Come Into The Garden

As I prepared these photos for the blog, I realized that I wore very similar things the same time last year – something about July that makes my outfits take on a decidedly floral look. I guess it’s because the summer flowers in our garden are starting to bloom, so I can’t help but draw some inspirations from them, which means bringing out my floral shirts, green bottoms, and brown shoes. They may not be the most imaginative “flower-inspired” looks, but they’re serviceable and easy to throw on, and in the summer, that’s all I’m asking for.

And on that note, here are some more of our flowers – it’s been a while since I shared these, so enjoy!


Trumpet vine


Rangoon creeper and crepe myrtle

More crepe myrtle


Cape periwinkle and a squash blossom


The Very Hungry Caterpillars

It’s been a strange spring. The fact that we even have a spring is strange enough, since usually, we just have a few days of extreme humidity after the winter and then, bam, summer is here. This year, on the other hand, we actually have a spring with rain and slowly warming days. It’s nice to be able to feel the changing seasons. The downside of that, though, is that the insect population in our garden absolutely explodes. Sure, there are some nice ones like ladybugs, fireflies (which I’ve been watching every night), dragonflies, and wasps (yes, wasps are beneficial to your garden!), but there are plenty of nasty caterpillars and snails (I know snails are not insects, but they’re harmful nonetheless). Just check out these caterpillars I found on our sweet osmanthus tree, and the moth that they hatched into:

This isn’t entirely off-topic either, because all these bugs have inspired my outfit. The caterpillar brooch is obvious, but there’s a subtler touch – my shirt and pants are both made of silk, which, of course, comes from the silkworm. See, you can find fashion inspiration anywhere, even from nasty pests.


A Pretty Pickle

Red and green is a color combo I’m not brave enough to try often (I think I’ve only tried it once, way back when I first started the blog.) The Christmas association is too strong. Plus, in Vietnam, there’s a saying that translates to “Green pants and red shirt prove that you’re a boor”, so maybe that influences me somehow. But lately, I’ve discovered some red/green combinations that are more applicable, when the red and green are less saturated – like here, which is more like pink and green (the gingham tones down the red color a bit), or red and olive green. It would be fun to try more opposite color combos like that.

On an unrelated note, the post title is obviously a reference to my brooch, but it’s also a joke because my family, despite our large garden, has never been able to grow cucumbers. One year my dad started three pots, which grew and covered the entire trellises, but never produced a single flower, let alone a fruit. After that he got frustrated and quit trying to grow cucumbers again.


Flowers, No Butterfly

Here’s my outfit for this week’s SIA, inspired by an anonymous watercolor sketch of flowers and a butterfly. This one is a bit of a loose interpretation. I noticed how the flowers in the sketch almost look 3D, so I mimicked those with my embroidered cardigan. My dress is to mimic the background of the sketch, and if I had a butterfly brooch, it would’ve been perfect here, but hard to believe as it may be, my large collection of brooches doesn’t include a single butterfly one! I have a lot of bug brooches – ladybirds and bees and beetles, but no butterfly. I’ve just never found a butterfly brooch that sparks my fancy, I guess. Anyway, I made up for it with my shoes – the color and the “wings” on the sides can be a reflection of the butterfly. So, not an exact match, but I’m happy with it.

Don’t forget to check out Daenel’s blog on Wednesday to see other outfits inspired by this lovely sketch!


Pierrot

I’ve mentioned last week that I cannot resist a cute/quirky brooch, and these days, I often build an entire outfit around a brooch. Take this one, for example – I don’t often wear brooches with human shapes/faces (they always strike me as a tiny bit creepy), but this one, in the shape of Pierrot the clown, fits that sweet spot between quirky and vintage that I love. Since the brooch itself is so attention-grabbing, I kept the rest of the outfit simple, using the little green gem on the brooch as a starting point and matching that to my jacket, sweater, and even socks, so the brooch can really shine.

Maybe I should keep an eye out for Harlequin and Columbine brooches as well, to complete the set…