August 24, 2009

Summer lightning storms, a flash of inspiration {Monday Muses, August 24th}

In the midst of summer the heavens sometimes decide that they’ve had more than enough and spill forth with wrath and fury. One such occurrence took place in the evening on the 8th of August here, when the most intense lightening storm I’ve ever seen in my entire life struck Toronto. For nearly two hours straight rapid forked and flashing sheet lightening ripped apart the carbon grey sky, bolts snapping every few seconds (sometimes two, three, four or more at a time), thunder cracking like a whip with vigour against songs of pelting rain.

{A resplendent capture of the lightning that snapped crazily in the skies above Toronto earlier this month. Stunning photo by wvs on Flickr.}

While the ever-present and rather relentless warmth of summer is still bearing down on us here, I can't stop thinking about the (wonderful) fact that autumn cannot be that terribly far off, and with the change of seasons can come a switch in wardrobe colour pallets. In place of the perky pinks, bright blues, tranquil turquoises, buttercup yellows, punchy peaches, zippy greens and light-hearted lilacs comes a return to deeper, more sombre (but no less stunning) hues.

The colours that danced wildly across the dusk sky on the day of that mammoth lightening storm conjured up thoughts of an autumn wardrobe, of all things. Replete with sultry greys, onyx black, smokey amethyst purple, searing hot white, and dusty navy blue, it was almost as if Mother Nature was showing off her fall look book.

I couldn’t shake thoughts of the majestic and inspiring beauty of that storm from my head for days after it occurred and as such quickly realized that it had become one of my Muses this month. Thus the hues that fill a storm-kissed sky are my Monday Muses this week. I hope that their cool tones, classically beautiful shades and timeless appeal will inspire you and your upcoming autumn wardrobe, too!

♥ ♥ ♥

{With a subtle sheen and a hue that instantly calls to mind the shifting of the sky from calm to wild, this dusty blue vintage skirt is made of taffeta and delicately embroidered with a subtle floral pattern. $30.00 (US) from etsy seller Cheesecake Vintage.}

{This crisp, timelessly elegant navy and white stripped blazer reminds one of rain tumbling down from against a mysterious and foreboding sky. 1950s dark blue jacket, $23.50 (US) from etsy seller Green Dragon Lady Vintage.}

{A little flashy, a little eccentric, entirely adorable! These vintage cat eye sunglasses would be the perfect pair to wear during a storm to shield your peepers from blinding flashes of lightning. Plastic sunglasses with a fantastic vintage glasses case included in the price, $30.00 (US) from etsy seller Jack’s Jill Vintage Miscellanea.}

{Twinkling and shimmering like bolts of lightning against an afternoon sky that still managed to stay blue during a gale, this wonderful 1950s crystal necklace would work just as well for the office as a night on the town. $24.95 (US) from etsy seller Metro Retro Vintage.}

{Soft as a cloud and hued like concrete, these peep-toe heels would work in nearly as versatile manner as a black pair in your wardrobe, the matching bow on the front sophisticated and in no way Minnie Mouse-ish. Grey Suede and leather three inch heels, $48.69 (CND) from Overstock.}

{Sleek, wonderfully easy to pair with a myriad of outfits and bedecked with beautiful clear rhinestones, this thermoplastic vintage bracelet is pretty enough to set off a storm of compliments! $110.00 (US) from Eclectic Vintage.}

{From the cut to the textured wool to the graphite gray hue, everything about this modern button front cardigan sweater has a wonderful vintage feel to is. "The Nina Cardigan", $39.99 from ModCloth.}

{While grey, black, platinum and inky blue instantly spring to mind when you think of the hues in a stormy sky, I also equate muted shades of dark purples into the mix. This wonderful vintage Mexican dirndl skirt invokes thoughts of a violet sky bursting with a swell, zig-zagging bolts of lightning crashing across its eggplant hued front. $58.00 (US) from etsy seller Vintage Starr Beads.}

{This classic bucket shaped cloche hat is made of wool felt (with a grosgrain ribbon) in three elegant colours that all smack of a stormy sky’s majestic hues. "The Changeling" hat, $49.99 (US) from ModCloth.}

{Catching the light and dancing with brilliance, these silver and rhinestone vintage earrings from the fifties are clip on, meaning that they could also do double duty as brooches, if you so fancied. $15.00 (US) for the pair, from etsy seller HossyBoy’S Grammy’s Vintage.}

{Little creamy white and navy hued beads are peppered across this lovely dark blue vintage purse, reminding me of hail stones pounding the ground during an intense storm. $14.99 (US) from etsy seller Vintage Starr Beads.}

{Shades of turquoise and indigo blue swirl like clouds racing against a violent sky on this elegant, alluring, abd artsy vintage rayon dress with matching belt. $69.95 from etsy seller Metro Retro Vintage.}

The pieces above, from a soft knit cardigan to the sparkling bangles are each redolent of a storm, the beauty and power - not to mention the sense of adventure - it posses. They are strong, but in no way overpowering colours that will add a jolt of ageless intensity to your vintage wardrobe.

I’ve always felt a kinship to lightning storms and can often sense them coming by an inexplicable surge of energy (and an increase in heart rate) that suddenly washes over me in advance of their arrival. Provided one is as safe as possible during a storm, I find their intensity and phenomenal natural strength and gorgeousness mesmerizing.

What do you love (or dislike, as the case may be) about a summer storm? What was the wildest storm you’ve ever seen – and did it inspire you in any way?


For some utterly odd reason whenever I try and post a comment in the comment section of this post I get an error message! I've tried to post my reply to all your guys' wonderful comments several times over the past three days and am always met with the same Blogger error, so I thought I'd post my comments here, as part of the initial blog entry, instead.

@ Karyn, thank you very much! I'm beyond ready for the seasons to change! I keep thinking they're on the verge because we'll have one somewhat cooler day or morning, but then the sizzling temps will rear their head once again.

I'm very sorry to hear you've been under the weather, sweet dear. Don't worry about not being around for a split second, it's totally ok. Take care of yourself and know that I'm sending you tons of healing get well hugs!

@ Chrisy, thank you very much for the prettily said comment, my fellow storm lover.

@ Lorla, thank you, sweetie! It was a joy to compose this electrifying post! :D

@ aramblingfancy, I hear you there, my dear. Their prices really are quite reasonable in this day and age, but still my poor wallet hasn't been able to do anything but window shop so far. Hopefully I'll be able to change that sooner than later, as I really do adore

Thank you very much for sharing that story about your mom with us, sweetie. Thank goodness the neighbour was home and able to warn your mom before a tornado hit!

@ Amy, they really are fab, I agree!

@ Amanda, thank you so much, sweetie pie! You should definitely treat yourself to that cloche, it's such a deeply beautiful, timeless piece.

@ Gina, it really was intense! We had another one last week that actually turned into a hurricane that touched down just a couple of towns over from where I live. I saw the funnel cloud, but only for a few seconds as there was
intense fog going on at the same time. Very frightening in a way, but I am always so engrossed by the sheer beauty of a storm that it's hard to truly feel afraid.

@ Dustjacket Attic, thank you, honey. I adore that first photo, too. The use of a solid colour backdrop gives it a really professional touch.

You're not alone at all, I worry about that, too! My darling kitty (Stella) gets freaked out my thunder and takes refuge under our bed until it's over. But once the storm has passed, she's as happy as ever. I think it's so sweet of you to worry about animals, honey.

@ Cait, how wonderful that your uncle gave you some cat eye glasses, are they vintage or reproduction? Don't worry for a moment about if they embarrass your sister when you wear them out, I bet you look absolutely beautiful!

@ Nora & Lola, thank you deeply, darlings!

@ Maggi, thank you, honey! No worries, storms are not everyone's cup of tea, and that's a-ok. One great thing about storms though, is that once they've passed you're often left with a gorgeous rainbow! :)

@ Aire, you are so very welcome! Thank you deeply for stopping by to leave a comment. I am counting down the seconds until fall right along side you, my dear!

@ Annie, thank you sweetie, so glad you loved the clothing in this post.

@ Sher, thank you, hon! That hat made me think of you because of the teal band (teal being so close to your beloved turquoise).

@ Metro Retro (Laura), thank you very much for the lovely words, sweetie.

Your etsy shop is a joy and continual source of online inspiration, I'm delighted to feature items from it.

@ Sashindoubutsu, thank you so very much for the beautiful comment!

@ Natasha Minsk, you're very welcome, my dear. Thank you for your comment and for selling such fantastic vintage pieces!

@ Trains and Sewing Machines, I just adore those earrings, too! Sparkles up near the face - especially vintage ones - a perpetual fave of mine.

@ AlicePleasance, I just saw my first hurricane ever last week. I only saw the funnel cloud for a few seconds, but it was incredibly intense - almost surreal. Turns out it touched down in a nearby down, causing a lot of property damage and actually claiming one life, which is truly sad. It just goes to show you that you never know which storms are going to be wild and which are going to be vicious! (Summer storms make me think of my childhood too, sweetie - another cool thing we have in common.)

Thank you each deeply for your wonderful comments!

Oodles of hugs - and joyful Friday wishes, everyone!
♥ Jessica


  1. Hi Jessica,

    Another fabulous post and I'm ready for the change of seasons, even more so after this post! I love all of your photos and I particularly love the last dress, it reminds me of a dress my grandmother had.

    Being that I have lived in California most of my life, I can't say that we have anything close to a wild storm...guess it's just hot or really hot!

    Sorry I've been missing in action, I had a bad flu but I'm feeling much better. Hope your week is off to a fantastic start!

  2. A beautiful post...I'm a storm lover thrilling...awe inspiring...and often a cool respite after a hot day...

  3. Very beautiful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your style pics and thunder bolts too.

  4. Love that sweater---one day I'm going to break down and actually order something from Mod Cloth, haha.

    One of my favorite stories regarding my mom envolves a summer thunderstorm. We had recently moved to Colorado and my mom was standing in the garage watching a spectacular storm, marveling at the low clouds with a greenish hue she had never witnessed before. A neighbor ran outside and yelled at her to get inside the house & down to the basemet. When my mom protested that she liked watching storms, she was informed that those were tornado clouds and there was a tornado warning in effect and couldn't she tell because it so windy so get inside the house NOW! Poor little California girl, she had no idea, haha!

    Seeing as how I've rambled on (and on and on), I'll simply wish you a happy Monday evening!

  5. Wonderful musings today. Wonderful links. I need that gorgeous cloche hat!

    Happy Monday!

  6. I heard about the storms! Sounds intense! But, it sounds like a great source of inspiration, great pieces! LOVE the glasses.

    <3 Gina

  7. That first photo is amazing, love it. I love the first dress photo too.

    You know I always worry about animals being scared in storms, I know, I should probably let that go.

  8. I love rain and thunder storms and appreciated the ones we had our last few days in Washington. I've never seen a bit lightning storm though!
    My uncle gave me a cute pair of cat eye glasses that I'm really enjoying. My sister is appalled that I'd wear them out though!
    Have a lovely last few weeks of summer!


  9. Wonderful thoughts you've inspired today!

    Love the bag, sunglasses & necklace!

    Hope you're having a great week!

    PS commented back to you at end of previous post! xx

  10. These are fabulous finds! I'm not a fan of storm myself although I love the rain!

  11. Hi Jessica,
    Thank you for featuring our cardigan and hat on your blog! We can't wait for fall!
    <3 Aire

  12. Love the lightning photo! And the vintage dresses, always.

  13. All great items, my fave is the hat :)

  14. Hi Jessica!

    Love your blog, and thank you so much for featuring the above blue dress and crystal necklace from my shop!

    I love all of your selections, and like you, am a vintage-a-holic, lol! Thank you again. :)

    Metro Retro Vintage

  15. That lightning photo is awesome!!! Your blog is cool, love seeing those vintage commercials of foods.^^

  16. Jessica,

    Thank you featuring my taffeta skirt! You have such lovely items in your blog.

    With a cherry on top,

    Natasha Minsk
    Cheesecake Vintage

  17. I love the glasses and that wig is awesome!! Also the earrings are gorgeous!

  18. I really like thunder storms, lightnings, tornados (I've never seen a real big one though!). They always scare me to death, but I think it's amazing to see how much powerful nature can be. I also have a strangely beautiful feeling about summer storms cause, I don't know exactly why, they always make me think at summers of my childhood...

  19. November 3 and I just discovered this! Boy am I out of the loop!-Rachelle Starr AKA Vintagestarrbeads and Starrbeads.
    Thanks for the double plug!

  20. Hi lovely ladies, thank you very much for your terrific comments!

    @ Rachelle Starr, you are very welcome! Your shop is a vintage lovers delight, and certainly a fave shop of mine of etsy. Many thanks for your visit!

    Wishing you each a gorgeous day!
    ♥ Jessica