service interrupted.

Today is Summer Solstice and I try to remember how many times I have marked this occasion with pretty pictures on this blog.  5 times, 6 times?  Admittedly, I have been painfully absent from this site, there would be just so much one could upload and write about, especially during summertime. And I have not… I’m way too preoccupied these days!

photo credit: Naomi!

photo credit: Naomi!

Instead, I am stealing a photo from the shop’s website – it showcases not only Portland nature but also three lovely outfits by SkunkFunk.

If you have made it this far, then you might also want to hear that I might not update this site much in the future as I am shifting my focus back to education.  Education in the school-type sense:  I am going back to teaching.  Kids this time, not grown fashionable women. I am entrusting the store into some capable hands who will certainly continue what I have started. 🙂

I promise I will continue to now and then showcase great fashion and let you in on my adventures in that realm on this blogsite.  As the posts won’t be very frequent, consider installing an RSS feed on your device – that way I connect with you when I do write something!



how to: shopping without a car

The day I sold my car was summery, dry and warm.  Of course, the very next day the skies opened up, the temperature dropped to just above freezing – and I had no vehicle. It was as if the universe was testing me. This was also he first day of figuring out how to get around in this very car-driven (sic!) society. What about shopping?  How do I get home the carton of half gallon milk along with bread, eggs and a six pack?

blue bug fleeting

Of course, I can do this. Not only do I have a bike with a basket, I also signed up for Car2Go – where I can find a little Smart pretty much everywhere in my neighborhood.  This whole car situation and my renewed motivation to preserve to environment and live sustainably triggered a bunch of other observations and experiences.

What does it take to feel satisfied with your choices? How much does one need to live safe and comfortably?

I went to a fast-food outlet to get some lunch. We were on the road, with not much time to spare, and hungry. I chose a Mexican fast-food restaurant, they make some filling, not too offensive food. The quesadilla I had was done with a ‘four cheese’ mix and some salsa. Filled me up.  For the moment.  It did not take long and I was hungry again. And while I could have just gotten another little thing, the taste of the quesadilla lingered in my mouth, the salty quick fix and I almost wanted more. They say there is an addictive quality to fast food. And while I don’t think I got ‘hooked’ after one experience, I do get a sense on why people want this food – it never leaves you sated, well fed and happy.  You want more.  More of the addictive salty taste, the easy texture and non-offensive spices.

Inside Pike Place MarketAnd then, look at all the beautiful meals you can make out of these vegetables! You know what is going into your food, no additives, no processed stuff. My one-time fast food experience made me realize how good I feel when I prepare my own food and use interesting spices.

A few days later, I had a conversation with a customer about the book Overdressed. You know, the one where the author tries to shed light on the cheap clothing industry. The conversation was triggered by the recent fire in the garment factory in Bangladesh.  I equal the fast and cheap clothing industry to the fast food chains. Cheap, bland clothing leaves me just as dissatisfied as the quick meal. Yet, because the clothing is so cheaply made and basically un-interesting, people go back for more.  More bargains, more color for their -already- overstuffed closets.

Maybe I am generalizing here but the feeling you get when you wear a well-made, interesting garment on your body –  just leaves you … satisfied.

kattalin-023I can’t help it – but losing my car, this instant gratification at my fingertips, opened up a few pores and now I’m sensitive.

Or blame it on the full moon.


I’m saving for one.

In case you do not know about Peter Lappin of malepatternboldness – you have to get started on reading his blog. Not only is he wildly funny but he also knows how to sew. Many of his experiences I also had. I admire his zest for learning how to tackle difficult problems and the resulting tutorials. His photoshoots are priceless.

Peter lives in New York, has a passion for flea markets, vintage sewing machines and only began sewing in 2009, the time he started writing the blog. He is pretty much self-taught and has mastered quite a few techniques beautifully!

A few days ago, he wrote about the Bernina sewing machines and Switzerland, which hits right home with me for a number of reasons. 😉  In his post, he is asking readers about their opinion of the brand and whether or not it is worth the high price.  This entry must have gotten the most comments ever!  (most of them are positive, too)

I own a ‘Mercedes Benz’ of the overlock sergers and could not be happier.  It was worth every dollar I bled for it.


Maybe once in Switzerland, I should start saving for a Bernina.

Now go and read Peter!




by invitation.

Carol Anderson is not a brand I carry.  I have attended a few home parties and generally like the outfits.  So I was surprised to hold an actual Carol Anderson dress in my hands that a customer had left for me to alter.

this is what her label used to look like

this is what her label used to look like

My customer’s mother had worn this dress ‘back in the day’ and while it is made out of 100% Polyester it was also

made in the USA!

made in the USA!

Since then Carol Anderson has changed directions. She no longer supplies retail outlets but sells exclusively through home sales ‘consultants’ (Carol Anderson by invitation).  On her website, it won’t tell you anything about her story but I found a blog entry that describes it pretty well.  A few years back I was constantly invited to attend a CAbi sales party and went a couple of times. Today, either the market has dried up a little or they just don’t invite me anymore. I haven’t had an invitation in ages.  The whole home party thingy is a bit difficult for me as I always feel like I NEED to be a good guest and buy something. Which I have done at a CAbi show because her clothes are really nice and beautifully detailed.

Linking to my earlier entry about the book Overdressed, I checked the labels of my CAbi clothing:

a jersey dress that I take EVERYWHERE

a jersey dress that I take EVERYWHERE

Carol Anderson also makes her clothing in China.

Jeans from my first CAbi party

Jeans from my first CAbi party

This designer has been around for a long time. With companies bringing back work to the US, I wonder if she will be one of them.


‘I’m Italian, I look green in the winter.’

If I ever write a book, that will be the title.

This is just one of the many hilarious comments I get in the store. There are moments I wish I had a tape recorder. Other moments, I wish I would be bold enough to take a picture of what folks are wearing when they are out and about.

Like this woman that is in the store right now, talking on her cell phone, wearing flip-flops in barely above freezing weather and a plastic sack tied around her ankle in which she appears to have her wallet. Or maybe some meth. (that’s me talking after being totally sucked into Breaking Bad these days)

Then there are some that leave the dressing room like a warzone.

2013-04-13 14.41.23

I don’t mind cleaning up – that is actually my job… Sometimes, there are so many outfits in the dressing room as if the woman had tried on the entire store. Loves everything, everything fits, and then she leaves with the words, ‘I have to bring my daughter in.’ or, ‘I will be back when I get paid.’ I sincerely hope they had a good time looking and feeling good while in my dressing room.


rude awakening

A few days ago I finished this book:2013-04-09 11.05.28

I shall not give a book report here, there are good reviews out there like this one from the Huffington Post and a summary that I found on the author’s website.

Elizabeth Cline’s writing style did not really excite me but she sure gets her point across. And while I thought I knew a lot about the fashion industry, sewing and how seamsters are paid, I learned a LOT more.

Take for instance the amount of clothing that ends up in the landfill. I already knew that in Germany, when they are trying to ‘add’ more caskets to existing cemetery plots, they discover that more and more bodies haven’t decomposed the way they should have. This is due to the clothing the people are buried in.  More and more people are being buried wearing synthetic fibers and they take FOREVER  to decay. Here in the US burial practices are different (and we have way more room) , so this might not be an issue. However, the practice of donating used clothing to charities and thrift stores is very, very common. So much gets donated that it can’t possibly get sold, made into rags OR even be sent to developing countries.

Yes, you guessed right – it ends up in the landfill.  Where it doesn’t disintegrate. And pollutes the land.

The overabundance of ‘used’ clothing has much to do with the ‘overproducion’ of clothing, especially cheap clothing.

Most chain stores, especially stores like Target, H&M, Zara, Kohl’s, bring a constant flow of clothing into their stores. The sheer volume that gets sold at rock-bottom prices generates a nice profit for these stores. Cline interviews people in her book who confess to not even washing their clothing item – it was so cheap that they rather buy a new one.  Or they wash it a couple of times, it then falls apart and ends up in the trash, again. In addition, there is this thrill of owning something new, so these stores make sure that they turn over their stock every two weeks to a) make you come back often and b) buy something every time because it will be gone if you don’t.

Cline illustrates an aspect in the book that strikes home with me: sewing your own, caring for, mending and altering clothing.  She calls this the ‘slow clothes movement’. The point is that if you own something that is well made, out of nice fabric –  preferably wool, silk or cotton – you can have it for a long time. You may be able to alter an item into something more ‘trendy’, mend something that has a hole or re-fashion the entire garment into something new.

I’m all for that.

PS – this book is well worth the read, especially if you are a shopper.  Or a clothing horse like me.

The library has it.


I’m doing it!

Over, in the ‘old’ country, I encountered serious doubts about a particular dress I was eying.

so hippie, so 60ies... :)

so hippie, so 60ies… 🙂

Today, with the temperature hitting summer-like highs, I wanted to wear this dress and prove to the world that it can be done with the right attitude. I’m not wearing a skimpy sandal – I am wearing the heaviest boots I own. And so I will ride my horse bike into the sunset….

While on the subject, I threw on a few more dresses, mainly to see how they would look with the boots:

wild print, short skirt, Frye boots!

wild print, short skirt, Frye boots!

fake wrap dress, BIG boots!

fake wrap dress, BIG boots!

With that, I shall now take a long walk and frolic in the sunshine!




Flickr Photos


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