Friday 25 February 2011

A great song

Otcovy děti: Než přišel On (Before He Came)

mp3 ke stažení zdarma

Sadly, not the whole of it. And this was the only online version I could find to share with you.

It's based on Genesis 1 - 2, 1-3, i.e. the creation story. And it's amazing. Although I guess you won't really get a chance to appreciate it, with it not being whole and being in Czech...

I listen to it from a tape my cousin lent me. I think I'll have to get this album on CD... it's going on my list of things to buy when I have the opportunity. I actually don't love all of the songs so much, but it seems it's not expensive and, oh dear, I want my own copy of this song!

Here's my attempt at translating it into English. Rhymes only where it worked... Funnily, in the refrain it does - the same way it does in Czech, except that it rhymes even more. Otherwise I preferred a more or less literal translation over any crimes on poetry I'd be able to perpetrate.

Before He came
the earth was void, and in the darkness not a tone
Then He came
and ignited a light, lit it like a lampion

Let there be light and with it His might!
And there was day, and there was night - the first day

Before He came
the air did not move, and suddenly a thunder tore the silence
Water and clouds, wind and rain
He spanned over the sky

Let there be light and with it His might!
And there was day, and there was night - the second day

Before He came
the earth was poor, there were no flowers to grow
The He came and sowed the grass
grew a tree in the garden

Let there be light and with it His might!
And there was day, and there was night - the third day

Before He came
the time did not flow, no bell did chime the hours
Just the sun and the moon, night and day
and a million of stars as well

Let there be light and with it His might!
And there was day, and there was night - the fourth day

Before He came
no heart did beat and there were no living creatures anywhere
So let the birds sing and let the fish swim
let the horses run behind the horizon

Let there be light and with it His might!
And there was day, and there was night - the fifth day

When He came there was the whole world
Let the man stand in the midst
And man built a house, lit a fire and in an oven baked the first bread

Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth
And there was night, and there was day - the sixth day

When He came, everything went silent
On the seventh day all bustle ceased
He finished his work - there is the whole world
And there are we and there is Him...

Monday 21 February 2011

Green Saree Regency - the plan 2

I've found my first Regency dress sketch, based on the Sense & Sensibility Regency Dress Pattern.

And I've received a helpful anonymous comment on my first Green Saree Regency plan, explaining that these diamond-back dresses usually closed in front (as I suspected).
Inspired by that comment, the neckline above and all the round gowns I've seen, like the Met one featured in that preceding post, I drew another sketch.
I think this one should finally work the way I want it to.
The neckline is higher than usual. I stick to that. Boatneck necklines suit me.
But the drop-front should make it easier to put on by myself.
I still have to figure out what's going on at the "waist", but that's a minor obstacle now that I've settled on a style. :-)

Saturday 19 February 2011

Literary Heroine Blog Party (and a very long questionnaire)

There are so many interesting blogs on the internet that it's really hard to keep up with them...
Kellie of A Maiden's Musings came up with another fun blog event and giveaway and I noticed three days after the launch. Fortunately, it lasts till 28th, so there's still a lot of time.

So here are my long answers to her rather long questionnaire. It took a shape I did not quite expect at some places (I certainly did not plan to focus so much on Arthur Ransome's books).

What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine?I think a true heroine should be good. And capable of correcting herself if she happens to be not that good.
I’d try to say more on various aspects of her life, but, then, it all depends on who the heroine is and what her life is like, so I guess the two things above are really the essence.

Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to.Titty of Swallows (and Amazons) by Arthur Ransome. Especially in Pigeon Post, when she decided to find water in spite of her dislike and fear of her mysterious abilities... She is imaginative, and yet can be practical. And she likes animals.
And Dorothy from the same books, because she writes stories, and like Titty, is imaginative and yet can be practical (read Picts and Martyrs to see what I mean). I like the careful and supportive relationship she has with her brother, Dick.
Those two I have always related to!
Then there are the characters I wish I were more like.
The rather tomboyish Aravis of The Boy and His Boy. Her character is not 100% good (refer to sentence 2 of my first answer, above), but she has some great qualities, like perseverance and the ability to decide quickly in crisis.
And... I can’t help myself, I’m back at Arthur Ransome. The Swallows' mother, Mrs Mary Walker, is the kind of mother I’d love to be, supportive, imaginative, crafty.

Five of your favorite historical novels?
I do not consciously and deliberately read historical novels – I read various kinds of books. So I’m not sure I can come up with five historical novels, but I’ll try.
Filosofská historie by Alois Jirásek. It’s actually a novella. It takes place around the revolutionary year of 1848. My interest in that time springs from there... It’s quite idyllic, even with the revolutions.
If a long epic poem counts, Pan Tadeusz. Even if it does not.
The Secret of the Kingdom by Mika Waltari.
The fourth could be Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz.
One summer, I read a book by James Lorrimer, which, I think, is called Green Brigade in English (Stříbrná růže / Silver Rose in Czech) – it took place during the 30 Years War (1618-1648), partly in my country, and I loved it. I read it only once. I would love to have my own copy of it but, sadly, it was probably only published once, in 1940s, and it’s hard to get hold of. In my memory, it is the ultimate historical novel. Maybe I’m better off not having it, that ideal might be crushed if I re-read it...

Out of those five books who is your favorite character and why?
Probably Robak, the monk, in Pan Tadeusz. No doubt, in part because of the charismatic film portrayal by Boguslaw Linda. And because of Robak’s life’s story and what he did to amend his faults. Again, he’s not 100% good (quite far from it), but acknowledging it and wanting to do something about it, till the last moment.

If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to - and what would you plan to do there?
Nowadays, my dream vacations are a bit... diversified.
Right now I wish to go to Estonia in summer, helping in a summer camp, and visiting Latvia before that. Which seems to be quite a possible vacation. It would involve visiting Liepaja and Pilsrundale, and possibly Ventspils, and picking blueberries in the forest. Yes.
But I would also love to visit Helsinki. That’s more to the less possible, but still very likely.
And going to Wales, preferrably taking my father with me, because he’s been to Wales several times and loves the country. Yet a bit less possible, and more dream.
And my old dream vacation is going to the Pyrenées, which is mostly dream. I’d have to find someone who would go with me; someone who has experience with mountains, because I have none.

What is your favorite time period and culture to read about?
I think recently I most enjoy the Czech National Revival movement of late 18th-19th century, through the beginning of 20th century to the creation of Czechoslovakia. I think I’m kind of catching up on my country’s history, to compensate for my childhood and teenage years when I loved to read adventurous stories set in exotic places.

You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation - what is your act comprised of?
Singing. In a choir. Given that we get enough time to practice!

If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent?I think I'd choose a heroine out of one of Božena Němcová's fairy-tales. That could be fun. I'd have a beautiful name (because Němcová had a habit of giving her characters beautiful Slavic names), an opportunity to play dress up (and use one of my historical-costumes-in-the-making), and I would represent an interesting character (because Němcová's heroines are usually strong-willed and skillful).

What are your sentiments on the subject of chocolate?I like dark chocolate. Then cocoa. Then the rest.
Bio and Fair Trade are usually the best.
And less is more. Excluding cocoa.

Favorite author(s)?C.S. Lewis, whose thoughts I am so influenced by that I often do not even realise it.
Karel Čapek, who can be both lighthearted and serious, and in both cases is deep and profound.
J.R.R. Tolkien, especially for his descriptions (ha!).
Arthur Ransome (obviously)
G. K. Chesterton
Neil Gaiman, not always, but often.
Tove Jansson,who's also one of my favourite illustrators :-)
Astrid Lindgren, for similar reasons as Čapek.
Lenka Reinerová (see below)

As a small, imaginative, red-haired damsel might query; would you rather be divinely beautiful, dazzlingly clever, or angelically good? Why?Angelically good...
I’m helping prepare a Czech Christian youth magazine; the March issue will be dealing with angels, and one of the articles says that we, too, can be angels, as messengers of God’s word and will and goodness. I like it. It’s something good to aspire to, which actually means to try to do every day. I cannot try at being divinely beautiful or dazzlingly clever, so the last option is actually the best!

In which century were most of the books you read written?20th. I tend to read children’s/young adult books and that genre, sadly, wasn’t truly invented until 20th century.

In your opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is…
Ultimate? Isn’t that too little to ask? I’d prefer a number of great heroes. :-)
As a child, I would have said Winnetou.
Now I’m not so sure. There are various kinds of heroes.

Describe your ideal dwelling place.A house. With a garden. At the outskirts of a town, with a forest nearby. In the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands, because that’s my favourite part of my country (and I cannot imagine living anywhere else than the Czech Republic).
It’s probably from the turn of the 20th century. It has big windows and lots of light, but still rather thick walls that keep the warmth inside in winter.
It has bedrooms in the attic, with walls lined with wood.
It has a roomy kitchen equipped in light wood. (So that I am forced to clean it regularly.)
It has a cool pantry.
It has a room dedicated only to my sewing.
It has a big library.
- Eventually, it could also be a simple log cabin in the woods, but then I would have to figure out where to put all the books.

Have you ever wanted to change a character’s name?Oh yes... I think now that my English is on a certain level, I'm rather annoyed by English names in non-English books when the author does not get it right.
Or Czech names in non-Czech books (or films) when the author does not get it right or uses a stereotypical Slavic name - usually Russian, Polish or Southern Slavic, seldom truly Czech. A. C. Doyle tried to avoid this by using the only prominent Czech name of his time and naming a semi-villain Dvorak. A. Dvorak. Very clever.
End of rant.

In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is...Only of all literature I’m familiar with!
I think Iago is truly awful.

Three favorite Non-fiction books?Talks with T.G.M. by Karel Čapek. It’s difficult to say where Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk ends and Karel Čapek begins. It speaks of a special friendship between an old professor (and president) and a young writer. And, of course, it also speaks about Masaryk’s life and opinions, and Czech history.
No Room for Bears by Frank Dufresne – the first piece of (a certain kind of) environmental writing I’ve ever read, and really enjoyed
Kavárna nad Prahou (Das Traumcafé einer Pragerin) by Lenka Reinerová. A book of creative non-fiction/memoirs. Memories of people from the First Republic (Czechoslovakia in 1918-38). Some of them are famous, some of them I had never heard of before. All of them were interesting.
I've learned now, from the Wikipedia article, that Lenka Reinerová died in 2008. And now I'll never meet her and will never tell her how much I loved her books.

Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon?Picking blueberries. Straight into my mouth.
Then sitting in the sun, but not in direct sun, and reading a good book.
And then, moving into the evening and night, a campfire with my friends, and games and singing and fun.
And because my carefree summer afternoon kind of took the shape of a summer camp afternoon, and I remembered one in particular, I must say I would not mind celebrating Christmas in the evening.

Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a way as will best portray your true character.I have already shared two visual images of my dream hat, including some verbal description. But a bit more words won’t hurt.
My hat is a wide-brimmed straw hat. It shades me from the sun, so that I keep cool in summer heats. It is also fun and pretty to look at, because the brim is embroidered with small flowers. They are ordinary but colourful flowers, daisies, poppies and cornflowers, entwined with ears of grain. It’s a summer hat, and brings summer back into shadier days.

Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year.Probably the decision to participate on the Christian youth magazine. It seems right now it’s taking me somewhere I never imagined to be... in a way, finally truly part of my church. It’s a bit scary. Just a bit.

Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently.Inspired by Hannah of Sequoia and Me, I'm trying to learn Psalm 119. I'm very slow, still at verses 1-8 (memorising things has never been my strong point). But even those eight verses are fascinating.

And lastly, as I am a rather businesslike hostess, may I ask you your views regarding those adorable little items - namely pin back and mirror back buttons? 1). Where would you choose to display a button badge to best showcase your unique style? 2). What image and/or sentiment would most make you smile were it inscribed on your very own compact mirror?1) On my Marimekko shoulder bag. If I had one, which I don't. :D
2) I'd be greatly amused by a mirror that would carry this inscription:
The judge leaned back in his chair with a luxuriance in which it was hard to separate the cynicism and the admiration. “And can you tell us why,” he asked, “you should know your own figure in a looking-glass, when two such distinguished men don’t?”
Father Brown blinked even more painfully than before; then he stammered: “Really, my lord, I don’t know unless it’s because I don’t look at it so often.”
– G. K. Chesterton: The Man in the Passage
Except that this would hardly fit on a compact mirror.

Friday 18 February 2011

On my mind today, family and friends

Continuing in the theme of the last post... On my mind today, the blessings of family and good company.
It won't exactly show, because the only photo of a person is me, but I hope you'll read between the lines.

Me and my sister's borscht, one of the best soups in the world, especially when paired with sour cream like here. (Oh, and no, it's not traditional Czech. Go further to the East.)

- Pinkish purplish t-shirt, second-hand
- Long skirt, dark blue with white and silvery horizontal stripes, second-hand
- Felted bangle, Fair Trade (if I remember correctly, from Nepal)
- My good old watch (featuring a teddy :-) with new leather strap
- Chalice necklace, family heirloom

The watch: I stopped wearing my watch back at Grammar school when I played basketball (badly, but I did), and started using my mobile phone instead. At the trainings, we had to take all our possessions with us to the gym, because the dressing rooms could not be properly locked. I usually threw everything into my bag... the watch together with my keys. Which, naturally, resulted in scratched watch. Recently, I figured out a watch was more useful for checking the time than a mobile phone, especially when running to a railway station with the mobile phone safely hidden in the depths of my backpack...
Oh yes, and I'm wearing it so far down/up on my forearm. It's practical.

The chalice necklace: A Czech protestant variation on cross necklaces... The chalice is a symbol of Czech protestantism, dating back to the 15th century, the hussite movement and, more importantly, the utraquist movement that promoted serving both bread and wine to laypeople at the Communion (I hope this makes sense, I'm not sure about the English words for this). So, in fact, it's a symbol of the Communion.
I got mine from mom, who probably got it from someone else in the family. I wear it almost all the time now.
* * *
Yesteday, I met with my friend as planned. We went to our favourite café (which also happens to be the only café in our hometown, but I think it would be our favourite even if it weren't). Had chocolate/honey cake and beverages to our preference.

Chocolate/honey cake

Beverages to our preference
(blueberry milkshake)

Then we went to her home and she showed me their new sewing machine and her new basketry.
And then we just walked the streets and talked which is how our meetings usually end.
We plan to go to theatre together as soon as possible.

Monday 14 February 2011

I have a family, I passed my exams

Yesterday, me and one of my sisters visited our relatives in a village. Uncle and aunt, and their son (I can never remember how old are my relatives, but I think he's about 9). And our cousin and her husband and 2,5-year-old son and two little twin daughters that were born in August.
It was a bit exhausting, because we had to squeeze the two visits into one day. But great. Seeing them again. Having time to sit down and play a game of Ludo with uncle and aunt and cousin. Aunt was enjoying it immensely. She's a minister, so weekends are usually the busiest part of the week for her, and they don't know the usual weekend chill off other families can do. So, apparently, she was happy that she can play a grown up child once again.
And my little nieces-once-removed - can you call them that? - are so, so cute.

Plus I passed my exams. Some of them so-so, but two of them with an A, including the Renaissance Literature one. Thank you, Mr Hilský and C.S. Lewis! Reminds me I should write to Martin Hilský that his book on Shakespeare I bought and got signed by him in autumn with the hopes of it helping me with the subject really did help a lot. :-) Martin Hilský is THE current Czech translator of Shakespeare, I think he's translated all his works. The book is a book of essays on all the plays and the sonnets and two other poems. And it's a very good read and one of the reasons why studying for that exam was "high fun".
Phew. Finally I have time to meet my friend! We've agreed that we'd leave it till we have passed our exams, and it took me much longer than her. I didn't learn the results of one of the exams until a while ago today.

Oh, and the Museums, Regency and Jewellery tags are here because I found an online, focused photo of the UPM tiara I posted earlier. So, you can see more details of it here.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

I've finished the chemise!

And forgot to post it.

It's really pretty, if I say so myself. Actually, my grandma said so, too. The other grandma than my Wonderful Crafty Grandma. I'll have to come up with a suitable taboo name for this other grandma, because she's actually rather crafty, too. I've just lent her a Burda magazine, because she wants to sew herself 3/4 pants and a summer dress.

The chemise is all handsewn. The neckline is bound with/the neckline drawstring case is made of homemade (and handsewn) self bias tape (seen in progress here). The bottom hem is finished with it, too.

It's the bottom hem that took me so long, because I couldn't bring myself to do it. Laziness, nothing else. It was quite easy.

I think the sleeve hems would look better if they were bias-bound, too. But for now, I'm happy with it the way it is. I love the neckline especially.

For the record, this chemise is more or less based on Regency chemises, and meant for that, but I'll also probably wear it with other styles, e.g. under the medieval dresses. It might not be a medieval chemise, but if the gathered neckline does not show too much under the dress, no one's going to know, right?

The next thing to finish: a case/cover for a window draught block (or whatever it's called). Then, to finish the blue-grey medieval workdress.

I watched F.L. Věk while sewing the hem and got myself all into early Regency. Most of the series actually takes place earlier, and the costume quality varies a lot - none of the ladies have proper 18th century undergarments, I saw Regency long before it could have appeared and a lot of the fancy dresses are just... fancy dresses. The dresses of the village women seem more proper than those from Prague. Other than that, though, the series are AWESOME. (Karel K.'s commentary on IMDb sums it up very well.) And for those of you who love Regency romance, there's that in the last episodes, too, and very sweet. :-) I only don't know if you can get it outside of Czech Republic...

Pictures from the series courtesy of Česká televize.

Radovan Lukavský excels in the series as Václav Thám. Now I count myself lucky that I met him before his death. At that time, I did not really know him, but he was a true pleasure to listen to.