Sunday, August 31, 2008

Russian Goodies

Last weekend, a British lady I met mentioned that some of her favorite teas could be found in Russian grocery stores. Inspired by her and krisatomic's lovely photos of gourmet Moscow, I went tea hunting in the Avenues this afternoon. While I wasn't able to find any in cute tins today, I did find many pretty paper boxes of them and at super cheap prices, and got the two Akbar brand ones you see in the picture. The colors and pictures felt oddly familiar and comforting, though these styles are definitely from a time way before I was born. And I thought it was interesting that on all three packages the graphics are horizontal on one side, and vertical on another. I wonder if it's just a coincidence or if it's something they make a point to do a lot in Russian packaging, but it really does make for very versatile arranging in the kitchen!

And then the cow crackers I spotted in a 79-cent bushel and figured why not? The only thing on the packaging in English is the ingredients list, so I tried to imagine what they'd taste like based on that, but I mean what can you really tell from a list of popular baking ingredients? But sugar's pretty high up on the list, so these "cream flavor" crackers are very potentially delicious.

I'm picking up my sewing machine tomorrow from the repair shop, so hopefully it will be in super perfect condition because I really need to have the lace on my camisole sewn on and ready to go for Wednesday. More on that and the sewing circus that was last class another day.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Project CamiSOLE

I'd been pronouncing it cami-ZAHL. Who knows why.

So this is basically the same pattern (style) we're using for our project. I didn't pick it; we had no choice. Our fabric has to be a silk or other slippery woven, not a knit like in this picture. [Just to be clear, I do NOT like this Josie Natori cami I'm using as my example here. In the voice of Michael Kors, "slutty slutty slutty!" Or maybe just cheap-looking, even if it is selling for 125 at Neiman Marcus. Sorry, beep beep., I know you love you some animal print!]

I might be sounding a little blah about the pattern, but that's really only because I have doubts about how flattering it's going to be on me, because it's so body-dependent with the bias cut. I'd prefer a nice blouson [probably another word I can't say in real life] style to temper my pear shape. Like this:

Eco-Boudoir at

But I don't want you to think I'm being a Debbie Downer about something that has barely even started; I actually have great hopes for my little cami. I found a pretty royal-purple-blue silk at Britex and a cream French lace from Satin Moon to match the color of the tiny polka dots. (Another girl from class got the same lace, said one of the sisters at the store, so we'll see who that was on Monday. Either we'll be great friends or rivals for life.) I'd actually been having daydreams of a fragile black Chantilly eyelash lace with my silk, with the fringe at the edge of the neckline, but apparently it's hard to find as a trim; it's usually sold as a fabric. And the one they had at Satin Moon was 100$ a yard. Plus, one of the sisters warned me away from using black with my "blue" silk. ::sniffle:: But without further ado, these were my choices, and I think the combination looks promising:

Classy, not trashy!

P.S. Oh wow, I was googling to see if Chantilly lace was really what I thought it was, and this I.D. Sarrieri is exactly what I was thinking of (though it turns out that "Chantilly" and "eyelash" are two separate concepts):

Fall Semester '08

So the new term's started, and after a summer of doing basically nothing, it's been a bit of an effort getting used to this new routine. No more sleeping without an alarm. Which means no more sleeping in until anywhere from 2 to 5. But it's kind of nice, joining the real world again, being awake when most other people are.

Figure Drawing's my security blanket so far. It's round two of a class I took last spring, so the same teachers, classroom, etc. help me feel normal. Or safe. And confident. I need some new charcoal sticks, though. Utrecht just opened a new branch in my neighborhood (but I'm still going to drive) so that should be fun to explore.

Fashion Draping looks like it's going to be fun. On Thursday, we got to pick the mannequins that we'd be using all term, so I was like this is a big deal--if I get a crappy one, I'm stuck making clothes in the wrong size till the end of the year! So I'm trying not to run and push everyone out of my way, everyone else also trying not to look like they're That Competitive Student, but you knOw we all had one eye trying to figure out which mannequin came in our own sizes. Or at least I did. I found one that looked pretty small with a "2" stamped on her neck, so I was happy. Well, I was going to ask the teacher if there were any zeros in the bunch, but then I looked at my mannequin, and her waist was tiny! Apparently with "vanity sizing" going on now, the size 2 I thought I knew is really like...a size 8 mannequin.

Anyways, we draped experimentally--only having lightly researched Madeleine Vionnet and Paul Poiret on our own--with 2 sheets of 1-and-a-half yards of muslin. I was a little nervous but secretly also really excited for what could happen, like what I could end up making. And in the end I was pretty happy with it. I know it looks a little crazy, but I would seriously wear this. I ran out of room on the paper, but that's kind of where the dress ends off anyways. Can you believe: this is 36 square yards of fabric! That is a lot for a 2-foot-long dress.

And Lingerie Design & Construction. So far it looks like this might be more sewing techniques specific to fabrics often used in lingerie (think slippery and stretchy) than design, but we'll see. I mean I would enjoy that by itself anyways, since this is all new to me; I've sewn before, I would even say that I sew kind of regularly, but I have no idea how my standards compare with those of professionals. Our first project is a camisole [I'm so used to saying "cami" instead, I just realized I've been pronouncing this word wrong!], and I'll have pictures of my fabric and lace selections up later. I think the teacher might not like me, though. My theory is that my auto-pilot "polite" voice actually ends up sounding whiny.