Monday, April 21, 2008

"Bob the Builder" and projects...

I wondered aloud to my husband about why "Bob the Builder" and "Thomas the Tank" encourage such endless business, "busyness", pressures and deadlines for our children, whose lives should be carefree.

I suggested that there should be a Seinfeld-inspired kids show. A kids' show "about nothing", so to speak...

You know, one kid would say, "What's the deal with sippy cups? How many different styles and colors does a kid need anyway?"

But, seriously, my kids are watching me constantly battling self-imposed deadlines, rushing to get things done, making complicated plans... I know it all goes along with life, but perhaps I should make an effort to keep an open-ended plan every now and then. I'm gonna try to be More "loosey-goosey".

But... today's plan does include one mad dash to the fabric store...

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There is no "C" in Gucci

Yesterday, I set out for my "Mommy's day off" in Manhattan. Walking along Madison Avenue, I gazed into the windows of Herve Leger, Armani, Valentino, Chanel, and "Gu ci"...? What happened there? It seems someone has stolen one of the "C"s from the smaller "Gucci's" on the facade (not the big one, pictured). It seems like there are always people watching in that area. How could that happen?

In this very ritzy section of Madison Avenue, I thought petty vandalism was non-existent. Guess not.

Well, anyway, as I walked along, and looked at the creations in the windows, I saw many things that were beautiful and special... and I saw many things that were not. It really inspired me to sew, since the real skill is in being able to sell all of that merchandise at such outrageous prices. Yes, the fabrics are often superior, and the workmanship superb, but I can turn out some pretty fabulous stuff myself. I felt inspired.

Another thing I noticed were the apparently wealthy people who were strolling along Madison as well. What is going on with these womens' lips these days? The botox and fillers have gotten out of hand. I don't understand it. If God meant for us to look like that, he would have made us ducks, wouldn't He?

So, after a lovely lunch with a friend, more strolling, and an unreasonably long wait for my subway home, I sat down to play the "Beautiful game" on the train. (My own invention) The goal is to examine a stranger without him/her noticing, and to find one beautiful thing about them. Amazingly enough, there is always SOMETHING beautiful. I saw the most gorgeous head of hair, the color of a new penny... I saw these adorable cupid's bow lips on one woman... a very cool textural treatment on a man's jeans... a wildly creative collection of dirt spots on an old bag...

It was a nice break from "Bob The Builder", the laundry, cooking and cleaning, and the endless energy of my kids. Whew. Now we're in overdrive for a week, while my kids experience their New York City vacation. We are pretending to be on vacation where we live this week, so we will go to tourist attractions and events. Should be fun...and tiring.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pant fitting.... or, "Things to Know..." Part 10

So, I had TWO WHOLE HOURS to myself yesterday. How long has it been since that happened? My husband took the kids to the park, and I had to make the hard decision about whether to nap or sew. I decided to sew. I'm making a straight pair of vibrant red pants, using a very basic pant pattern, and the sewing machine was just beckoning to me, so I put on some music and sewed. It felt great. I carefully thread-traced and sewed my darts, stitched each leg, got ready to sew the crotch seam...and... guess what?

I don't know why, but....

I had made two right legs. One, wrong sides together... one, right sides together. Rookie mistake.

I should have napped. Clearly, I needed it.

Anyway, here are the basic alterations I had to make to the pattern for my figure. I don't differ too much from the body measurements of the size I was sewing, so, there wasn't much to do.

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I'm probably too old for these things, but...

I love these sneakers... and I want them. No, I will not buy them, since, I know that in a few months, when Spring Fever has worn off, I will wonder if I've lost my mind...

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Everywhere a foreigner...

It seems everywhere I go, I am asked, "Where are you from?" But somehow, I know this means I am an outsider everywhere.

Often called an "out of the box" thinker, I can no longer find the box. I'll need to be okay with that, since, apparently, it isn't going to change. It isn't something I learned, chose, or decided to become. It just is what it is.

I haven't worn a watch in over a decade. It has been so long now, that I no longer consider that unusual. My reasoning is, while it is often important to know what time it is, it is almost never necessary to know exactly what minute or second it is. When I need that kind of precision, I refer to a stopwatch or a wall clock with more hands. I see no reason to be constantly tethered to a timekeeper. If I leave for a destination on time, barring circumstances beyond my control, I will arrive on time. Checking my watch frequently won't help me to get anywhere faster, or change anything at all. I found it liberating when I first began, and never saw a reason to go back to wearing one again.

My son is afraid of his new shirt. Really afraid. Like, he runs and screams at the site of it. I can laugh about it, but it kinda sucks after the time investment. Somehow, it doesn't look like his other shirts, and he finds that disturbing. My daughter had a great suggestion, though... She thinks I should show him some cartoons with the Droopy character, so that he can get used to, and possibly start to like the idea of the shirt. We'll see.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Creative "auras"

It is said that some people experience an "aura" before a seizure. Maybe a smell, a sensation, a frantic, fidgety feeling...

I have creative "auras". When I feel a wave of sewing or artistic fever coming on, I suddenly go into a frenzy, much like before I gave birth. I clean and organize excessively, store cooked meals so I won't need to prepare new meals for a bit, make all of my calls, clean out my to-do list, and fire up the machine... It bubbles up in me, and feels something like the above jellyfish aquarium shot I took in San Francisco.

This morning, I heard the sweetest words ever. This time from my daughter...

"Mommy, will you make me some clothes?"

So now, I'm in it. You'll see more when I have something to show!

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I quit!

I must admit, I don't just blog for the greater good.

I write because I want to be heard, I want my point of view affirmed and confirmed, and I enjoy it and want to do it, while showing that I am also "listening". I know that there are plenty of people who read and don't comment, who find some kernel of meaning or something of value in what I say, and who feel a kinship through this weird form of communication.

Having said that, I also have my moments when I want to give up, feel badly about a poor choice of words or possibly offending someone, or question if I am putting too much of myself on the web. I sometimes wonder if I am wasting too much time on this, and if my time should be spent, say, cleaning the kitchen... ? Again?

So I had a saved post entitled "I quit!", in case the day ever came that I felt I needed to abandon the blog. Today, I erased and wrote new text for this post, and you will see, I have come to a different conclusion.

When tempted to throw in the towel, I am often reminded that the enormous intellectual generosity showed by great artists, musicians, scientists, craftspeople and "average joes" have given us all so much. And sometimes you can't dig up the gems until you have a whole pile of work from which to harvest the best products. So I keep going... blogging... designing... working... mothering...wifeing... friending.

It took me three tries to make this loaf of bread this weekend. (Don't ask.) And it was soooo worth the trouble. I was rebelling against the gluten-free options we had been trying for my son's benefit. Had I not attempted so many times, I would have just had a disappointing experience to share with you now.

You may already know I am a Metropolitan Museum of Art maniac. When I went to see Jasper Johns 50 gray canvases a few weeks ago, I was reminded that everything is worth doing well. Now, one can become a fanatic, of course, but, from this vast sea of gray, I could see these sparkling pieces of genius, that would have never existed, if not for his endless attempts at conveying his messages with the use of such a non-color. So, it wasn't a exhibit for everyone, but I felt there was a special message in it for me.

Keep going. Keep trying. Persevere. It may not all be worth it, but some of it will be, and you'll never know unless you try...

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Vintage... there are no straight lines on the body...

I am still wiping the drool from my chin after seeing this pretty post from on vintage dresses. I have included one of her pictures (above) to give you a taste of what you'll find there, since the highlighted word "post" on its own doesn't really inspire exploration of another blog, right?

I love that dress... that architectural, straight look. My body is far from straight, though, and I don't think the dream would live up to the reality if I really tried to make such a garment.

We are a combination of curves, bulges, valleys and protrusions. In both good and bad ways, depending your point of view. Nothing brings this whole curve idea into sharper focus than making swimsuits. You body will just defy its constraints, and let you know that any stretch garment is just a mere coating for the your figure, and that all the structural tricks underneath are where the magic happens.

One thing that I notice about my own sewing, is that there is one area where I almost always, without fail, deviate from a printed commercial pattern. I am sure that due to the complications grading the markings would present, darts are just simple angles. (see below)

My darts are never just straight, and I usually have to change the length of them to suit my figure. I like my bust darts to end 1 1/2' away from the apex, and I like a gentler taper than most darts are designed to have. I guess this is one part of my draping and patternmaking education I have never been able to skimp on.

I am full of ideas and I have VERY little personal time. In keeping with my "no apologies" mantra, I aim to just complete my personal projects as I complete them, with no feelings of guilt over how long it takes me to finish, where we are in the season, or how many "do-overs" I have to endure to get the right look and fit.


For those of you following my son's progress, I must share the sentence I heard this morning. After putting on his small Crayola backpack full of crayons, Aaron marched toward the front door and said "Aaron wants school today" Aaaaaugh! It made me want to cry (for joy)! He has been on school visits with me, and he actually sees the possibility of going to school, and is looking forward to it! Not only that, he is just 2 years and 9 months old, so it is completely age-appropriate for him to start thinking that way. Autism, schmautism, I say!

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Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated...

I do have a monster cold, though.

I hope to post my many mostly-written posts today... but, in the maentime, here's some NYC subway humor.

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