Monday 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas and happy new year!

There. A cheater quilt for Christmas - it's the Lone Starburst block (which I found and fell in love with thanks to Steph), but I've only managed to finish one quarter of it so far (well, one quarter and a bit). So I cheated by computer. But I mean what it says. Have a merry Christmas, hopefully a blessed one, and may you be happy in the new year! And thank you for visiting my little virtual corner. It's good to be able to share.

Saturday 24 November 2012

A little randomly...

My keyboard had been quite criminally dirty for some time. I always remembered to clean it when the computer was on: not a good time. Today, I finally took a rag, some earbuds and a bottle of ethanol and cleaned it thoroughly. My sister said it would be shining with whiteness. I pointed out to her it was grey. She then proceeded on to joke about it "throwing off grey sparkles".
It's not; but for a while there, I was too shy to touch it.

This photo proves there's still some dirt left on the keys; so much for the elevated feeling.

* * *

I made tinted lipbalm, with a lipstick I bought years ago for the purpose of painting on strangers. Well, fellow Grammar school students: there's a tradition in the Czech Republic of the so-called "Last Ringing" - the last day the graduation class goes to school, before the graduation exam, is pretty much a celebration. The students usually dress up as something, and bother everyone else. In short.
So, for that purpose, I bought a cheap lipstick that was not really my colour years ago. And the remnant was lingering around the house until I learned online that it could be used for making homemade tinted lip balm... I liked the idea, but I did not like the fact that the ingredients for homemade lip balm could only be bought in larger quantities than I needed for such an experiment, not exactly cheaply (for an experiment). So I bought a larger container of "Jelení lůj" lip balm instead. That's what could be called the most basic Czech lip balm: literally, it translates as "deer tallow", though it's not (at least the list of ingredients suggests it's not - I doubt there's coumarin in natural deer tallow).

I learned the hard way that pouring melted lip balm into a plastic container was a bad idea (should have realised that); so I used a glass candle holder, incidentally one that my sister has painted. So now I have tinted lip balm in a nautical-themed container. Not bad for an experiment that failed halfway.

* * *

I should be reading Language and Gender for school; instead, I'm reading Is It Fit to Be a Realist?, a collection of literature-oriented essays by Ferdinand Peroutka that father unearthed and I was drawn to by an essay on Chesterton. It's much more fun. *sigh*
(Peroutka's answer to that question: literature should always try to describe reality in some way; not necessarily in the "Realist" way, but a literature that does not tell the truth somehow, no matter how, is pointless.)
I can't help it; anything that contains the word "gender" seems to take itself too seriously. It's not that I would not agree with some of the ideas expressed; it's the way it's treated.
Peroutka is able to make fun of himself, like in an essay / piece of literary criticism in which he scolds a young poet (Nezval) for overusing metaphors and diffusing his meaning...

"It is however difficult to give advice to poets. But it is always possible to say this much, that they should, without trifling, try to come to grips with what they feel and think. A poet's aspiration should be essence, not curiosity. The books Nezval and most of his friends write these days are filled with fleeting interests of one or two years and they will be forgotten very soon. If we keep attending to the new things that have arisen and how we can emulate them, our work will only fill literary history's ditches and others will walk over us. A poet who has not lived twenty years in continuation but only in periods of two years is usually lost to posterity. Lest this seem like a mysterious sentence, I will say straightaway that it is a disputation against fashion slavery."

Peroutka was rather justified in his criticism; even though Nezval is a famous poet (I even own a book by him, and I'm not normally one to read much poetry), the book Peroutka criticises is one I have not heard of before. And Nezval was a bit of a fashion slave: he had always had leftist leanings, but after the Communists took over in 1948, he mostly became famous for writing awfully tendentious poems without much literary merit...
I find myself liking Peroutka for liking the same writers as I do; but he is also able to criticise them for shortcomings I usually find myself agreeing with after all, and writes about things I don't know much about. That's good, too.

Friday 23 November 2012

I ♥ Thursday ~ Giveaway at Kellie Falconer

Kellie is hosting a giveaway. And has a sale going on in her Etsy shop - so if you are looking, perhaps, for hair accessories... I love those felt roses! They're just the perfect size and colour.

And her lace collar tees...

This one's my favourite.

Not to mention the beautiful photos.

In other news, I love homemade yoghurt drink. That sounds fancy; there's nothing fancy about it, just some yoghurt mixed with milk and sugar. But it's a perfect refreshment. (Yoghurt can be homemade, though. :D)

Sunday 18 November 2012

The buttons my grandfather made

My grandfather is a dental technician. Don't freak out just yet; it means he had always had easy access to resins.
That means he could make these:

Resin and ink shank buttons he made for my mom years and years ago. I don't understand the details of working with resin, but it basically sounds like something very easy (if you know how to work with resin) with very impressive results.

They were originally not attached to this bright blue jacket. The buttons that came with it looked like this:

It looked worse in real life than it does on the photo. This very bright, very blue jacket was fitted with greenish-greyish blue buttons; a very wrong colour that made it look shabby, while it is actually so bright and shiny and cool.

I pronounce my grandfather's buttons a big improvement.

(Bright and shiny and cool against a very shabby backdrop.)

Saturday 17 November 2012

I've always wanted to take one of these


Yesterday, I found myself in Prague again (that's a good beginning). More importantly, I found a free Metro newspaper in the metro, with one of those elusive (so far, to me) fabric coupons for a certain fabric shop.

So I thought, if I have enough time let's go and see if I can find something that I actually need (that's the important part) and get it with a discount.

So I went, in the end; and could not find anything I needed. I wanted nice white lightweight cotton for the 1848 skirt. No luck there; I only found brown lightweight cotton, which was very nice, but not what I needed. I wanted cotton shirting, with the idea of maybe making my father a shirt for Christmas. No luck there at all.

So I thought, I don't have enough lining in my stash, let's take a look at the linings. While searching for linings (the shop was rather crowded, probably because more people have found their coupons in the Metro newspaper), I found a remnants rack with satins and the like; mostly the evil polyester stuff. I went through them, just in case. I noticed a burgundy red that could go as a lining with a fabric in my stash...

I touched it, and fell in love. I looked at the label. It was 100% silk.

Not very surprisingly, it went home with me.

Now, the question is, do I really turn it into a lining for that fabric? I'm not quite sure there's enough of the silk. And: It's not so apparent in the photo, but in real life, the colours are not quite the same. The fabric in my stash is a little bit more yellowish than the silk. And it's a mystery fabric (I got it from my friend's mother) and putting a luxurious silk lining into it feels somewhat incongruous with it; I haven't put it through the burn test yet, but my bet is it's not natural fibre.

I want to make a very classic blazer out of it; something like this:

(That's from Mrs Style Book 2006/11)

Silk lining would go well with that, admittedly.

But holding the silk fabric, I also became convinced that it had to become a gift for my mom. I had promised her a blouse... something like this, though worn sepearately:

(The same book. I suspect it's actually a pattern for a stretchy fabric, though.)

But I'm not quite sure if it's my mom's colour, either. The problem with gifts is, you can't check without telling them... I could, alternatelly, turn it into a camisole for her (she deserves a silk camisole; I already have one; it's featured among my "Remake the RTW" plans, though, and maybe I could squeeze two out of the fabric anyway), but then, isn't this fabric too beautiful to be restricted to underwear?

Oh, the troubles a lucky seamstress goes through! If I become convinced enough it's mom's colour, I'll go with the blouse. I promised, and it looks like the sort of style this fabric would shine as. Now, aren't I glad I found a shop that carries silk thread? Oh yes, I am.

Off to read about stylistics. That's a linguistic term, not a fashion one.

Friday 16 November 2012

I ♥ Thursday ~ November 16 (15)

These songs... guitar and singing. They very much remind me of all the campfire singing from my memories. (And sad is happy for deep people, as Whovians know. ;-)

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Vintage shoes, fabric shop and Lebanese and other music

This was meant to be another I love Thursday post, but it got delayed, so now it's an "I love on Tuesday what I fell in love with on Friday" post... and the linky is closed. Also, the length of the post title reflects the length of this post. I somehow need to cram everything that's been haunting my mind recently into one post.

Last time, it was vintage-style shoes perfection. This time, it's vintage shoe perfection.
I saw these in a thrift shop window:

Just by that look in the thrift shop window - a closer look I took - I knew these were special. Not many shoes carry on them the name of a local shoemaker! And they were obviously well-made, and in a vintage style.
So I went in and had an even closer look.

Definitely vintage. For one thing, due to our 40 years of communist rule, the times of local shoemakers in this country were probably somewhat limited. That, together with the style, places these somewhere in the 1930s or 1940s, I think.

Cuban heels.

Honest-to-goodness knock-on Cuban heels. I mean, these shoes are not the cheap plastic glued stuff you'd find today; they're honest-to-goodness leather and cobbled together, which in this case is a good thing.

They are waaaay too small for me. No chance I could wear these. No chance anyone in my family could wear these. No way I could afford a private collection of historical shoes. So at least I took photos, for myself, and for you.
(I was so excited about this shoe perfection that I would have just snapped pictures, wherever; thankfully, the lady at the cash desk - who joined me in praises of this treasure - was of sounder mind at the moment and suggested using the stool as a pedestal of sorts. I still had to use flash due to lack of light, and it's still got the somewhat shabby thrift shop background, but the photos are more civilised. :-)

The street number on the label is not so well seen, but I think the shoemaker resided here. It's the same street where a large fabrics and haberdashery shop, Kalců, is situated nowadays, a bit further down that street. I visited for the first time that same Friday; their fabric selection is somewhat seasonal, something this slow seamstress is not exactly happy about, but they carry 100% wool fabrics - yay! I even saw a 100% cashmere. Of course, the fabrics are priced accordingly, which this student seamstress is not so happy about either; but then, it's good to know I can find quality fabrics when I want to. (And lovers of prints would go crazy over their selection of knits and rayons.)
Moreover, the staff is knowledgeable, something that sadly does not always occur these days. Now I know where to go when I'm not quite sure what I want. Or, alternately, when I'm 100% insistent on what I want...
I was particularly pleased with their selection of interfacing and brought home a piece of nude-coloured slightly one-way-stretch woven fusible that should be perfect for underwear, and invisible zippers for my sister's kathak costume, the one thing that was setting back its creation. And they carry silk thread. One more yay!

Speaking of yay...

I fell in love with two Lebanese pop songs some time ago. I don't understand a word, which is somehow refereshing. :-) I'm not sure what the video above is all about and must admit I do not like the clothes she wears very much, but I love the old lady makeover. :D This is, to me, a bit of a sister-bond song, seeing as I found this song thanks to her and she's the one I can vent my crush on Peter Wingfield and the like on; it's mutual. ;D

And I have no idea why this clip features Prague and Czech folk dancers. Prague is not normally so romantic; it's full of tourists in the tourist zones and the hustle and bustle of a capital city outside of them. The outskirts can be more romantic than the centre. But it's interesting to see it through the eyes of 1999 Lebanese pop. And I love. the. song. very. much.

But not more than I love Mark Knopfler's music. I keep coming back to it. I love Mark Knopfler's music so much that, listening to a song, I keep thinking "best song ever", and then the next song comes, and I'm thinking "best song ever"...

The best song ever is currently the mind-blowing "Planet of New Orleans". It actually makes me want to visit New Orleans. Well done, Geordie boy. :D

Thursday 1 November 2012

I ♥ Thursday ~ November 1

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I've already posted something today... but tomorrow won't be Thursday anymore.

I'm joining this event because it's the perfect opportunity to share these:

The 23Skidoo, new shoes by American Duchess. Why is she doing this to me? :D I can attest to this style being very comfortable. Not that I own these, what with them still being on pre-order (starting today, lasting till Nov 19) - but my favourite black pair is the same style.

Could someone buy me these for Christmas? Please?

Flowery details on the Day of the Dead

Or, as the official Czech name "Památka zesnulých" translates, "Rememberance of the Departed".
It's a bit silly, actually, because of the Czech practice of namedays - first names connected to days, which then people with that name celebrate, sometimes much the same way as birthdays (not in this family). There's no name attached to this day in the calendar, which makes people joke about someone named Památka zesnulých.
It is, usually, actually called Dušičky. That translates as "Little Souls". I'm not very fond of either of those names, though that may also have something to do with the fact that my family never visited the graves as others do. That has something to do with the fact my family's graves are all over the country except my hometown.
But I don't think I'd be fond of Dušičky even if we did that. It sounds stupid. It sounds, almost, derrogatory to those Departed.

Anyway. I got reminded of this by Steph's post that draws from the Mexican tradition. The Mexican tradition sounds like lots more fun. Though, admittedly, the 1st of November weather we have is somewhat more conductive to silent contemplation and the lighting of candles. It's 2 PM as I write this, I'm sitting next to the window, and I have trouble seeing the keyboard. I could use a candle.

Because the usual weather this time of the year is so gloomy, I wanted to light up my greyish-brown, brownish-grey winter jacket.
I got the idea from Poppy Day (which is not really held in the Czech Republic, though some people are trying) and my thought that people in the Czech Republic should start on the 28th of October already, because that's when the Czechoslovak independence was proclaimed.
But from there, it just evolved into something bright and fun to wear with my mostly dull autumn outerwear (I hate the dullness of autumn outerwear with a passion, yet find myself succumbing to it).
Felt flowers. Poppy in this case, at least till November 11, to honour where the idea came from, but I might make more, from what felt I have. Any TARDIS/cobalt blue flowers you can think of? :P

I'm quite happy with how my poppy came out, though the felt is low quality and behaves a bit unpredictably now. I think I'm going to share the pattern with a tutorial. It's relatively simple, and, if I say so, it looks  much more like a real poppy than the ones I had seen online before I decided just to wing my own. If you celebrate Poppy Day, there's still time to make one. :-)

Quite randomly, I looked over the hi-res scan of this old photo again, and noticed that the bodice decoration actually may be something corded. Cutwork, or cording? Either way, it's still lovely, and I still want to apply that principle to my own clothes one day.

Maybe it's one of the ways to revive something dying in the back of your wardrobe?

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Porta Coeli and other things

As I mentioned in the previous post, I visited Porta Coeli recently. What is Porta Coeli, you wonder?

It's a monastery founded in the 13th century, in Předklášteří, which is sitting just next to Tišnov, which is near where Lomnice is. Tišnov's really the centre of the area, though. I'll show you pictures of Tišnov later, hopefully.

Porta Coeli is a beautiful women's monastery built in the so-called Burgundy style, which has nothing to do with the colour and, as far as I know, everything with the country. Anyway, the point is, it's an architectonic style that combines features of the Romance style and the Gothic style and makes for a very, very pleasant whole.
Of course, there are later features added; e.g. the altar in the church is Baroque.
But the church in question has a beautiful portal; famous, too, at least in the Czech Republic. You hear it mentioned all the time, when Gothic architecture is discussed.
It's very much reminiscent of the church portals I've seen in France; rightly so, as it's a French style.

It was raining rather heavily on Saturday when we visited, so I could not take any photos from the outside, and photography's not allowed on the inside. So no photos from me, just that postcard.

There's also a museum, with an exhibition that explains some of the history of the monastery and an old collection of minerals and fossils upstairs, situated in a narrow corridor, so it looks a lot like some kind of slightly neglected school, and houses fascinating specimens from all over Europe and maybe further. We nearly missed our train back.

The entrance fee is hilariously low. With my ISIC student's pass, both entrance fees plus the postcard cost me only 42 CZK. That's about... a loaf of bread and a cup of rather dismall coffee from a vending machine, to give you an idea.

Or just a little bit more than a small kettle of honey-sweetened tea and a sweet treat in a shop in Tišnov.

And to end on that light note... This is a fun photo from their photogallery: "Sister with brother snowman"

* * *

As I also mentioned in the previous post, I'm reading Emma for school. Emma was one of the books by Austen I had not read yet. (My naming my sewing machine Ema had nothing to do with it. No irony.)

Emma's enjoyable. Though I think I would not have enjoyed it so much earlier, without having read some other things first.

* * *

I'm still, shame on me, working on the blue-grey medieval dress. It got set back by the unpleasant discovery that, for some reasons, the sleeves I spent so much time perfecting are actually a tad too tight when made up. Now, anyway.
I'll have to do something about that. It just lay around somewhere for a long time, a little disappointment, pushed away by other projects.

Now it's in the work again, a portable (if somewhat bulky) handsewing project; but I'm working on the eyelets.
I love that I can make such neat eyelets, and I love my little triangular/arrowhead tacks. My first time making them. It's fairly intuitive.

It's why that TARDIS blue box I mentioned in the last post is lying around.

Monday 29 October 2012

The Doctor Who Blog Party!

I am almost too late for this; I lost track of time, what with visiting Porta Coeli and reading Emma for school... (yay!) But here it is, anyway!

Doctor Who Blog Party - October 22nd

1) If you decided to name your first born child after any Doctor Who character, male or female, who would it be?

Well, there is that little problem of the companions being British and me being Czech… I’ll go with Mickey. I love the name Michael, and I like Mickey Smith. He grows from the bumbler he is in Rose, through the “tin dog“ stage (sorry, Mickey), into a hero.

2) What is your favourite colour of the Doctor's shoes?

Not very surprisingly, I love the red ones; they clash so wonderfully with the rest of his outfit.
Though I’m also rather fond of Eleven’s non-descriptive ones. Given how he came by his outfit, they make a lot of sense...

3) Look around yourself and name the one thing that is TARDIS blue in your house!

Right now, in my sight, a plastic box that formerly held ice cream and now houses some of my sewing supplies. It would be nice if it were bigger on the inside, come to think of it...

4) If you could pick who plays the Twelfth Doctor which actor would you choose and why?

Peter Wingfield. I’d rather like seeing an older actor tackle the job... (again...) And I have a major crush on Peter Wingfield. I love his looks, and I love his voice.
(Plus he’d played old characters with complicated history before.)

I first saw him as Colonel Stryker’s sergeant in X-Men 2, a cameo role at best, and I thought, “What is such a handsome man doing there being a minion?” As I said, major crush.

5) The Doctor is going back in time again, which historical era should he visit?

I started with the vague idea that a lot of important things happened in the decade of 1305-1315. Sure enough, they did. William Wallace, William Tell... look up the rest.

My Nr.1 vote for that decade is for the Doctor to go to Moravia in 1306, namely Olomouc, and find out who it was that murdered Wenceslas III, the last Přemyslide Czech king. It remains a mystery to this day. Historical murder mystery! Just the thing for the Doctor.

My Nr.2 vote for the era is the whole Swiss history tied to William Tell.

6) Would you REALLY go with the Doctor in the TARDIS?

I’d peek in. As to going in the TARDIS somewhere else... well, that would depend. On lots of things, like my other current plans, my mood, the place he’d want to take me... whether he’d really want to take me...

7) Who's your favorite Doctor and why?

Ten. Rather obviously, again. Everyone loves Ten, right? He’s got the hair, he’s got the eyes, he’s got the smile, he’s got the coat... the shoes... the fun and the sad...

8) Would you be afraid to spend Christmas in London?

No. Well, not because of aliens, anyway. I prefer to spend Christmas in my own small hometown, though; it’s calmer and nicer on the whole. (Though I would like to visit London one day.)

9) Do you look at an ordinary screwdriver and think 'this could be a bit more sonic?'

I used not to, but recently I was cleaning my sewing machine, screwing away the feed dogs cover (or whateveritscalled), and sure enough, I looked at my little screwdriver and saw how fiddly it was, even what with being a better screwdriver than the one that came with Ema originally, and thought it would be so much easier with a sonic specimen.

10) Angel statues, plastic mannequins, Christmas trees - what ordinary everyday object would you love to make an object of terror to Whovians were you Steven Moffat?

And television sets... and GPS driving thingummys...

Vending machines. Those things are rather evil already. Namely the tickets vending machine at the train station in my hometown. It ate my money several times. Without giving out a ticket, I mean.

11) The TARDIS lands in your garden and the Doctor steps out. What is the first thing you say to him?

I’d probably just stare.
Or rush out with a camera (ha, ha).

Maybe something like “Hey, this is our garden! Go crush somebody else’s mint!”
Not very companion-worthy, eh? I’m rather partial to the mint. I bought the plant myself.

12) Who is your favourite actor who has played the Doctor so far and why?

Again, obviously, David Tennant (though I’ve only seen the last three Doctors so far). It’s definitely also because he played the Doctor for so long, so we really got to know him... but he got to play the Doctor for so long because he was so good at it! He gives him heart, and a depth, and he’s a lot of fun to watch! And I like his voice, too, the way he says things.

13) Have you seen any Classic Doctor Who? If so, which Doctor/episode(s) is your favorite?

Not yet. Want to!

14) Which are the creepiest, scariest and all-out meanest baddies in all the Who-niverse?

I have to agree with Natasha, the Silence are creepy... and after all they can do to you, you cannot even remember them. Eeek!
Though Cybermen scare me a lot, see below.

15) Who is/are your favorite Companion(s) and why?

Donna Noble. Very narrowly, I have to say; I like all of them, I think. I mostly like Donna because her and the Doctor are so much fun (that miming scene when they meet again was totally hilarious). And she rocks that 1920s dress, with a decidedly non-1920s figure, giving all non-planky women the hope of being able to do the same if we want to. :D (Hey, this is a Dress Diaries.) And because she really comes into her own with the Doctor; what happened to her – not being able to remain who she has become, not being able to retain any of it – was really terrible.

16) Did you cry more watching Doomsday or The Angels Take Manhattan?

I haven’t seen The Angels Take Manhattan yet myself, either. As for Doomsday... don’t make me think about it.

17) What is your favourite quote from the show?

Probably “It’s a thing in progress. Respect the thing.” It kind of sums up my own creative processes. :D

18) Which Doctor (including all previous regenerations) would you most like to be the companion of, and why?

Even though I like watching Ten so much, I think I’d prefer Nine in real life. Eleven would go waaay over my head.

19) Which of the following are you more scared of, the Daleks, Cybermen, or the Weeping Angels?

The Angels scare me on screen... and the idea of not exactly being able to escape them and not being able to afford losing them from sight...

Though the idea of Cybermen, previously human, making humans into their kind... with the idea of bettering them by doing that... that’s actually a fairly real-world sort of creepy. *shudder* And painful, too.

20) Who are some of your favourite guest stars in the series?

Zoe Wannamaker as Cassandra. I love Zoe Wannamaker; she’s so versatile. I didn’t even realise it was her until I saw her in close-up in New Earth!

But I think I have yet to see an actor on Doctor Who whom I would not like on the show. It’s that good.

21) What was your first experience with Doctor Who and how did you hear about the series?

I think I first learned of its existence through some costuming sites; and saw some costumes from the Classic Doctor Who on some auction site. (One of them was Five’s outfit, which I love, BTW.)

Then I read about the new Doctor Who on Neil Gaiman’s blog, and was mildly intrigued. Then more intrigued. And more. It started popping up everywhere, so I think I even saw some videos on YouTube...

Then I simply started watching it. Well, simply... for some reason, I started with Season 3, so my first Companion was Martha Jones, and kind of still is, sorry, Rose-lovers. I loved the Doctor’s quirkiness, but if it weren’t for Shakespeare Code (which contains Renaissance literature and Harry Potter – I cried, too, Doctor), I may have been put off by the blood-sucking alien of Smith and Jones... The blood-sucking Miss-Marple-style-adorable old lady. *shudder*

22) The Ninth Doctor said, 'Fantastic!', Ten said, 'Allons-y', and Eleven says, 'Geronimo'; what would you like to be the signature exclamation of the Twelfth Doctor?

Phew, no idea! Half the fun of it is how they say it anyway! You know, in this setting, you can throw almost anything their way, and they'll turn it into something fabulous.

23) If you were trapped in an episode, which one would it be?

Oh, I bet it would be Don’t Blink. I like old, half-abandoned places myself... I could very much relate to Sally Sparrow in that respect; that house was awesome.

24) Which is your favourite episode with each Doctor (Nine, Ten and Eleven)?

Nine – hard to tell, there are so few of them, and each has something special about it. I guess The End of the World, though I don’t like how Rose and the Doctor spend the large part of that separated (and the Doctor does not care so much yet).

Ten – I have a soft spot for Shakespeare Code, because that’s the episode that sold me on the whole Doctor Who! It’s the episode that kind of encapsulates everything that’s fascinating about Doctor Who for me.
Though there are lots and lots of fantastic episodes with Ten, some of which I also mentioned somewhere above. I won’t try mentioning others, because there are so many of them!

Eleven – Hmm... The Doctor’s Wife, because it’s got Neil Gaiman’s sort of awesomeness in it (and, you know, watching the Doctor argue and converse with... the woman... is fantastic). And Vincent and the Doctor, because it’s got art, and another of my favourite quotes: “Is this how time normally passes? Reeaally slowlyy... in the right order.”

Oh, and I also love the fez. How can anyone not love the fez? The fez and the mop; it’s so hilariously random, and hilarious randomness is one of the best things about this Doctor!

25) After watching a certain Doctor Who episode, did you summon up the courage to try fish sticks and custard?

No. Custard did not much agree with me on its own (lemon custard, that is), so I dread to think what that combination would do to me! And ladies (and gentlemen), it’s fish fingers!

Saturday 20 October 2012

Frosting, or Cake?

When Steph announced the Frosting Fortnight, my reaction was, basically, “I won’t participate because of practical obstacles.” One of those being the fact that constant travelling between home and school with a backpack is not conductive to wardrobe experiments.
But it must have been lurking in my subconsciousness, because these are the pieces I was wearing to school this week:

Well, compared to the black corduroy trousers and black wrap cardi of last week, this is definitely frosting.

Sweater – clothes exchange (the same old, same old)
Blue T-shirt underneath – thrifted
Skirt – thrifted (80% wool and velvet trimmings!)
Stockings – from a shop in Brno
Boots – thrifted
Silk scarf - thrifted

The boots and the skirt both come from a thrift shop in my hometown; it’s a small shop, full to the brim and then some. The lack of personal, or really any, space makes it very difficult to search for clothes; but all in all, the majority of my thrifted favourites come from there.
The skirt, though shorter, is a replacement of the one I’m sewing the spencer from now. It’s the skirt’s first outing; I bought it sometime this spring, but the lining had to be shortened (it kept peeking out) and then it was too warm for a thick, 80% wool skirt.
I actually pulled this together on Sunday, and wore it to an editorial board meeting of the youth magazine I volunteer for, and to church. So, technically, this is my “Sunday Best”; only I’m wearing it in the week, too.

But the idea of “Sunday Best” connected to the idea of “frosting” makes me wonder.
“Sunday Best” could be the special occasion clothes that are extremely uncomfortable and you hate wearing. Thankfully, that was never my case.
Or it could, simply, be special occasion clothes, the best you have.
There’s nothing wrong, per se, in wearing special occasion clothes to church. It’s an occasion that requires a certain level of, let’s say, respect.
But “frosting” is special occasion clothes.
“Sunday Best” is “frosting”.
Is going to Sunday service frosting?
In my opinion, and in my personal experience, it’s rather the cake that everything else in the following week should be built on. Is it?

This takes me to another thing. I’m beginning to agree with the parts of the world that begin their weeks with Sundays. You see, in the Czech Republic, Sunday is the end of the week. The end of the weekend.
In some ways, that’s a good way to do it: the weekend is really a week’s end, for one thing.
But in other ways, it’s completely wrong. It makes Sunday into an end of something instead of the new beginning it really is. And I am afraid that very often, for people in the church, Sunday is just a frosting at the end of the week, instead of the cake, the basis, the hope for the week to come. Many times, it has been so for me.
(This Sunday’s sermon was on the stone of Ezer in 1 Sam 7, the markers we make in time to make sense of it and remember the good things that have happened. And it was, clearly, another thing lurking in my subconsciousness.)
But as the calendar above proves, my church actually also prefers to ignore the Czech standard and to begin the week with Sunday.

I said (in a comment at MrsC’s blog) that I am not a cupcake girl. It’s true. It’s important.
Because while the Frosting Fortnight is being advertised with this blog button...

Frosting Fortnight

... my cake looks like this and the frosting is sweetened with honey.

This is not a critique of cupcakes and pink frosting. It’s just an attempt to explain why my frosting takes the form it does.

(Though it fails to explain why I am seized by an urge to make an 1840s evening gown for a Wild West themed January ball I learned about on Sunday. I haven’t finished my other costumes yet and I can’t even dance...)

Monday 15 October 2012

The burgundy-black 1850s dress from the Třebíč museum

Since Lisa said this one was her favourite, here's more of it. ;-)

All the images are clickable and should lead you to larger versions on the Rajče site, BTW; the same applies to the previous posts from Dačice, too.

This is the day bodice. It features what raters in The Dreamstress's Rate the Dress consider the bane of Victorian fashion: fringe. It also features (the whole dress, actually), one of my favourite trimmings: velvet ribbons.
Three- or four-tiered sleeves, echoing the tiers in the skirt (I don't remember and cannot determine from the photos whether the upper tier is just a yoke like on the skirt, or a separate flounce).
An interesting variation on fan-front with a deep V neckline and a neckline insert (though experts on 1850s fashions may tell me it's normal, I don't know). And a strange peplum treatment on the bottom front that I cannot quite wrap my head around. More on that further on.

A blurry look at the sleeves. The bottom two tiers feature velvet trim.

The front "insert" is actually two-piece, now that I look at it: it opens/closes in the front, though I am unable to determine what kind of closure it is. Hooks and eyes?

This detail photo is blurry, but you can see how the edges overlap in the front center.

And here's a closer look at the peplum. At some point, I think, the side pieces go separate from the fan-front; the question is, is it meant to go under like this, or on the contrary, was it meant to go over? Is it interchangeable and the curator chose to display it like this, or does the construction actually prevent it from going over? Or is this whole thing just a result of it sitting on a manequin instead of going over the full skirt, and did it actually originally sit at the sides of the fan-front?
I'm puzzled.

Other blurry photos; this time, from the back. Cute little tails. :-) And trimmings enhancing the sloping shoulder cut of the bodice. The sleeves are rather rumpled from this side and the blurriness of the photos prevents further examination, but I do believe there is some gathering going on, because some of that is apparent from the front as well.

And the evening bodice. I loved the evening version. The trimming is just the right amount: not too much, not too little. The "bertha", pleated vertically like this, is lovelier than the more usual versions that are pleated horizontally, don't you think? It actually reminds me more of 1840s styles, so perhaps this is late 1840s / early 1850s.

And notice the running stitch inside the sleeve. I believe this is what attaches the trim.

From the back: it laced - spiral-laced. (The coloured spots are heads of pins holding it to the manequin.) The bodice is very clearly, visibly boned.

Side view with the sleeve.

And some detail looks at the skirt.

The attachment of the top tier.

The tiers are bias-cut and attached to the skirt in a manner / stitch I'm unable to name; each tier ends a bit higher than the other attaches, which makes it easier to determine the construction. :-) Also, the tiers are not that gathered: the fullness of the skirt comes rather from the gathering on the underskirt itself (and, obviously, some foundation underneath).