Sunday, 21 December 2008
Hi, how are you? I guess I should introduce myself, my name is Zoe. You may have heard of me, but I say now, the rumours that I've been cyber-stalking you are just that, rumours. Although the fact that I'm writing this may undermine my last statement.
I'd like to begin this letter by congratulating you. Well done on being (argueably unnecessarily) super-beautiful and 'physically successful'. Also, I hear your career is going well, although I can't pass comment as I fear I haven't witnessed enough of your work, and '40 days and 40 nights' probably wasn't your fault. (However, if pressed, I'll admit I found 'The Rules of Attraction' overly, even negligently, editted to the point of gross inbalance where the basic premise no longer made sense, thus undermining the work of you and your fellow actors to adhere purpose to the susbsequently warped and improbable plot.)
There are a few things, however, that I need to bring to your attention Shannon. Although if I woke up one day having somehow metamorphasised into your body, initially I'd probably not waste my time sobbing, as the (albeit unlikely) scenerio wore on however, I'd probably find it freaked my family and friends out, and I reckon I'd quickly get fed up of people just staring at me and forgetting to concentrate on what I was actually saying.
Also, I'm not entirely convinced by the authenticity of your drummer-in-a-band and DJing credentials. I mean when in popular culture have these ever gone hand in hand, not natural bed fellows are they?
Now, I know this might hurt, but I have to say I may have lucked out. Your whole 'being born in Hawaii, growing up in Reno, then moving to LA' may have somewhat bitten you in the arse (sorry, ass, I don't want to confuse you). I know on paper being born and raised in Essex, and continuing to live in Europe with easy access to budget airline flights into Stansted may not be the stuff that inspires great novels, but this scenerio helped me discover one epicly valueable nugget of information (my hairdressers phone number) and the viability to utilise it. In short what I'm saying is, now I hope your sitting down Shannon (sorry, Shannyn, I forgot you changed the spelling when you were 15), I have just had my hair cut and it is BETTER THAN YOURS!
P.S. Enough of the self-consciously contrived lip-biting, we get it, you're cute.
P.P.S Bad luck on Devour. What do critics or ticket-buying audiences know anyway?
Friday, 19 December 2008
I didn't bother to tidy up before papping. Nor did I choose arty or visually exciting angles from which to represent my home. I just wanted to show you how it is.
After viewing eleven flats, I knew this is the one I should live in when my new-flatmate-to-be offered me this:
(The mannequin, not the scarf!). But, as I'm sure you can imagine, one of the very best things about having a place to (kind of) call my own again, is that I once again have a recepticle for all my street finds!:
Monday, 15 December 2008
However, I am increasingly aware that this is a pretty identi-kit Barcelona look. A month or so ago, my mate trimmed my barnet. Now I kind of feel a spell has been broken and I am on the verge new hair dynasty. Whilst hanging around down by the beach I saw (ok, stalked) this girl whom unwittingly provided a light bulb moment:
Now I think my aim is a haircut so cute, that it makes total strangers weep! Having undertaken further research I am considering something along the lines of this:
A hair appointment has been procured with, in my opinion, the best hairdresser in Christendom (who happens to live in Essex, who knew?!) for when I return to the UK. Any thoughts or comments to help make this a 'happy ever after' would be gratefully received...
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Friday, 21 November 2008
a stay of almost a couple of months at the 'dads'' has provided a much needed regrouping and restabilising experience. Amazing food, lovely caring people, Mexican hot chocolate, my YouTube addiction fuelled and encouraged, on-tap help with my lesson plans, massive collection of DVD's and documentaries, wifi and so much feng-shui'd calmess that whole relaxing hours go by without me noticing their disappearance. I'm not sure what the legalities are regarding a 36 year old and a 29 year old adopting another 29 year old, but whatever the case, it would probably upset my mum, so I decided not to start the planned 'Dads please adopt me' campaign afterall.
Similar furniture, carpet, colour scheme... There's some crazy inspiration derived for interior decorating going down over here in bcn! Excuse me, I must go flat (mental style) hunting.....
Monday, 17 November 2008
PLUS, when my sewing stuff arrives, the application of a little more self disaplin and time management should result in a whole lotta time for creating. That's it in a (chest)nutshell.
Monday, 3 November 2008
A strong contender for the nicest dress, if not garment, ever to appear on Burdastyle. Uber simple A-line with supremely interesting and perfectly executed bib detail. Good job I was sitting down when I first saw it. (Made by ultra-talented London based Burdatyle member Christine).
Saturday, 18 October 2008
K. Now I know I have mentioned Simplicity Built By You sewing patterns before (here and here), and I’m sure this won’t be the last time (I’m particularly sure because I have in my possession a trouser pattern of theirs that I plan to attack when back in the Motherland over Christmas). But I feel the need to break it down. The NY based clothing brand Built By Wendy , create (in my opinion) amazing, wearable (I’d imagine) and infinitely inspirational garments. I visited a Built By Wendy store in LA last Autumn (or should that be Fall) and saw a collection in the flesh. For me, it was like a combination of making a holy pilgrimage and seeing the tooth fairy! Anyway, it was so exciting to see home sewing patterns on sale in a cool, dare I say trendy, boutique. Normally such boutiques, Pixie Market (incidentally on the very same street as the Built By Wendy shop in LA) being another example, offer to me the emotionally dichotomic combination of massive inspiration, envy and insatiable temptation. Inspiration, because often the garments reveal so many details and ideas to fuel my own creations, envy because I don’t have the talent to design pieces of such perfection of my own bat, and insatiable temptation because I am unable to purchase garments due to my pledge, though realistically they would be out of my budget anyway. Really, for me, such retail experiences are very draining!
So for Wendy Mullin, the creator and designer of Built by Wendy, to have the selflessness to create this range of patterns, and the amazing sewing book Sew U, both to encourage the art of home sewing, is such a fantastic thing. I salute her.
BTW, did I ever mention that I actually have the Sew U book? It’s the kind of thing that I would, and for some time did, deeply desire, but perversely could never justify treating myself to. Then through the most bizarre set of occurrences involving an elderly ex-seamstress and pattern cutting tutor who was a friend of my ex-boyfriends nan having a massive clearout, a pristine copy became mine (along with the most epic, largely vintage, button stash you have ever seen, but that’s another story). I was so excited, I was very nearly sick. There is a stretch fabric version out now that is well on my ‘wants’ list.
The patterns that have been published are from actual Built By Wendy collections. For example, this hardy perennial from my sewing pattern archive was actually part of the Spring 2004 collection. This is one of the garments I created from this pattern (say hello to Daddy Edwards):
And these are two of my favourite creations made by someone else (in this case, both by the awesome Chicago based seamstress Snaggletooth):
What all this shows is that, ultimately, Wendy Mullin is intelligent. She knows her customer base, and is well aware that no one who is actually going to buy this garment would say ‘You know what? I don’t think I’ll bother, I’ll save my cash by buying the pattern and making my own’. Also she knows her industry well enough to be aware that if a commercial interest was set on ripping off her styles, they would either send in ‘researchers’ into the stores to photograph the garments, often covertly, or they would purchase one garment and send it off to be deconstructed and copied. From first hand experience, I know this happens frequently. In a previous employment role, I have personally purchased garments for the purpose of sending them off to be copied. And damn, at this very moment I’m a ‘researcher’ myself! Wow, that felt a bit confessional. The justification for my actions will have to wait for another post. Right now there are sewing plans to form.......
Thursday, 2 October 2008
Can you believe it?! My first morning waking up back in Poble Sec, I go for breakfast in the coffee shop where I first witnessed her, and BAM! I am blessed with a sighting! It could be interpreted (and I have done as such) that it is a sign that, no matter what wierdness goes down, amazingness is never far away.
Check the batwing cropped jacket. And, damn, she knows red is so right now. I have to admit, I didn't even try to disguise taking this photo. I guess she is just so used to being papped for style magazines and the like, she's all 'Another day, another pap'. Oh, and FYI, I watched her moves carefully, she put all the butter and jam available on her toast. Proof that diets are a waste of time.
So after the sighting I needed to calm down, so me and my mate Anna went over the other side of the square for another coffee. Oh, and that turned out to be pretty amazing as well (be sure not to miss Anna's beautiful and heartbreakingly expensive new top, kind of Marc Jacobs-esque 70's, with 40's referencing, in my opinion):
The cafe was super beautiful, and the morning autumn sunshine made it more so.
It reminded me of the cafe in that film Amelie. It had antiquey mis-matched chairs (street furniture?) with marble tables, colourful stained glass, aqua tiles, random art and a massive mirror above the bar.
I love living somewhere where enjoying an extended breakfast with a friend in interesting and often beautiful surroundings is seen as perfectly normal behaviour, and not in anyway the actions of some layabout, work-shy person (not that I'm necessarily claiming not to be those things as well). I'm not UK bashing, believe me, I could list numerous less pleasant sides to life here, but this pleasure is something that is particularly important to me. You could live in the most amazing place in the world, but if you aren't able to absorb it and reflect upon it from time to time, then what's the point? For me, surroundings are so important, they feed me in so many ways. I'm lucky that I can feel that, even whilst being homeless and skint.
Thursday, 18 September 2008
The mini-stash of buttons and hook and eyes were found in Gotico one day when I was feeling pretty down. Like Barcelona gave me a little gift and was saying ‘Cheer up love’. Thanks Barcelona, I have.
Thursday, 4 September 2008
I'm sure the graphic designer who created the Burn After Reading poster was creating a deliberate reference, and subsequently I can hardly feel smug for making the connection. Next time you see me however, ask me to tell you the true story about when Jimmy Stewart was in the back of my Grandad's taxi.... It's a good one.
Friday, 22 August 2008
I try and alleviate my symptoms by sometimes checking my various favourite sewing blogs, to see what amazing stuff people have been making. It´s sado-masochistic, as the pleasure is laced with fresh pain when I see stuff like this:
This amazing African print dress was made by a girl from London using a vintage dress pattern. More on this dress can be found here.
Let me explain. It´s not just jealousy that is stirred, although I would be the first to admit that that emotion is very present. It´s like this: I love African fabric and had been using it more and more before I left for Barcelona (and temporarily left my favourite passtime). I also have a vintage pattern addiction, and have for some time thinking I should start wearing more dresses. Now I´m not saying that, given time, I would have inevitably have conjured up a similar creation, it´s just all these elements in one amazingly executed example of home sewing is just a bit more than my fragile heart can bear!
I´m heading back to the UK in a couple of weeks and have set myself the challenge of making a new creation whilst I am there. I won´t have enough time to produce a dress, but I predict the pains will cease for a while.
Wednesday, 6 August 2008
Sunday, 13 July 2008
May I explain. My adopted Dads took us for breakfast the other day, and we were sitting in the cafe when this lady walked in, and they nearly puked with excitement. Bascially, she is apparantly some sort of bar fly that hangs out exclusively in the eating and drinking establishments around the tiny Placa Sortidor, a square in the area of Poble Sec. I believe to see her may well be some sort of lucky omen.
She is a special treat, whose image must be carefully receorded. Hence this type of image:
Let´s analyse her style. Hmmmm, DAMN GOOD is my conclusion. I totally love the fact that she is carefully dressed, coifured and made-up, despite pushing ninety. She clearly understands the value of appearance as a medium of social interaction and communication. That looking good and taking time on your style is both an expression of and a method of developement of your self esteem.
I REALLY hate it when women no longer give a crap about how they look after, and often way before, the menopause. From what I´ve seen that seems to be exactly to time for self-definition, and maybe a little re-invention. Candela is an inspiration, and has reminded me of the importance of such self-expression. I guess recently hanging out almost exclusively with cerebral-types has put my naturally visual-self slightly on the back burner. That and it´s fu****g hot so wearing small, loose clothes has been a priority this week.
In case you were wondering what such a sassy individual would rock in the colder months, let me enlighten you:
You know that´s real fur. These images are care of Isi, an individual always selflessly on the front line, putting himself out there, ready to pounce and capture such essentially imagery. He is clearly a master of covert photography. Once more for the road Brother Isi:
Oh, and there is a distinct possibility that she isn´t called Candela Casagrande, seeing as we made it up! We were sitting in the cafe trying to think what this style-icon would be called. Casagrande is the mental surname (Bighouse?!) of some surreal psychic Lee went to visit recently, who may well have changed his life by announcing he has ´latent psychic tendancies´. It seemed an appropriatly imposing surname for our subject. And Candela? That´s the Spanish word for the ´light of a candle´. And as I think you can agree, she shines!!!!!!!
Thursday, 3 July 2008
This outfit is particularly good because I made the dress, jacket AND bag! If I could make tights and shoes I would.... I've been making clothes for some time now, but it never ceases to fascinate me that I have produced something that when worn, actually fulfills it's function, by and large, as good as a purchased garment. Let alone three. All at once.
The dress was made from the cheapest fabric available in the UK,from a pattern I adapted from a Built by Wendy Simplicity pattern. The jacket pattern was adapted from a 1960's pattern purchased on ebay. (What have I told you previously? Can't leave them patterns alone. I'm always monkey-ing with them.) The fabric was 'aquired' from my previous job, with applied swallow patches. Sadly you are unable to see the AWESOME lining, which is a Vegas style print cotton featuring playing cards and chips purchased in Britex in San Francisco. I'll try and take a photo of that some time. Honestly, I'm tempted to wear it inside out!
In case you weren't sure if the jacket worked in an evening setting, let me just clarify the situation for you:
I think you'll find it works just fine! The top in this picture is also another creation from the same Built by Wendy pattern. I've leant the pattern to the lovely Michelle at the moment so can't check the pattern number. Can't wait to see her interpretations!
I fully intend to stick to my no-buying new garments pledge whilst in Barcelona. This may prove more of a challenge than previously because, at least initally, I won't have a sewing machine, fabric or equipment. I will have to rely on the things I take out ith me, and any second-hand finds to give me the new-stuff fix I often crave. I'm so committed to the pledge though, fear not.
Because my creations will probably be more infrequent, I plan to focus this blog more on the gathering and documenting of the inspiration I discover in Barcelona. Exciting times. Watch this space.....