Friday, October 30, 2009

Day 3: it's all about the food

You know, it wasn't easy looking at the nice customs inspector with a straight face and saying, "No, sir, I didn't bring back any food from Italy. I ate it all there."

Not when I had a bag bulging suspiciously with dried porcini, sundried tomatoes, jarred pesto, truffle paste, biscotti and random other items we didn't feel we could come home without. (I let him carry the wine!)

But starting at the beginning, on day 3, we woke up to . . . you guessed it, drizzle.

Breakfast and then out. We had another early-morning museum appointment. I'd seen the copy of the David in the Piazza, but I wanted to see the real deal.

The real deal is located in the Galleria Academia, which was in a section of Florence we hadn't explored yet. We set out bravely under our umbrellas, and by the time we got there it was hardly raining at all. Again.

And yes, seeing the real David blew the fake outdoor David out of the water. I don't precisely understand how, but you can see him above, and he is amazing. So amazing that I snapped a non-permitted picture and had a teeny-tiny little security lady come up to me and say, "No photos, signora!" Scusi.

Once we had walked around the whole museum - not anywhere near as large as the Uffizi, and with a ton more altar pieces and tortured and martyred saints (and a completely unexpected but fabulous exhibit of Robert Mapplethorpe's photos) - we headed for the market area.

I love markets. Especially flea markets and food markets. The outdoor markets didn't have anything in the way of grubby old stuff, my absolute favorite kind, but they had tons more leather and all the gifts we needed to buy before we set off home.

Mario got his mom a beautiful ceramic bowl, and his mom and my aunt both got cashmere scarves. His sister, in addition to a few other random goodies, got a hot pink t-shirt that says "Ciao Bella!" in the same style as the CocaCola logo. She'll love it. She's a girly girl.

The guidebooks all talked about the Mercato Centrale, the big indoor food market, despite the purple prose, they didn't do it justice. It's a food market on steroids. They have everything. Buckets of dried porcini. Rack on rack of wine bottles. Fresh pasta, dried pasta, a very cool machine that not only made the pasta and pressed the pasta, but spit it out in sheets and folded little tortellini. I want a small version of that for my kitchen.

On the left, enough prosciutto to keep him happy for years. Literally.

We spent a long while wandering around the Mercato, until we'd made ourselves absolutely starving from grazing on samples. I grabbed a few items to bring home and we went off in search of lunch.

It had started to rain again, but we found a little trattoria with a covered outside area and those lovely outdoor heaters. More wine to warm us up, and a big dish of pasta. Mario got something with truffle cream sauce and I got asparagus and porcini. I think. I ate it so quickly I barely remember.

From there, we wandered to the other outdoor market - more of the same as the one outside Mercato Centrale, but that was where Mario bought my green bag that I had to have.

The sky actually cleared a little, so instead of going back to the hotel to drop off our bags, we kept walking. Eventually we ran across another candy-fied church, which the map told us was Santa Croce.

Santa Croce was extensively damaged in the big flood in 1966, and they're still doing restoration 40 years later. For a minimal charge, you get to see the church, all the side chapels, a ton of art, a separate little museum, the leather school, the leather school gift shop, the cloisters, the gardens and random other goodies. I could have stayed at the leather school for a while and been happy. And the stuff in their shop - basket-woven leather bags that cost more than my round trip plane fare, but delicious.

Drizzling again, so back to the hotel for pre-dinner nap, and then up again and across the river to Mama Gina's, a little restaurant we had noticed the night before.

Once fed, full of wine and warm, we walked back to the hotel, stopped for gelato, and planned out our last full day in Florence.

Because enough is never enough

And because you all should have to suffer right along with me!

First up, the tailoring window at Ermengildo Zegna. I can't tell you how much I appreciated seeing the jacket mid-construction. Between the camera and the window glass, I couldn't get a close enough shot of the lapel, but the pad-stitching was a little miracle.

And note the box at the bottom - it's full of collars. Detachable? Or just waiting to be sewn to some lucky shirt? I didn't get a chance to find out.

This gray coat here was beautiful from a distance, which is where I took the first shot. I love a good coat, and this had great lines. The collar looked intriguing, though, so I went closer.

It's beaded!

The entire underside of that flipped-up collar is hand-beaded in silver herring-bone bugle beads. It made me dizzy to think about.

It also made me want to start beading again.

Can you imagine the weight of that collar? But what attitude, to be able to flip up your collar and have something like that. (It would also require a seriously kickass short haircut, which I would consider once I made that coat and beaded the collar).

And what about the pleated blouse? I don't remember whose it was, and I wish the photo was better but I couldn't do anything with the reflection.

Those pleats take more patience than I have, but I think it's an amazingly flattering piece. You would think by looking at it that it would make you look shorter and thicker, but I think because of the angle of the pleats, and that wonderful collar, that it would actually do just the opposite and make you longer and leaner.

I also really like cut-in shoulder and the way the blouse is constructed. And I would have loved to have seen the back, just to see if the pleats continued back there or if it turned plain. I'm assuming plain, but you never know.

And that's most of my fashion photos from vacation.

Other things I noticed: purple is huge. Huge, I tell you. Not only just because Florence's color is violet - which I noticed when the Florentine soccer team passed us by in the airport - but it's just in. Purple, violet, plum, mauve, and any other shade you can think of. In clothes, coats, shoes, leather jackets, bags

Also, there's a lot of patchwork and mismatched fabrics. I saw a girl on the street in a coat that I wanted to remove from her back. I settled for taking her picture. Later in the trip, on Saturday, I saw a very similar coat in a street market and took its picture. Maybe one of these days I'll do something about it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 2: in which art trumps fashion

At least temporarily.

When the alarm went off on Thursday morning, it was almost drowned out by the sound of rain. Our hotel room window looked out on an enclosed courtyard, and the rain was coming down so hard on the awnings and tables below that it sounded like thunder. Until it thundered, anyway.

By the time we finished breakfast, it had slacked off. The hotel had a dining room and a breakfast buffet, an intriguing combination of Italian and American – cappuccino and espresso at the bar, and American coffee in on the buffet table. Croissants and rolls and bread, with choices of spreadable cheese, butter, or Nutella.

And you have to like a culture whose idea of breakfast meat is prosciutto, right? And provolone. A couple of rolls filled with that, and a cappuccino or two, and I was ready to brave the weather.

We had passed the Uffizi Gallery the day before, and noted the obscenely long line. Apparently in high summer, the line can be up to 6 hours long. Umm, 6 hours? Not even for the best art in the world, which they have in that museum. Our wait was only about 40 minutes, and it was all under cover.

The Uffizi is a no-camera museum, so all photography has to be stealthy. I didn’t even bother, because I was too busy looking. It’s funny – you can see reproductions all your life, but when you’re presented with the original, it’s something completely different.

Botticelli’s Birth of Venus was that kind of revelation.

Much of the rest of the art was religious – what amazes me is that every church in Europe isn’t empty, considering the number of altarpieces, etc., that have ended up in the Uffizi, in the Accademia in Venice, in the Louvre.

I got to remember just how much I like looking at sculpture. I think it’s become more obvious to me as I’ve been sewing more – I’m fascinated with the 3 dimensionality of sculpture and how the artist had to be able to not only see his idea from all sides, but make it work.

Except there’s no way to backtrack when you’re working on a slab of marble roughly the size of a garage.

We spent about 4 hours in the Uffizi – impressive because museum fatigue hadn’t even set in yet - and when we came out, the rain had stopped. It hadn’t cleared, mind you; the sky had simply ceased to fall for a while. We ate lunch at an outdoor restaurant on the Piazza della Signoria – spinach ravioli with a cream sauce with porcini and just a dusting of black truffle. And more chianti.

After lunch, we wandered the city, ducking in and out of stores and churches whenever the sky opened.

We found a store selling beautiful men's shirts, and after waffling for a while about whether or not he needed more shirts (need? what is this need thing? You're in Italy, buy shirts!) Mario fell for the 4 shirts for 100 euro deal. I approved. Not only were they pretty, but they get me off the shirtmaking hook for a while. Unless I want to be on it.

Me, I was looking at shoes. I knew I was going to buy something leather while we were there, but the exchange rate not being ideal, I was being particular about what that little leather something would be. There were a few pairs of boots calling my name, and a particular pair of shoes (the ones I ended up buying). My main qualification for buying was that it had to be something I couldn't find at home. I think I managed.

After we were sufficiently rained on and tired out, we went back to the hotel. Since a lot of the restaurants don't even open for dinner until 7:00 p.m., we always get into the habit of going back and napping or reading from 5:30 - 7:00, and then heading back out in search of food.

We tried a little restaurant called Cantinetta Antinori on the second night. Once again, the porcini called. I got mushroom soup and osso bucco. And more chianti. The restaurant was really lovely, and the food was delicious. They have both a winery and a farm, so almost everything they serve is family-raised, which I really appreciated.

After dinner, the rain had stopped again, so we took a walk, got an espresso and eventually a gelato to talk back to the hotel. Before bed, we hung out in the lounge for a while. We found out on arriving in Italy that Mario's iPhone only worked in very specific places, like the wifi-equipped lounge but not any other place in the hotel.

He was not happy. I was thrilled. His constant companion basically became an overpriced alarm clock for 5 days. Heehee.

There wasn't even any point in using it to check the weather, because every time he did, it said it was clearing, and then it didn't. I told him finally to stop looking, because it was jinxing us.

I'm running out of things to say about day 2, so I'm just going to leave you with a whole bunch more pictures.

What's what: 1. Duomo from the cafe at the Uffizi. Look how low the clouds are on the hills.

2. Rape of the Sabine Women sculpture from the Piazza della Signoria. Amazing.

3. Random painted building which I would like to live in.

4-5. Someone cutting the head off Medusa, and someone else doing in a centaur. Piazza statues again.

6. Interior at the Palzzo Vecchio.

7. Inside of the Duomo.

8. The full piazza - tourists, statues, pigeons, puddles.

9. Copy of Michelangelo's David outside the Palazzo Vecchio. This is where the original stood until they moved it indoors.

How do you decide which statue is worth saving when the piazza is full of amazing art, all of which is worth preserving from pollution and the elements?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 1: In which I am stunned by fashion

So, to get right into it, we flew to Florence by way of Paris and landed on Wednesday. Got to our hotel by a little after lunchtime.

The hotel was probably the nicest European hotel we've stayed in so far - inexpensive (60 euros per night for shared bath) and shabby around the edges, but right smack in the center of everything, which is what matters to me - I'd rather have location than amenities any day, so long as the door locks and the sheets are clean.

It wasn't a room with a view, but the lobby and the lounge overlooked the Arno, so that was close enough for me.

Once we dropped our bags in the room, we ventured out to explore. The nearest corner was Via Tuornobuoni, which turns out to be the street with the priciest fashions in town. I've never seen so many designer names together outside of the September issue of Vogue.

For example: the two corners of our street were anchored by Ermengildo Zegna (yummy menswear!) and Salvatore Ferragamo.

From there, the embarrassment of riches continued on with Armani, Prada, Gucci, Pucci, Gaultier, Missoni (2 stores), Alberta Ferretti, Hermes, Tiffany's, Sisley, Bulgari (2 stores) Tommy Hilfiger (looking very American and out of place) and more names than my boggled brain can retain.

So what does one do when confronted with more fashion than one knows what to do with? Well, if the choice doesn't include bringing it all home, one whips out the camera, that's what one does, and takes pictures of store windows which will later mystify anyone who looks at the vacation photos without knowing me very well.

I was kind this year; I removed all the fashion photos from the CD containing Mario's vacation pictures. He had trouble explaining those last year when he ran them as a slide show at his weekly department meeting.

We did do more on the first day besides wipe the drool from my chin with the nearest pashmina. We walked over to the Duomo and looked at the Cathedral. It's covered in little slices of pink and white and green marble and looks like someone’s really sick idea of a gingerbread house. We found the Palazzo Vecchio and one of the copies of the David statue. We ate gelato. We wandered through the Piazza della Signoria and looked at all the statues and wondered what it's like to live in basically a 14th century city with a severe traffic problem.

We had dinner. One of the reasons I was excited about going to Florence in October was that it's the season for all things I like to eat: game, mushrooms, truffles. I had fresh porcini mushrooms on everything it's possible to eat them with.

That first night’s dinner was in a little restaurant near the Ponte Vecchio called, with staggering originality, the Ristorante Ponte Vecchio. Tourist location, but not tourist food. The customers were about half Italian/half tourist, which is good enough for me. I’d rather go for off-the-beaten path but after an international flight and a day on my feet, 3 blocks from the hotel works just dandy. Dinner was pappardelle with a wild boar sauce (and porcini), followed by rabbit stewed in tomato sauce (and porcini). And a half bottle of chianti.

It was drizzling when we came out, but we still walked a little bit along the Arno before going back to the hotel and passing out cold by 10:00 p.m., trying to adjust ourselves to the new time zone.

The photos in this post: first, an absolutely delicious velvet jacket from Armani. You know how much I want to knock that one off? I don't even think it would be that difficult - it's a piece all about fabric and fit; technically I don't think it would be that complicated.

The second dress is a mystery. I remember taking the photo, and I remember liking the dress, but I don't remember whose it was. Oh, well. I like it anyway.

Next is the Missoni store nearest the hotel. How much do I want that dress in the front, the one with the floor-length scarf? Muchly I want that dress.

The Gaultier. What to say about that? It's like BWOF on steroids - the draping around the neck got me from across the street. Which is not good in a city with unpredictable drivers. Good thing one of us was paying attention.

The Alberta Ferretti pictured at left isn't all that exciting at first glance, but after looking at it, I really liked the high neck with the shoulder/sleeve treatment. The drape to the skirt is interesting. It's just one of those not-exciting-on-the-mannequin dresses that I think would look fabulous on a real body.

So that's day 1. Next up, I promise there will actually be photos that include Florence, although I will say that the first thing I realized when I woke up on day 2 was that it was . . .raining.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I am one weary traveler

We got in last night, around 6:45. Why is it that the trip back is always so much longer? I don't just mean because you don't really want to come home, either. The flight was 90 minutes longer, the headwinds kept pushing us back across the Atlantic at the point where all I wanted was to be home.

By the time we got in, I was ready for sleep, but I stayed awake until it was a reasonably normal bedtime to try to force myself back on schedule. The cats were pathetic in their refusal to admit they missed us; since 6 of them slept with us last night, I can only assume we were missed.

There will be a full day-by-day catch-up of the vacation, complete with too many pictures, but right now I think I need another nap.

I leave you with a photo of my Florentine loot: 2 meters of plaid boucle (claimed to be Chanel); green leather bag from Mario; green fuzzy scarf from Mario; ridiculous shoes (from me to me). Plus a La Mia Boutique and random other small goodies.

Did I mention I'm still tired?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A night at the opera

Yes, I'm still here. Life's just been a little busy lately. The frantic, annoying kind of busy, not the kind of busy you want to run home and blog about.

My elderly aunt has made her decision. She's going to clean out, pack up, move and sell the house.

Correction. I'm going to pack her up, get her moved, impose on the kindness of my friends as many friends as I can find to help me empty out the mouse nest she's lived in for the last quarter century, and then list and sell the house.

Did I mention it had to be by the end of the year?

So I'm not exactly breathing right now.

Plus work has been horrendously busy, especially because we're going on vacation Tuesday and of course you have to pay for a vacation before and after, and that's not counting the credit card bill. I haven't taken lunch in a week, and it's beginning to wear on me. Not that I've stopped eating; when you don't leave the building, you tend to eat junk. Which does not make me feel any better.

On the plus side, Mario got us tickets for Madama Butterfly at the Academy of Music last night. It was a hard ticket to get, and culture always costs too much, so we had nosebleed "obstructed view" seats behind a lovely pole. However, no one apparently bought the nosebleed unobstructed seats to our right, so once the lights went down we moved over and got to see everything.

I didn't take any pictures during the performance. It's not permitted, and I was already sitting in the wrong seat, so I decided not to push my luck. But I got a few nice ones of the curtain, which was covered in kimonos which looked like semaphore flags. Interesting concept. And all those diagonal stripes are making my stripe love wake up and think.

The show was good - no standout performances to me, but overall very well done - but Butterfly gets me the same way Romeo and Juliet does. I just want to reach out and smack some sense into those characters. Do you really want to die because he doesn't love you anymore? Really? And you, second Mrs. Pinkerton, take a good hard look at this guy you married. Sure you want him?

I can be a romantic, but only so far. After that, I want to whack people.

Today I'm still in cleaning mode. I don't want to come home to a messy house, so I'm wearing myself out in advance of vacation making it tidy. I also went out back, braving the cold rain, and brought in about 6 lbs. of green tomatoes. Not all that's left, but all the bigger ones. It was my first attempt at canning and we made green tomato chutney with onion, ginger, garlic, a little cayenne and other random stuff I had around. I felt so accomplished when I heard the lids go "ping!" when they sealed. So hopefully I won't give anybody botulism with their chutney.

I'd like to do more, but tomorrow I'm spending with my aunt to finish some paperwork and give her a list of what she needs to deal with first. I'm focusing on 3 piles - keep, donate and trash. All I want her to think about is the "keep" pile; I'll figure out the rest from what's left behind.

So as I said, vacation is Tuesday. We're off to Florence. Vacation wasn't really in the budget this year, but we managed to wedge it in. We're only going for 5 days, which was the compromise between going for a full 10 days or not going at all. If we wait until we have the money to do it properly, we could be too old to travel. I'd rather have a short vacation when I need one than wait for the perfect trip to happen.

Now if I could just slow down and relax and start looking forward to the trip, instead of looking forward to my escape.

So that's where I've been and what I've been up to.

Sorry about the wine, folks. Wish I had some cheese to offer to go with it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What did I do this weekend?

It's all over blogland by now that several of us were lucky enough to attend Carolyn's get-together this past Sunday. Add in a little retail therapy and some fabric shopping the day before, and you get an all-around fabulous (and exhausting) weekend.

On Saturday, Cidell and Trena came for a visit (Cidell stayed and Trena took the bus back to DC later that day). We met Kisha at Jomar for a short shopping expedition. I only bought 2 pieces of fabric - 5 yards total. I must not be feeling well. Do I count the piece of fabric Trena brought me as part of Saturday's totals? I'll think on that.

Sunday we drove to Carolyn's by way of the Crate & Barrel outlet. My only experience with Crate & Barrel until then was the overpriced catalog, so it was nice to find out that the things that called my name were well within my price range. I bought 4 white footed soup bowls (French onion soup can't go in regular bowls; it just looks wrong), a few little appetizer plates, and, thanks to Renee, 5 yards of Marimekko fabric for new kitchen curtains.

My current kitchen curtains are made from printed sheets, are 8 years old, and were "temporary" until I'd finished the kitchen. Well, it took 8 years to finish the kitchen, so now I need new curtains.

The gathering was just what I needed - a group of creative, fabric-loving women, good food, wine and cupcakes. Energizing! Carolyn was kind enough to let us run our fingers through the button stash, and then we each got to pick something from her fabric closet - it cleared out a little space for her, and didn't add to our stashes because we each brought a piece with us to donate.

So what did I do Monday night and tonight, after being so inspired and energized? Did I sew? Did I sketch? Did I at least trace a pattern? No. No, I did not.

I organized my stash. I tore everything out of the shelving unit, off the knit shelves, and out of the 6 clear plastic tubs in the tall cedar closet, sorted through it, refolded everything, pulled out about 15 yards I didn't want, and put it all away again. It's not completely sorted by color, but the shelving unit is mostly woven, the small shelves are all knit and sweater knit, and the cedar closet is home dec, more home dec, lace and vintage fabrics.

There's a chance I might actually be able to find the fabric for my next project - once I decide what that is.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Simplicity 2552 Cardigan

I'm about to kick off a big sewing-related weekend, so I'm going to take the lazy way out and copy my Patternreview comments here. I meant to do some construction notes through the week as I worked on this, but life and work and family and exhaustion got in the way. It was either sew or type, and I made the right choice.

Pattern Description: Wardrobe pattern including a knockoff of the Michelle Obama inauguration day dress/coat. Also includes a top, skirt and cardigan. This review is for the cardigan only, at least at this point. The cardigan has raglan sleeves, a shoulder dart, and a pleat in the front below the neck band that adds a nice drape to the front.

Pattern Sizing: Simplicity sizes 4-22. I made a size 12 with no alteration other than the standard "shorten here" petite alteration.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?I didn't look at them as I was sewing, but I checked them after and they were fine. This is a very simple, intuitive pattern and went together without issues.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?Interestingly enough, I bought the pattern for the coat/dress and thought that the top/skirt/cardigan was fairly uninteresting. When I bought this fabric, however, the first pattern that popped into my head was this little cardigan. It turned out to be just right - simple lines to let the fabric shine, and an easy fit. Well drafted so that I could tweak it if I wanted to.

Fabric Used: Sweater knit from Emma One Sock. Carolyn made me buy it. Listed as wool/poly/acrylic though she calls it "cashmere" (in quotes). It definitely feels cashmere-like, it itches like wool, and it's as warm as any good unnatural fiber. Since the fabric was sold with the caveat of dry clean or hand wash in cold, and I don't like to dry clean (or hand wash, if I can help it), my options were limited to pieces that didn't need a lot of cleaning.

Any alterations or any design changes you made: I made very few alterations to the pattern. There were some design and construction changes, but I'll start with the pattern. My only change, after tissue-fitting the pattern, was to fold out the petite alteration to change the overall length of the sweater. I could see situations where the original length would work, but for what I had in mind, the shorter silhouette was the right one.

This pattern is meant for stretch fabrics, and while my sweater knit was a stretch to begin with, it didn't end up that way. I loved the fabric, but wool makes me itch, and this apparently had just enough wool in it to get to me. So there went my original sweater idea, since I couldn't wear the fabric against my skin. And I'm not much of a shirt-under-sweater fan, it makes me feel all rumply and untucked. Also, as I said above, I didn't want a piece that would be againt my skin because it would require more frequent cleaning. I came up with the cardigan idea, and then decided that I was going to line it.

From there, I went from lining to underlining. I found a standard lightweight lining fabric in a coordinating green, and I cut lining pieces for every pattern piece. Then I hand-basted the lining to the sweater knit. Since the lining was slippery and the knit was stretchy, I foresaw disaster if I tried to baste by machine. Once I had the two layers basted together, I pin-fit again, liked what I saw, and started to sew the seams. Since the seam allowances would be visible on the inside, once the seams were complete I trimmed them close and zig-zagged over them to neaten the seams. I ended up liking the look a lot; it's very clean and about the best I'm going to get unless I invest in a serger.

My main design change was to shorten the sleeves to right below the elbow and add a sleeve flounce..

The collar is a nice feature - the piece is a curved band, cut on the fold, so there's no stretching, no easing to make it fit. Very nice.

As a side note, I didn't use any interfacing at all in this project. It was of course recommended for the button placket and the collar band, but it was also intended for a different method of construction. Since I was only doing a top closure, I knew I didn't have to do the placket, but I was iffy about the band. After I sewed the band to the cardigan, I pressed the lining band to the inside and pinned it to see how it felt. At that point, I still could have cut an interfacing piece and ironed it on, a little awkwardly, but it would have worked. However, the neck band felt good and stayed nice and flat and stable, so I went without.

For the lining, I hand-sewed the collar band on the inside. I pressed the cut-on facing back (leaving the extra bit of lining on the inside to serve as interfacing) and hand-sewed that as well. I didn't want a lot of visible stitching on this piece. Here's a picture of the cardigan inside out. The one place where I did visibly stitch was the hem - I pulled out the coverstitch. I basted the hem up and then coverstitched over the basting stitches to make sure I contained the raw edge inside the stitching. I love how clean and finished the inside of the cardigan looks.

For the closure, the pattern suggests buttons and buttonholes, but I went for a single closure at the top. I used an oversized snap from Pacific Trims in NYC, and sewed a button on top. The button is an antique, the last of a set of 6 purchased at a Paris flea market last year.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would definitely recommend this - it's a well-drafted, easy to sew pattern that would lend itself to a variety of looks and fabrics.

Conclusion: The perfect pattern for fabric I hadn't intended to buy, and proof that you never know when that pattern you aren't attracted to won't all of a sudden start looking good to you.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Who would I cast

to play me in a movie? Well, thanks to Ann, I had to think about that.

Actually, thanks, Ann, because I had a blog post almost finished about the Tracy Reese dress I'm currently in love with, and Blogger hiccuped and ate it. Grrrr. Bad Blogger.

Ann cast herself as a dizzyingly fabulous combination of Pink, Demi Moore and Glenn Close, all of whom would not only do her justice, but they'd all look good in her new bustier.

Me, I'm Janeane Garofalo. I just am. I would love her to play me. She's a snarky, bright, funny, annoying, sarcastic, smart mouth (and smart ass) - all things I've been called in my life, sometimes affectionately, sometimes not.

And I'll bet she could sew if she thought about it.
So that's me. Who would you cast as you?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

September: Month End Review

Only six items for September, one of which was a muslin. That's only 9 yards out of the stash, and I'm pretty sure I accumulated more than that, even with being uber-virtuous in New York the other week.

First, did skirt-in-an-evening (my TNT a-line skirt from BWOF), using the last of the black and white pinstripe. There was too much to throw out and not enough to put away in the remnant bin, and I knew I'd get plenty of wear from the skirt. I have - I've worn it twice already - but it's not exciting and I haven't taken its picture.

The big project for the month was the Ottobre 5/09 pleated peplum jacket. It's been a while since I've done a lined jacket, and I'm pretty pleased with the result. It's not the most exciting fabric, but looking at the bulk of my projects, I think every once in a while I need to break out and wear something daring, like a neutral color. Or a solid.

But because I can't break out of my multi-colored, multi-printed box quite yet, I put together my TNT KwikSew 3338 tshirt in a graffiti print from Spandex House (my one NYC purchase).

Then I used my Versace embroidered velvet from last June's PR meetup in Baltimore for New Look's 6429 vest. Obviously another shy and retiring print - well, in relation to the graffiti print it is. Maybe.

The rest of the month's sewing was a nightie for myself (basic but necessary - after a while the ratty tshirt look gets a little old) and a muslin for KwikSew's 3258 "Chanel" jacket.

The muslin's coming along pretty well - not perfect in its present state, although it's wearable enough. It gave me all the information I needed to tweak the pattern pieces for the second version of the pattern which, strangely enough, I don't have any desire at all to work on right now.

Part of that could be because I've managed to mislay the buttons I bought months ago at M&J with that jacket in mind. I saw them about 2 weeks ago, still in their little ziplock bag, safe and secure and . . . where? Somewhere in the workroom, that's all I know.

I hate it when stuff hides from me.

It was a wretched week at work - everyone working at full capacity and nothing seemingly getting done, plus I've gone and caught Mario's scratchy throat. Just to ice the cake of my crankiness, it rained every time I stepped out the door today, so I gave up going out and hid in the workroom and puttered around with a few new ideas.

Nothing to show for it yet, but when I was straightening up the other night my big bag of thrift shop goodies fell over and when I was trying to wedge it all back in (10 lbs. of *#&%^ in a 5 lb. bag, anyone?) I found a few things that caught my eye. They no longer look at all like themselves, but they haven't yet assumed their final shape.

More to come.