Saturday 29 June 2013

The Secret Life of Bloggers: Summer begins

World Turn’d Upside Down

My second and last post in the series...

2013-06-04 Monday
Banana and chocolate; my sister "splurged" on a snack and each of us got a bowlful. ;-)

2013-06-25 Tuesday
Waxing (?) leather, including my beloved red belt and this no less beloved pair of shoes. I've had them since 2007; they already had their soles (and insoles) repaired once and they're in need of another repair at the heel. Which they will get, sooner or later. I think they were Slovakian in origin...
They started out as suede, but some parts are now nearly smooth, so I went ahead and waxed those parts - it improves the leather's flexibility considerably and is supposed to make it water-proof, too. I brushed them thoroughly afterwards to retain some of the original texture.

2013-06-26 Wednesday
I went back to Brno for just two days. I handed in my last essay, and my summer officially began... It was 12 Celsius in the evening and did not feel much like it.
A barbecue party with the English Evenings group (where my sister goes fairly regularly and I go very, very occasionally; but I was very glad to be there this time). Food and games. This was a creative game where the purpose was to create something out of food that would represent one of the themes discussed during the semester. I did not take part in this game, because I felt sleepy at first (which, I later realised, must have been because of my sister's Latvian-inspired garlic-and-dill dip). So I just took pictures.

2013-06-27 Thursday
We went to that Indian/Nepalese restaurant again, which was very nice as usual, and then went back home. After a week when it was about 24 Celsius in the house, the temperature dropped back to 20. It feels cold in comparison, but it's a nicer temperature to sleep in, I think...

2013-06-28 Friday
I finally started sewing with that bedding from the beginnings of this blog. It took cutting and sewing a thin slippery silk to finally gather up the courage to measure out and sew a large rectangle of this... I think it's a good thing I took my time, though. This damask stretches out unexpectedly (probably due to its irregular twill weave), and I think I would have freaked out about it and messed it up back when I found the fabric. Now I just steam-pressed it into better submission, without much further thought. One duvet cover down, minus buttonholes, one more to go.
Also, I got a regular plain heavy-duty leather belt from mom. Heavy-duty is rather guaranteed: she said she had got it in an army shop. :D The thin red belt had gotten much wear since I found it, so I'm glad to have another one for casual wear. I got spoiled by the leather and could not warm up to other belts I've run into... (Well, with one exception, but that's not very casual.)

And, after the end of the blog party, this:


This is my Christmas gift from my sister, finally arrived! I went all wide-eyed, to finally hold it in my hands. More stashbusting in my future: I have not used that blue-grey knit yet, busy as I was with many other projects (and generally lazy, too). I'm glad it has sat unused till now, because now I'm (hopefully) going to have the perfect dress.
My sister (other) wants one, too - she fell in love with Tiramisu around the same time I did, in Steph's samples stage. My sister wants a maxi version, though. I'm very gratefull that Cation Designs has made one, because now I can envision it better. But I don't have the fabric for her version. :-/

Friday 28 June 2013

This would have been me

Auguste Toulmouche: Dans la bibliothèque, 1872

I ran into this picture on Pinterest (ha!), but it's taken from Wiki. I would have totally worn that dress (plus some short sleeves, that is), and I would have totally read like that, and stood like that, because I already have - see my profile picture. As a Whovian, I imagine this would be the time-traveller me. I can guarantee you I'd go straight for the bookcase.
And now I want a bookcase like that, too. And to wear that hairstyle.

I love those books haphazardly left open on the chair. I do that, too, even though it's bad for the books. I just never have enough bookmarks.

Tuesday 25 June 2013

UFO - Transitional wrap stays / jumps / brassiere

It's actually a FO.

Well, more of a working prototype that's terribly patched together, but considering the prototype had been a UFO for a very long time, I feel good checking it off the mental list.
Inspired by the famous Kyoto Costume Institute pair of wraparound brassiere and a brassiere based off it that used to be sold in the online Jane Austen shop (but cannot be located now I found it), which had a back, I tried to make my own transitional undergarment. It was back before I had read up more about corsetry, though. So, stupid yours truly made the pattern from a modern sloper, and just took the ease off unscientifically (as we say in German/English-infested colloquial Czech, "baj voko"). Of course it was not tight enough in the important spots (and I had no idea what the important spots were until I found out they were not tight enough), so a lot of crazy alterations happened, and it took me much longer to make than by rights it should have, because somewhere along the way it got thrown away as a UFO I did not feel up to perfecting at that point.

The imporantly tight / fitting part: the back. I had to shorten the straps first. Darts were added to the back and a panel to prolong it was added (because it rode up when I shortened the straps), again it was not tight enough on the bottom, so a gathering line of stitching was added (now hidden underneath the binding). It's far from perfect.

But in spite of all the trouble and not quite perfect fit, I think it gives me a fairly nice transitional late 18th century / early 19th century silhouette. Compare here. I definitely want to make a finalised pattern, maybe with lacing up the front instead, like folk bodices or some transitional stays I've seen in online collections, and give it another go with a better fit.

Unlike the inspiration pieces, my brassiere is just corded, not boned (with some of the last hemp cord I found at home - ordinary shops no longer carry it here! Horrible. I'm still re-considering what to cord my stays/jumps proper with.) So I guess it would qualify as transitional jumps?

After I took these T-shirt photos, I found out it fit better if I pinned it together in the front centre, as seen in the photos above. So these are not quite as representative of the fit as I originally thought, but still.

For comparison, two photos with a modern day bra, one that goes from normal (first photo) to push-up (second photo). There's not that much difference between the push-up and the jumps / stays, other than the additional bulk (chemise + wrapping stays? Definitely adds bulk) and the smoother, less separated front. (I was wearing a very clingy T-shirt, so it all shows well...)
It wears very differently, though, not that surprisingly. It took me a while to figure out the best way to put it on, but now that I have, I actually find it more pleasant to wear than a bra, maybe because currently all my bras do not quite fit either... I even fell asleep in it, in my not-quite-healthy-yet stupor. It survived nicely and felt much better than falling asleep in a bra. (All those solid metal and plastic parts in bras...)

 I don't know, there's something pleasanter about this look, even if it's just undergarments and a Frankensteined one at that:

Must be the clingy T-shirt as opposed to nice drape-y woven.

Oh, and it's not just a UFO FO-ing project, it's also a scrapbusting, stashbusting project. Namely, the binding. I had to start somewhere.

Just the facts, ma'am:

The Challenge: HSF's #2 UFO + The Stashbusting Sewalong's January Itty Bitty Pieces theme, but finished after the deadline for the former and posted much later due to lack of good photographing weather and laziness on my part.

Fabric: Old cotton damask duvet cover, a plain weave cotton scrap for reinforcing the added back bottom section, plaid cotton twil-weave flanelette scrap of mysterious origins and a beige cotton remnant (namely this one) for the binding.

Pattern: Made by me, very wrong

Year: 1790-1800ish.

Notions: Hemp cord for cording, cotton (or is it linen?) ribbon / tape for ties, white cotton thread

How historically accurate is it? I'd say... about 10%. Totally winged, mostly machine-sewn.

Hours to complete: No idea whatsoever.

First worn: Dabblingly probably in January, but the full, heavy-duty wearing occured this month, at home. Not worn out yet.

Total cost: Most of it was ancient stash = zero cost; the spool of thread was about 40 CZK, I think.


Behind the Scenes: Star Trek Original Series - The Trouble with Tribbles. I've decided that Kuusi is a Tribble in cat form. This photo was taken around the time it was finished. He is bigger now.

My options for cording the stays proper: A twisted cotton cord, too thick and likely to unravel. A thin (baker's twine thickness) linen cord, probably too thin. I have a haunting feeling that I must have got another idea at some point and forgotten it again.
My unfortunate jumps prototype got lucky.

And I really, really want to make this dress one day:

Portrait of Anna Maria Frederike von Taube, lady in waiting to Dorothea von Medem, by Anton Graff, 1780s, currently exhibited in the Rundāle Palace, Latvia. Photo taken by my father and edited out by me. (That dark rectangular shade at the right was the shadow of an infoboard or something.)
Now uploaded to Wikipmedia Commons as well. I asked father to take a photo of it with his better camera because I liked the dress; it turned out to be a painting by a famous author not published anywhere online yet. She is a mystery lady.

I think she's wearing something like jumps. Or could be.

Monday 24 June 2013

The Secret Lives of Bloggers: Bloggers fall ill

I had to stop myself from writing "Bloggers fall ill, too", which would have been a paraphrase of "Bloggers Die, Too", the title of a blog and a never finished story by Groggy. Which goes quite well with the theme of "Secret Lives of Bloggers". I came to internet-know Groggy through the Sergio Leone Web Board; if we were both defined by what our blogs contain, we would probably never cross paths. I only comment on his blog occasionally (because I have seen only a tiny portion of the films he so expertly reviews), and he never comments on mine.

World Turn’d Upside Down

Stephanie Ann came up with this fun idea to document our day-to-day life to break away from that urge to show picture-perfect sides of ourselves on our blogs (which, let's be honest, can be sooo stressful!). I liked the idea, when I visited her blog about a week into the project, and I started taking photos of my day-to-day proceedings. (It was a nice way of trying out my new camera purposefully, too.)
And then I fell ill in my school flat, with slow internet connection and an old memory card reader in my old computer that did not read my new 16 GB memory card. So I have quite the load of photos and boring memories to share now!

2013-06-06 Thursday
Homemade noodles to put into soups. I made them a bit too big, and then spent more time cutting them even smaller, pretty much one by one. I need to master the technique for this... it might have something to do with the fact that the small roller pin I got for my school flat turned out to be ineffective for the firm chewing-gummy dough and I had to use a bottle to roll it out, so it came out quite thick.

2013-06-07 Friday
The essay box, a fixture I became rather closely acquainted with in the weeks to come (one more essay to hand in still remains as of now). How, with my nose full and my head aching, I managed to hand in several essays and get two As and one B is quite beyond me... I guess it means I've got the hang of essay writing by now. Or, that Someone is watching over me...

2013-06-08 Saturday (photo actually taken on Sunday)
Leavened apple slices/whatever. It mysteriously came out tasting of soap or something, which in the end I figured was probably because I must have washed the wooden spoon I mixed the dough with in saponate and not wash it out enough, unknowingly. It was a big pity, because other than that mysterious aftertaste, it came out great. We ate it for days...

2013-06-09 Sunday
And here it begins. I woke up with a sore throat and running nose, and did not go to church. In the afternoon, I had a fever. Here, a ginger tea I used to cure my throat. Accompanied by the usual mess at the kitchen working desk, which got much worse as both me and my sister remained ill.
To the left, you can see a Hollandia yoghurt (one of the two best brands in the Czech Republic, IMO, the other being Choceňský jogurt), and a half-used packet of yeast remaining after Saturday's somewhat failed effort. As I was unable to knead more dough in the days to come, I mixed it with some sugar and milk in the end, and drank it as a vitaminiser (is that a word?). Seeing as yeast contains vitamin B.

2013-06-10 Monday
About as much as I was able to do at this point, other than sleep, drink (lots) and eat (a bit), was sitting with my sister at her computer and play Mahjong with her, or watch MASH.

2013-06-11 Tuesday
Over several episodes of MASH, I managed to finish another handkerchief, one I started on my sewing machine. Two of the corners are not very nice.

2013-06-12 Wednesday
You can't take appetising photos of cough syrup. However, cough syrup meant I was getting slightly better: no more sore throat or dry cough.

2013-06-13 Thursday
I dragged myself to the library and somehow finished and handed in another essay. These are writings that are to be found in one of the toilets. Some young ladies with nail polish were bored... Nail polish, and black marker, and ball-point pen, which can be barely made out in real life and not in the photo. You can see what ugly colour the wall is. The library is a modern building of steel and glass and concrete, and the colour scheme is built around that concrete grey. UGLY.
But covered with vines from the outside. That, at least, is nice.
(Plus, the library is still probably my favourite place to be in the school, because, hey, books and computers with better internet and nice and quiet!)


2013-06-14 Friday
The sight of a hot-air balloon above the house across the street is a welcome diversion.

2013-06-15 Saturday
Another defining feature of the days of illness: pancakes with plum jam (povidla). You can see how the filth has been accumulating on the working table. To the left of the pancakes, a tiny glimpse of the bag with my noodles. Was I glad that I had made them!

2013-06-16 Sunday
Another seventh day not kept (I'm not a big stickler for no work - cooking at least has to happen -, but I do try to relax on Sundays). When you're stuck ill away from home, you have to wash your clothes sooner or later, and you have to wash them when you feel strong enough to do it when there's no washing machine.
The washing board was one of quite many things we got from an old couple we worked for/helped out at home last year (mom still goes there at times).

2013-06-17 Monday
Finally feeling relatively well, we went to the Indian restaurant we occasionally go to to share a midday meal. (It comes quite cheap that way.) The restaurant is amazingly shabby, and the food very tasty. And mango lassi!!!

My sister left.

It got hot. Very hot. I had to keep the curtains drawn during the day, because the windows are facing more or less to the south, and they are large windows!

2013-06-18 Tuesday
In those hot days, I took to wearing my chemise and my very Frankensteined attempt at transitional wrap jumps (more on that experimental project later) at home.
I came to Brno when it was still cold, and all I had by way of outdoor clothes were black corduroy trousers and high lace-up boots. Eugh!
Fortunately, I also had my wear-at-home skirt and pumps I wanted to wear to a special occasion I did not get to.

2013-06-19 Wednesday
On the way home. The skirt was good. The pumps less so: they are faily new (second-hand, but apparently the previous owner did not wear them much); in the hot weather, my feet were swollen and it chafed. A lot. I still have band aids on some places...
(Do not worry; the pumps do fit. It's just not the best of ideas to wear fairly new shoes in hot weather, on bare feet. Do not do that if you do not really have to.)
Late that night, I arrived to my hometown, and walked home barefooted. The pavement was still warm and it was rather pleasant.

I arrived home to find three letters from Australia, from a recipe swap on Down to Earth Forums. Yay! Made my day, especially this Echidna.

2013-06-20 Thursday
Can you guess what this is?

2013-06-21 Friday
It finally rained again in the night, but it still was hot during the day. If you look very closely, you can see some drops on this rose... It's been in our garden for a long time. It never looks like much in the spring, and then it blooms again, a lovely yellow rose.

I forgot to take a photo on Saturday. Those two days were busy anyway, working in a friend's home where I go to help out with the cleaning work. Every now and then, it's more than the regular dust and floors.

2013-06-23 Sunday
I finally made it to church again! John the Baptist was the theme, because apparently traditionally he was celebrated on June 24th. The last point of the sermon was about change, something I need to give thought to...
The cross was a gift to our congregation from an affiliated congregation in Scotland (but sadly, the contact seems to have withered away).
There was this beautiful flower arrangement sitting on the table, so wonderfully representative of early summer. I took this first photo (I'm not sure why it's so distorted - still getting used to the new camera!). And then I noticed there were my absolute favourite early summer flowers (Crown Vetch, Wikipedia tells me they're called in English) in the back of it.

So I end my account of a rather boring and tiresome fortnight with cheerful flowers. :-)

Monday 3 June 2013

More fun with search terms on my blog

I played with these in this post; but since then, I did more of occasional checking the statitics, and I've got another list to share.

"skica]" - Another of those accidental characters. (For the record, that's Czech for "sketch".)

Connected to that is this one:
"dress images  skica" - So strangely mixed up English and Czech. One redundant break. Ah, I love these accidental searches.

"meme kráva" - "Kráva" is "cow" in Czech. I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA HOW THIS SEARCHER ENDED UP ON MY BLOG.

"mechanical things to wear" - Ditto for no idea, although "the same words but not together" might be at work here.

"adk 125 / 2" - When I search for this one, it gives me a crane truck. Yep. This is dress diaries, people! (Apparently, this happened because this picture on my blog ended up with that string of characters in its URL, because internet obviously does not like Czech diacritics.)

"indian fashion maker machine for beeding n overlocking and all type of fabrics" - Sounds a lot like the magical machine that would make anything you put a picture of into, that I dreamed up as a child...

"19th century wrocław painted bowl" - Aww. Mine are modern, unfortunately.

"first time raw fish" - Yeah.

"gif soup horses" - Sorry, what?

"stuff white bear holding a rose" - Bear, yeah. Rose, yeah. Rose, and Rose. Lots of white stuff.

"old algerian dress" - Not a dress, not old (I suppose). Does it still count as a searching success?

"dressing a black bride" - Well, sorry I can't help.

"clay relief art" - Here's mine.

"sauerkraut soup" - Really! I hope that was helpful.

"shweshwe for brides" - Wrong blog.

"czech recipi for škubánky" - "Recipi" is SOOOO cute. I wonder who searched for that. Someone who knew how to write "škubánky" and did not know how to write "recipe".

"iron age baltic needle case" - I wish.

"pan tadeusz outfits" - Oh, please, come out, you! I'm sure we'll have something to talk about.

""tadeusz czech" or "tadeusz * czech" or "czech, tadeusz"" - Well, that was resourceful. And it's Tadeáš. You're welcome.

Oh, and on Sunday, there was this:
"doctor who twelfth doctor" - Well, I'm not sure I'd tell, even if I knew! I'm apparently not alone in thinking Peter Wingfield would make a great Doctor; but he's probably going to make a great doctor instead, and good for him, I think.

Sunday 2 June 2013

It works, too

The rolled hem foot, that is. Unfortunately, not on fine fabrics like my handkerchief (so I'll have to do it the old-fashioned way on my second one); but with a shirting, it works. I have to be more careful with feeding the fabric than I often tend to be (see the loose part at the left, where I started), but it works!

I also have a new camera. A Canon - I'm still trying to get used to it, because so far, I think I've only had Panasonics... It always takes me several tries before I manage to set it on Macro... and because I take photos of my sewing, I need Macro often. But the great thing about this camera is that it needs much less light to take good photos than my previous one did. No more need to wait for sunny days outdoors to take photos! Good thing, too, because it's been rainy for days and weeks...
(The old camera went to my sister, who mostly takes photos outdoors anyway.)

Floods are coming. It's rather scary. Fortunately, we're far enough from water, and so is grandma in Prague where some metro stations and tram lines had to be closed down already. But still...
I hear there are floods elsewhere in the world as well. How do you fare?