Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Too good to pass up...

I have packed 5 boxes already today, and I need a break. I haven't been intrested in TV too much lately, so I've been doing a lot of web surfing. These are fun things to inspire all of you creative people out there.

Mr. Picasso Head
Gotta love this idea. You can create your own Mr. Potato Head-esque creation. I got really into it!

Simpsonize me
You have probably already heard of this one, but my daughter and I created one for her together. She didn't feel there were enough hairstyle choices to truly capture her essence! (She's 6)

An eco-friendly design idea? This is a very interesting idea for making your own fabric using plastic bags. I'm a bit scared to try it. If anyone does, I'd love to know how it turns out...

Okay, back to packing for an hour!

Wouldn't it be Glover-ly????

The glove project continues... if only in my imagination!

I happened upon an old issue of Piecework Magazine, in which the picture of a PERFECT glove from the 17th century was featured. I can't cite the publication date now, since it is packed and taped into a box for the move now, but this reinspired me...

Well... I tried

In my ongoing quest to "de-stuff" my sewing and design supplies, I thought I would weed out my Threads and other sewing magazines collection. Turns out, I did this already, about three years ago, and what I've accumulated since, I've categorized and stored in an organized fashion for future reference. I am only getting rid of my W magazine collection, and trusting that there will always be new and beautiful photographs to look at for inspiration.

So, I've been recovering our sofas. We have some really good quality furniture, purchased when we were married without kids, that is still too good looking to get rid of, but kinda dated now. The structure is perfect, so I decided to make new slipcovers. I happen to live near a fabric jobber that sells decorator fabrics for $2 (yes! $2) a yard, so I got a HUGE pile of lovely fabric there a few weeks ago.

It was literally one of those moments when you pick something up, and every other person in the store runs toward you screaming "Where'd you get that!!??". Since the fabric store is stuffed to the gills, you just have to sort through to find something you like. It is the golden mustard-y yellow fabric pictured at the bottom of the photo here...

So, serendipitously, I found an old Threads, fell open to this page...

Exactly what I was going for!

And a simpler method than what I was using... Hallelujah!

Monday, October 29, 2007

A promise to myself....

Today, I promised myself I would reduce my personal fabric stash to what could be contained in three plastic storage bins. I barely got the top on the last one, but when I sat on it, and heard that gentle click, I knew I was victorious.

Funny thing, when I took inventory, I could really see that I think of fabrics in commbinations. Many of the fabrics I love don't stand alone, but some magic combo (even if only in my imagination) makes it dance, vibrate, sing...

Here are some of my faves...

This is for my son's bedding... I've had it for years, but I haven't truly been inspired to use it until now.

A lively green slubby silk...

You would think I really have a thing for purple.. but oddly enough, I just love purple when it is a particularly regal looking fabric.

This ribbed knit will become the "turtle" of a turtleneck, worn with a lively blue croped jacket made of the wool beside it.

This motif is fun - needs to be a button-down shirt.

I don't know why this is, but denim has really changed over the years. The quality of these old denims (maybe 30 years or so?) is so much better. Don't worry, I am not the original owner. They were from the stash of a beloved client who passed away.

I'm not a plaid girl, but I love this one...

And these red waves on silk call out to be showcased against black denim. Love it!

I am usually dreaming of colors that are not poular in the current palette. I can usually accurately forecast what the upcoming colors will be, but maybe that is because I've always spent so much time in NYC's fashion district.

For the Spring, I think coral, turquoise, and colors of the sea will be popular here on the east coast. Let's see if that happens...

Generosity... Pay it forward

Having just been called "ungenerous" in a particularly weird exchange with my mother, I happened upon this post, and decided the universe might be trying to tell me something.

(The details of the fight aren't all that interesting, but I chose to help a neighbor in a big way that cost me personally, only to later discover that he was scamming me. My mother said it was strange that someone as "ungenerous" as I, would go out of my way to help someone, only to find out that he was being dishonest...)

Here a quote from MadHatter's blog today...

“I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.”

Same promise here. We have a year to make good on it. First three to comment will get handmade gifts from me, and make the same commitment to others... okay?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A dress for Diana

Last week, my husband gave me the gift of a "day off", which included a wonderful massage. Since I was early for my appointment, I stopped in a Barnes and Noble and perused A Dress for Diana.

I really liked this book, and not for the reasons you would think. I abhor the style of this dress (just my opinion, though), because it represents everything I loathe about the prevailing attitude about modern weddings. The beauty of the dress isn't really the point of this book, though. This over-the-top confection is a suffocating example of what Diana's life would become, yet it was the perfect symbol of the woman she wanted to portray on that day. A truly satisfied client is always the dressmaker's goal. The design process and communication with her dressmaker was a beautifully successful collaboration.

Individuality, rarity and specialness were all celebrated in this gown, and I love how the photographs illustrate the careful, arduous process and the uncertainty every dressmaker feels when designing for an event of such magnitude.

The challenge of working with a client who is scared, nervous, or lacks confidence is difficult enough, without having a huge worldwide audience looking on. What a job this dressmaking team did!

My wish (and prayer) for all brides, is that you can untangle yourselves from the mess of advertising and wedding trends, look at your wedding as a "family" day, take some of the focus off the dress, and put it into your LOVE, LIFE, and MARRIAGE...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Second thoughts...

This dress was inspired by Prince music ("Alphabet Street") a long time ago. I only wore it once or twice, with a purple turtleneck beneath it. The stripes are irregular, and the fabric is challis-like.

I used to play music for inspiration, and most things I made for about 5 years were done to music by Stevie Wonder, Bobby McFerrin, Eryka Badu, Roberta Flack, and Dave Matthews.

Okay, I have to be strong... almost all of my Prince Albums on Ebay have bids and many watchers. Funny how letting go of a piece of my history (I didn't even realize I still had, mind you) makes my stomach do flips. But hey, I know I have no intentions of buying a record player, I wouldn't play any of this with my children around, and I just feel an incredible need to de-stuff...

Can anyone relate?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The urge ... to keep! (Part IV)

Who am I kidding...?

I'm sure you'll understand why I can't let them go, though.

The urge not to purge... (Part III)

Happy Halloween! (Well, almost) I made this blouse when I was about 19 years old, and wore it until I turned 30. This is a strange example of a two-layered top that worked so well, that it belongs in the "happy accident" category. The orange fabric was a poly chiffon, (believe it or not)and I sewed two fabric layers as one, with a lightweight black challis-like fabric beneath. I made a hidden snap closure for the front. Yes, it was loud... and I loved it! I miss it. I usually got only a few wears out of it - around halloween, against an all-black outfit... I do still have the pattern... I would need the perfect fabric, though.

This pattern was never a candidate for the Ebay purge. Despite the frumpy, weird series of photos on the front of this pattern envelope, this is one of my very favorite patterns. I made the top (pictured in a grey fabric), in a blue washable silk with an "outer-spacey" splatter-dyed effect, and it was the most comfortable, flowy, feminine top in the world. I just retired mine (now, 12 years old) this summer! This whole pattern works really well for me...

Urge to purge... NOT!!! (Part II)

More things I considered Ebaying...

And when I make it, let's hope I feel as good in it as that model (in the middle) looks in it!

I love the mature, exaggeratedly conservative look of this pattern.

Urge to purge... or not? (Part I)

I have considered and reconsidered putting some patterns on Ebay for two days, and today... they all go right back in the stash. I'm just not ready... I'll have to get to these someday.

I thought I'd share them with you, though, because they are interesting... It will take a few posts to cover them all, so let's just call this one "Part One"!

Did you know DVF developed a pattern for Butterick? I have never sewn it, and I don't know why... I believe I will, but heck, I said that ten years ago, didn't I?

The next pattern intrigues me. I can't quite figure out what is going on with this jacket, and I really want to make it, with a really rich combination of jewel-toned colors. Then... I'll need an event to wear it to!

Happy accident...

Remember this guy, and his "happy accidents" on the "Joy of Painting"? Gotta love the 'fro...

Having miscalculated the amount of fabric I would need to complete my fake-a-quilt, I had to find other fabrics to add, and abandon my design ratio.

It's loud, I know.... but it is VERY much my daughter's personality, and looks good rumpled, or folded back traingle-style, which is the way she likes to make her bed!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Full circle (or, why I cut class in high school)

The weather in Manhattan was GORGEOUS today!

Today, was a "full circle" kind of day. We played hooky. All three of us. I took Nadine to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for an "art day", and cancelled Aaron's morning therapy, so that we could just enjoy the beautiful weather and the grand re-opening of the Uris Children's Center.

And this day was for my own enjoyment, too...

I went to high school in the 80's on the edge of Museum Mile, and when I got really bored in class, I would take off early and go to the museums and study my favorite pieces.

I have always loved the way this section of the museum feels. And the wishing pond, where I gave my daughter coins to toss in, after making her wishes.

And we went to the roof garden to see the current Stella exhibit.

I remember one particular day, after an intense exchange with my "World History" teacher, I complained that to study Western European history as "World" history excluded the history of about half of our class. Being a PhD smarty-pants-ish teacher, she took offense. I wish I had the words to really express myself in a way she could have understood. I know my point is valid, but I really couldn't be heard, in the way I chose to express it. I think that's why I gravitated towards artwork that acknowledged the diversity of the American Experience.

I always loved to just stare at intricate textural work, too, and Faith Ringgold's art has always been just magical to me, while "speaking" to my heart.

Ringgold's work excites me, and it speaks to my inner child, who is still very much alive... I have read her books to my own daughter, and hung a calendar of her art in my daughter's room.

A few years ago, I attended a quilt exhibit at the American Bible Society, and a family friend (who curated the exhibit) introduced me to Faith Ringgold. I nearly fainted! Meeting her was so exciting... and not for the reasons you think --- no lightening bolts shot out from her fingertips... she just greeted me like a REAL woman would - a person, a human being! It inspired me to continue to really create what resonates in my soul... because somewhere, maybe I can be what she has been to me... to someone else.

So today, at the Uris Children's Center opening.... who was there???? Yes, you guessed it! And she agreed to pose for a photograph with my daughter!

I wish I could have really had a moment to express why I was so excited to see her, but I should have rehearsed/prrepared something... because I could only muster that we have a friend in common, and would she mind posing with my daughter... Oh well.

And today... she did look pretty magical.

It was the absolute highlight of my day!

So I am nearly finished with my quilted interpretation of my sister's painting. Mine will likely never hang in a museum. My own family and possibly future generations will be able to actually use it. And, today, I think of my grandmother's sewing fingers. Maybe we can't communicate with words, but our fingers dance to the same rhythm. As for the quilts I make, my family will sleep beneath it ... and dream.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

More heart projects...

The therapists who come into our home every day to provide therapy for our son are just the best... To show appreciation, since I have so little time, I think for a while and then give them gifts that are unique, and based on something I know about them.

For Aaron's occupational therapist, I made this bag...

because I know how hard it was for her to find suitable bags for toting around all of her equipment. It is large and durable, with padded straps, and a zipper that will allow the bag to be opened entirely, if she chooses to spread her things out on the floor. It also has a drawstring top for easy and secure closure.

Our speech therapist talked about a special purse her Grandmother made for her when she was a teen. She no longer wanted to use it as a purse, but it was important to her history, and she wanted it near her, and usable.

I turned it into a bolster pillow, with a potpourri pocket, so she could fill a little satchel with lavender (which her grandmother loved), and she could always have it near her. I figure, even if it doesn't go with her decor, she can use it as a casual sofa "huggy" pillow or something.


Sun...sleeps on my cat
like Cezannne

-High School classmate (from memory)

I may have the words wrong, but I will always remember the gist of this Haiku-inspired poem, (although it didn't fit the classic structure) written by a fellow classmate in High School in Mr. Rous' Creative Writing class. The beauty of this class, is that my friend and I were both bored, and he was incredibly talented. I omit his name now, since he has probably gone on to much bigger and better things, and I haven't seen him in a million years...and his name isn't the point, anyway...

Anyway, we used to have assignments, forget(?) or neglect to do them, and make things up on the spot. He and I turned the class into an improv. class, and snickered about it constantly. And... we both got A+ in that class.

Here's my point. I loved that he was linking our study of Cezanne in Art History class, and the way he divides a canvas (3:2:3) to the way the light shone on his cat. Beautiful observation for a 15 year-old-boy, dontcha think?

So this ratio I touched on briefly in a previous post, will be applied to my current project.

Sick of looking at this very colorful but truly annoying comforter on my daughter's bed,
I decided to make a new "face" for it. I was planning to put a poll on this post to ask which combo would look best, but as soon as I laid out the fabric for comparison, the choice was obvious.

I have assembled both sides, and now need to pin, machine quilt and bind, sandwiching the old quilt in between.

Farewell, my sweet Prince...

Who knew I had 20 Prince albums? Okay, this is garment-related, since I was always impressed by the uniqueness and masterful craftsmanship of his performing wardrobe.

I found a stack of 20 (yes, 20) Prince albums I had tucked away more than 15 (yes, that many!) years ago, and decided that since I no longer have a record player, and there are real collectors out there (maybe), that I should part with them.

So, I took a deep breath...

and put them on Ebay.

That's just a small sampling.

Did I mention I was a Prince fan? Still am, but not in the same obsessed way... It does hurt to sell them, though - but another 20 years in a storage space does no one any good, right?