the exhibits I did see gave me a badly-needed cowgirl ‘fix’ for now.  I could have stayed there all day.

Leather culottes and gauntlets a

I love the way they posed this mannequin and draped her red jacket.  It’s as if she just got up after being thrown and is walking back to her horse.

Red jacket and leather culottesGloves a

Leather sleeve cuffsBracelet a

Annie Oakley’s wedding ring!

Annie Oakley wedding ring a

 

“Ride the range all the day till the first fading light,
be with my western girl round the fire, oh, so bright.
I’d be the Indians friend, let them live to be free,
ridin’ into the sunset, I wish I could be.”

 

Can you handle more from the cowgirl museum?  They have an amazing collection of historic western-themed Hermes scarves.

Hermes1Hermes2Hermes3

This scarf, wow.  Here is the center motif of an awards themed scarf that seemed to spoof the Oscars.  It was quite an entertaining thing to study.

Hermes4

Hermes4a

After finishing up at the Cowgirl museum, I still had more time for sightseeing, so I went next door to the Fort Worth Science and History Museum.

In their huge lobby, they have a beam from one of the World Trade Center towers.

9-11 beam 1 a9-11 beam 2 a

The beam towered over the lobby.9-11 beam 3 a

They had a great section on Energy, which I enjoyed so much I forgot to take pictures.

They had a large Cattle Raisers exhibit, which was an excellent complement to the Cowgirl Museum.

Longhorns a

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Lastly, they had a Grossology exhibit, on human body functions.  The irony about this is that I took a head cold home with me from the trip.  Ugh.  I was pretty much like this guy for the next week.

Snot spigot a

When I’d finished at the museums, bike share got me back to the Ft. Worth Intermodal Transportation Center, where I would await my Amtrak train.  They had some neat things to see at the station:  An old Fort Worth commuter train car.

Ft Worth trolley a

A series of history-telling tile murals.

Ft Worth ITC murals

Back in the lovely old train station, I reclaimed my bag from the luggage storage service, drank a delicious milk from Subway, and waited the last few minutes before boarding my Amtrak train.

Some Fort Worth tips I picked up:

  • The Fort Worth Intramodal Transportation Center is the Ft. Worth hub for all transit–Amtrak, the TRE, trolleys, buses, and bike share.  Darn handy.
  • I originally booked Amtrak all the way from OKC to Dallas Union Station and back.  Turns out I only needed Amtrak between OKC and Ft. Worth.  Between Ft. Worth and Dallas, the TRE was the way to go.
  • By cancelling the Ft. Worth – Dallas – Ft Worth portions of my Amtrak ticket before those departure times, I was credited that portion of my Amtrak fare, to apply to future Amtrak travel.
  • The museums I visited are all at the Ft. Worth Stock Show complex.  The complex was easy to get to by bike, and offered lots to do in one spot.  The Botanical Gardens and Trinity Park are also adjacent to the complex.

ELO via Amtrak

In August I traveled to Dallas to see a Traveling Wilbury and his Electric Light Orchestra.

As it should be, ELO’s full sound filled the huge American Airlines Center arena.  The light show was the most extravagant and spectacular that I’ve seen; as it should be for a band called the ‘Electric Light Orchestra’.  There was no bad seat in the house.  There was no empty seat in the house, either.

ELO crowd

My seat was in the nosebleed section, which was fine for ELO’s show only because their sound and lights filled the arena spectacularly, as I knew they would.  The songs were all familiar.  The entire concert was a big, fun sing-a-long with the band and 20,000+ of their biggest fans.

 

Me-made concert outfit (partly):

I’d packed my fun green reflective bicycling dress to wear to the concert.

 

But as I was getting ready for the show, practical considerations won out.  I was going to have to walk 1/2 mile from my lodging to the TRE transit shuttle that drops off at the concert arena.  I didn’t want to make that trek both ways in a dress with wedge sandals; the return trip in the dark.  So, I opted for a pair of knee-length shorts, flat sandals, and this comfortable floral blouse that I recently made and wrote about last week.

ELO outfit RSR

The blouse has just one reflective bit… the button in the back.  So, anyone sitting behind me who tried to take a flash picture, may have gotten my button reflection instead of the stage.  But who in the nosebleed section uses flash at a concert?  Probably no one.

Back closureBack closure reflection

As for the concert, it was a lovely, lovely night.  Everything was perfect.  (Except for the guy sitting next to me, who had pulled up an ELO set list on his phone, and kept announcing what song was coming up next.  Grrr.)  But this guy below sure didn’t bother me.  The crowd all around me was really into the show, which made it that much more fun.

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For the best sampling of Jeff Lynne’s current ELO live show, I recommend the “Wembley or Bust” live CD-DVD set.  I ordered it after I got home, and am quite glad I did.

 

Travel and lodging

The drive to Dallas for me is a straight 6-hour shot down through the middle of Oklahoma, all on Interstate-35.  It’s a boring and crowded highway.  There was a lot of rain in the forecast too, which I didn’t relish driving in.  My solution was to drive to Oklahoma City and then take the Amtrak ‘Heartland Flyer’ the rest of the way.  Turns out it is a scenic, relaxing train ride.

Pauls Valley train stationPauls Valley downtownOklahoma scenery2

Ardmore stationGainesville station

The night of the concert, I stayed at a hostel in Irving.  This was my first-ever stay at a hostel in the US.  I booked the hostel through Hostelworld.  The girls’ room in the hostel slept 6.  When I checked in, the three bottom bunks had already been spoken for.  So this was my view from the top. 🙂

Hostel room

I enjoyed chatting with several fellow hostel guests, who were all passing through the DFW area for their own various  reasons.  I loved the hostel stay, better than a sterile, isolating hotel room.  The hostel was an easy walk to and from the commuter train station, where the TRE train took me straight to the concert venue–the American Airlines Center arena.

Irving train stop

TRE regional commuter train

The next day, I took the TRE back to Fort Worth, where after an afternoon of sightseeing, I boarded Amtrak for the trip back to OKC.  Ft Worth station sign

Here’s the ‘Heartland Flyer’ arriving in Ft. Worth to take us back to OKC.

Amtrak train approaching Ft Worth 2Amtrak train arriving Ft Worth

My departing view of Ft. Worth.Departing Ft Worth

Once the train was on its way, the cafe car opened.

Amtrak cafe car menu

For dinner, I ordered the spicy Buffalo chicken tenders and wine.  It hit the spot.  Each time I see this picture, I want that meal again.

Amtrak meal

Amtrak was also an excellent choice for the return trip, because the weather got severe as we progressed toward OKC.  Strong storms, heavy rains, tornado warnings and a massive area of flash flood warnings even caused all area trains to be ordered to shut down on the track to wait for a bad cell to pass.

Trip interrupted.

Our train arrived at the OKC station about 2 hours late, which meant I would be driving the rest of the way home after midnight, through flash flood warnings all the way.  Instead, I did a very adult thing (for me), and got a value-priced room in OKC for the night.  The storms had wreaked havoc with street lights in town.  It was a dark and eerie quiet drive from the Amtrak station to the hotel.

The hotel I chose is a huge once-fabulous sprawling complex.  As I was waiting my turn to check in, the old maintenance man told me stories about famous athletes and performers who had stayed there back in the day.  He and the hotel were absolutely charming.  The hotel lobby hints at its grand past.

Hotel lobby

The hallway leading to my room revealed that the hotel hadn’t fared so well during the storms.  They’d taken on some water.  Bags of concrete had been used as sandbags, doors were propped open for drying out, and carpet had been pulled and piled in the hallway.  I didn’t care because I was so tired.  I felt bad for the hotel.

Hotel door sand bagHotel water damage

My room was nice and comfortable for the price, but when I ventured over to the door that opens out to the courtyard, I discovered the carpet along that outside wall was wet and squishy.  I didn’t care.  I was tired, and I wasn’t going to need to go out that door anyway.

Wet carpet

In the bathroom was a relic from its past as a luxury hotel–the toilet telephone.  It still works.

Bathroom phone

The next morning, I got up well-rested, and drove home.  There were places on the interstate where flood water had obviously been up on the road.  Staying in OKC had been the right thing to do.

Now, back to the Traveling Wilburys for a moment:

A fellow music lover told me that the Wilburys had intended to keep getting together to make music from time to time, and to possibly add new members.  So I’m thinking, should Jeff Lynne and Bob Dylan convene the next generation of Wilburys?  Who should the new band members be?  Should their music follow the same style and formula as the original Wilburys?  The departed original members can’t be replaced or mimicked.  But do it right and their spirit will be there with the new guys.  I have a few ideas of who should join Jeff and Bob and make some new Traveling Wilburys music.  I’ve grouped them in threes, to keep the band at five members:

Option 1:

  • Robert Plant
  • Gillian Welch
  • An Avett brother

Option 2:

  • Lindsey Buckingham
  • Dhani Harrison
  • Carlene Carter

Most of these are really huge stars, so why would they want to do it?  Well, you don’t get much bigger than Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and a Beatle, so the standard has been set.

From the stash: Sleeveless floral blouse-skirt duo

This floral cotton-spandex resided in my stash for several years, because I loved it so much I didn’t want to make it into something that turned out to be a disappointment.  …

Sleeveless blouse and skirt fabric RSR

I finally settled on a sleeveless blouse-skirt combo, i.e., a 2-piece dress.  The outfit is devoid of embellishment, and has no decorative features at all.  My plan was to start with the most basic garments and add to them as necessary for aesthetics or function.  To my surprise, the basic un-embellished duo became one of my favorite go-to outfits this summer.

Sleeveless blouse and skirt

For a pattern, I traced a simple, old linen blouse in my closet.  The only change I made was to slightly indent the side seams at the waist.

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The blouse slips over the head, and has a button-loop closure in the back.  I used a reflective fabric covered button.

 

The skirt is a simple rectangle, seamed up the back, slightly tapered at the waist, with an elastic casing.

Skirt

I lined the blouse and skirt with cotton percale sheet fabric.  The lining is super comfortable in hot weather, and adds just a smidge more body to the garments.

Lining

This turned out to be the kind of simple outfit that sneaks up on you and becomes the thing you wear everywhere.  I’ve worn this outfit when bicycling, to the office, to meet friends for dinner, and to the ballpark.  I wore the blouse to a big-time concert last month with a pair of khaki shorts.  (More on that to come.)  The outfit basically goes anywhere.  It’s been excellent for road trips and travel.  This simple duo is going to end up in my personal little dress hall of fame.

Here it is with a 10+ year old hand-embroidered Putumayo sweater that I thought was inching closer to the donation box.  Not anymore.  It’s part of the ensemble now.

Sweater2

With Autumn arriving in a week, I already miss wearing this outfit.  I’m considering making another version in fall colors, with simple 3/4 sleeves.

 

 

Dressmaking and Tailoring class 1937

Inside this old loose-leaf cover is my Grandma’s workbook from the tailoring and dressmaking college she attended in Kansas City in 1937, after graduating high school.

Tailoring class notebook a w RSR

There are some large, printed base patterns and instructions.  Here is one complete unfolded sheet:

Pattern full sheet

And now some close-up details:

We’ve got the name of the college.

Label a w RSR

And a statement about the badassery of women in dressmaking, tailoring and pattern making.

Dressmaking pattern quote RSR

Clear instructions and diagrams for taking measurements.  Lots of measurements.

Measuring points diagram 2 RSR

Instructions for Taking Measures a RSR

After the students took their own detailed measurements and recorded them in the notebook, they made their own base pattern.

The big sheets spell it all out in diagrams and lists.   Here is the tight-waist blouse base pattern:

Side bodice

Sweeping lines diagram

The list of measurements in this piece:

IMG_20180826_141850821 a RSR

Then the step-by-step drafting instructions:

Bodice pattern instructions RSR

After mastering the pattern drafting, the class turned to incorporating different styles into the basic pattern.

They made miniature to-scale paper patterns of different skirt, blouse and sleeve styles.  There are pages and pages of examples of clothing styles, drafted into miniature paper patterns.  They started with simple skirt styles, and then got more complicated.

Two Skirts RSR

Flared skirt with v waist panel RSR

Skirt with 4 inch flares RSR

Then they moved on to bodices.

Pintuck bodice RSRSlash and gather waist RSR

This one below, with the curved inset is my current fave and the one I want to try for myself.  I’m not sure there is enough muslin in this city for all of the mistakes I’ll make, but I’ve got to try it.

Curved waist inset RSR

How do you draw all of these to-scale patterns?  With a miniature to-scale ruler and curve, of course.

Ruler and French Curve a RSR

Fast-forward 20 years, during which my Grandma got married, had two daughters, worked as a ‘Rosie’ at Pratt & Whitney while awaiting her husband’s return from WWII, had two sons, and in 1958,…she got her dream machine, the Slant-O-Matic 401A.

Fast forward another 20 years, when as a teen, I spent many hours at this machine learning techniques from her that still serve me to this day.

Fast forward another 40 years, and the machine is in my care now.  That is her balsa wood pin cushion in the picture foreground.  It’s an awesome pin cushion.  Those are her Wiss shears, too.  She taught me that there is no substitute for a big pair of precisely-made, expertly-sharpened metal shears.  She’s still right.

Grandma's Slant-o-Matic RSR

 

 

The county fair and a campout

The night before my recent trip to the vintage clothing store, I went to the county fair.  I enjoyed looking at all of the hand crafted items, and home grown produce of the local 4-H’ers.

There were some excellent handmade garments on display, by teens and by grade schoolers.  To my distress, what you see here was all of the constructed garment entries this year.  This downtrend makes me want to stop what I’m doing and personally try to reverse the trend and bring young people into the wonderful world of sewing and handmade clothing.

DG County Fair garment construction teens

DG County Fair garment construction grade school age

There was beautiful home grown produce.

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There was gorgeous woodworking, and a fun repurposing challenge.

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The foods entries were great.  They had everything from breads and baked sweets to canned and dehydrated produce.  I was too busy admiring to remember to take a picture.

Over in the animal buildings, there were newly shorn sheep in fabulous jackets.  Two of my favorite jackets were the high necked trench coat and a fabulous hot pink number.  The sheep were quite friendly, too.

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As for the other animals, there was a handsome rooster that did a great cockadoodledoo, but refused to do a repeat performance for my camera.  There was a lovely dairy cow who looks great with purple accessories, a perfect pink pig that belongs in Charlotte’s Web, and a spotted pig on the loose, who had the prettiest floppy pig ears.

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It was demolition derby night, too!  This event was packed; standing room only.  This picture should come with sound.  The motors were loud, and the crowd roared with appreciation.

DG County Fair Demolition Derby

Campout!  

That night, hotel rooms in town were scarce and pricey, but that didn’t matter to me, because I’d opted to take advantage of the gorgeous weather forecast.  I packed my tent, chair, backpacking stove, and breakfast, for an overnight at the lake campground just outside of town.  The lake was a CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) construction project in the 1930s, and has been nicely preserved.  My siblings and I loved visiting this lake when we were growing up.  Point of trivia:  William S. Burroughs had a little cabin at this lake in the last years of his life.

On this particular night, my thirtysomething nephew came out with his lawn chair.  We sat and talked while looking out over the lake until 1am, mostly sharing fun memories about the lake and about our siblings, parents and grandparents.

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Four woman aviators; one with a side hustle as a designer

MARY ELLIS

Several times this summer, women aviators were on my mind.  Most recently, the news that Mary Ellis, one of the last living female WWII pilots has passed away.  This BBC article gives a summary of her wartime service and her life after the war, when she was put in charge of Sandown Airport on the Isle of Wight.

Woman WWII pilot

 

AMELIA EARHART

Amelia and I were born more than six decades, but only about 50 miles apart.  Hers was one of the first biographies I read as a young girl.

Amelia-Earhart-propeller a

Her accomplishments as an aviator are universally known.  But did you know:

  • She sewed her own clothes
  • She designed practical flying attire for women pilots, and
  • She launched her own line of women’s clothing designs.

Amelia Earhart Adjusting Sleeve

Amelia clothing line2

Amelia Earhart fashion label a

Amelia Earhart fashion magazine page5 a

She pioneered the use of ‘Lastex’ yarn, that may be a sort of precurser to the now-ubiquitous and indispensable Spandex.

amelia earhart vogue ad Lastex a

From the Merriam-Webster dictionary–“Lastex”:

Lastex definition from Merriam Webster

During the Great Depression, she made her designs available as sewing patterns.

Amelia Earhart patterns magazine article

It’s more well known that Amelia had a line of suitcases.

amelia-earhart-travel-luggage

 

 

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The suitcase line bearing her name continued after her disappearance.  Below is a May 1947 ad; ten years after her disappearance.

Amelia Earhart luggage ad 1947 a

Before she became a pilot, she served as a nurse during WWI.  During this duty, she contracted pneumonia.  The pneumonia treatment left her with a sinus injury that plagued her with headaches and other complications, requiring occasional treatment and hospitalization for the rest of her life.

Amelia Earhart WWI nurse

From the time I was little, she inspired me with her independence and determined character.

More reading about Amelia’s sewing and designing:

 

AMY JOHNSON

Amy was a British pioneer aviator.  I’d never heard of her until I one day looked up the meaning of Al Stewart’s song, Flying Sorcery.  Wow, what a lovely tribute.   Amy Johnson is another person I wish I could have known.  In 1930, she became the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.  She set other flight distance records as well.  Like Mary Ellis, she flew for England in WWII; ferrying planes to the war front.  While on one of her missions in 1941, she died in a crash in the Thames Estuary.  The circumstances of her crash have never been fully explained.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Johnson 

 

ONE MORE

So, why women aviators, and why now?  The answer is that on the same day I read the news about Mary Ellis’ passing, I was talking to an acquaintance who’s had a long career as an aviation engineer.  She casually mentioned being able to ‘cross another thing off her bucket list’.  That ‘thing’ was an emergency landing she’d made a few days before, while flying alone through rural Oklahoma.  (By crossing it off her bucket list, she meant she never wants to experience it again.)  She told the story calmly and technically, how the engine started acting up, so she maydayed the nearest manned air traffic control tower, which was an entire state away, in Fort Worth, TX.  The controllers stayed in continuous contact with her and talked her through the entire process.  Long story short, she safely landed at an unmanned airstrip in rural Oklahoma.  I was hanging on every word she said; my mouth probably gaping open in awe.  She immediately shot to the top of the list of women badasses I personally know.

 

Another trip to the best vintage clothing store ever.

It is probably a good thing this vintage clothing store is in my old home town, and not where I live now.  If it were closer to me, I’d have to build on a room addition just to hold my vintage purchases.  I was there earlier this month, and came home with four awesome dresses.  Here they are, starting with my fave, which I’ll wear as soon as the hottest part of summer is over:

Dress #1 is a  vintage 100% cotton calico print elbow-length sleeve shirt dress will be worn as-is, with a lightweight cardigan in chillier air.  The center front button placket stops at the waist, eliminating the need to fuss with buttons down the front of the skirt.  I’m not sure where it has been hiding these past decades, but it has never been worn or laundered.

Red calico floral shirtdress RSR

Dress #2 still had the store tags on it, so it too has never been laundered or worn.  It’s the one I’m less sure about than the others.  I think it is lovely, but I’m not sure about the style on me; not sure it is ‘my’ style.

Dress with long collar tie2 RSR

Tags RSR

On me, I like its appearance better with the long ties tossed back over the shoulder (see below).  That modification would be a shame though, because it’s main feature is the long ties down the front, and I love that feature.  Maybe it is the pleated skirt that isn’t right.  I could easily remove the pleated panel and replace it with a different fabric, or leave it off and make it a tunic instead of a dress.  As a tunic, I think the long ties down the front would be okay.  Bottom line, this one is going to be a puzzle.

Dress with long collar tie to the back RSR

Dress #3 is handmade of lightweight wool or wool blend, unlined.  It’s nicely sewn, and the fit is perfect.  It doesn’t look boxy like a suit jacket; it fits like a dress.  I’ll wear it this Autumn with a thin turtleneck or blouse underneath.

Purple wool blazer dress RSR

Dress #4!  Burberry plaid has been on my wish list for a long while now, so this lined rayon-cotton (I think) jumper that was on the half-price rack, was a no-brainer.  It too is handmade.  I hope to wear it to the office this Autumn with a white blouse underneath.  Because of the roomy pleated skirt, it should be great for the bicycle commute.

I am making one modification to this dress, and that is to turn half of the pleats the other direction.  The way they are now — pleats all turned one way, is interesting, but looks awkward on me.

Burberry plaid jumper RSR

More coolness from Burberry.  They have dynamite live music for their runway shows……