Be still my tartan and fair isle heart! Karl Lagerfeld's pre-Fall 2013 collection for Chanel was outstanding, it is hands down still my favorite couture collection. Very wearable but with interesting twists. I'm a Lindsay with ties to Clan Lindsay, so maybe I'm genetically programmed to love this look, but really, can you blame me? The layers of knit and wool fabrics are winter perfect. And all those details...swoon! May I please have that ruff? And that orange scarf
"Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick." -- Gwenyth Paltrow
Look at all the embroidery! And those giant red velvet roses! I'm in love! RED which stands for Romantic Eccentric Dress and is Valentino's trademark hue, is the sister line to the Valentino fashion house. Granted, this middle-aged gal prefers skirts that are a tad longer, say to just above the knees, that little black suit is swoon worthy.
As we are only 48 days until Valentine's Day, I thought I'd also share this fab review of Ladies in Red by Monica Corcoran featuring Nancy Reagan (and her Reagan Red) as well as Jessica Rabbit, my favorite femme fatale.
I have a love affair for the work of Agatha Ruiz de la Prada. Her work crosses over from fashion to art and adds a dash of whimsy I can't resist. The bird cage necklace is an example. Yes, those are live birds in the tube flitting about as the model walks. The heart headdresses are equally spectacular. You have to check out the video to see their true beauty with movement.
Roberto Capucci refers to his work as a "study in form." Inspired by architecture, poetry, and music,his garments wrap the body in color that sings. I love the pleats and folds, the high voltage use of color, but most of all I am inspired by the sense of movement in each garment.
Deng Hao is an extraordinary designer from China. Her combination of beading with fabrics created on digital fabric printer is inspiring. Look at those gorgeous details of gothic European stained glass printed on silk!Though this designer is incredibly well-known in Southeast Asia, there is relatively little written about her in English. Checkout the blog Monster ate my Couture for a bit more information.
This video will give you a great sense of how Deng Hao's garments move, or I should say - float.
Eyelash yarn is another matter. Part of me recoils from the very thought of it, but then again I am oddly attracted to this piece by Thakoon. The sassy fuzz is a striking contrast to this cool, simple vest, also from Thakoon's Fall 2013 ready to wear collection.
The Pearly Kings and Queens of London are magnificent. A tradition started in the 1800's, it continues to this day.
Each Pearly King and Queen fundraise for a particular charity. While newcomers have joined the movement, for
many it's a tradition that has been passed down through the generations. Their garments are covered in mother of
pearl buttons, some with as many as 13,000 hand-stitched into place. There are noticeable symbols, such as the
horseshoe for good luck and the anchor for hope.
The pearlies have inspired countless costume and fashion designers. If you are a White Stripes fan, you probably
already noticed the pearly influence in the costumes worn Meg and Jack White for their album Icky Thump.
I love this work by Temperley London for their Spring/Summer, 2010 collection. While not all the garments are covered in buttons, you can certainly see the graphics connections.
"Pearly Queen" made by Savile Row tailors for the Victorian and Albert Museum exhibition Power of Makingis a delightful visual pun with the classic profile of young Queen Elizabeth II worked in buttons.
Since my great aunt first taught me tatting, I've been hooked on making lace. Lately my thoughts have turned to the use of laser technology. Laser cut fabrics are popping up all over the runway. I love these Azzedine Alaia shoes from his Spring 2011 collection. Last fall's AW collection from Balmain was a stunner. Laser cut leather combined with beadwork and embroidery. Be still my heart!
This leather bag from BCBGMaxazria is less elaborate, but equally charming.
Of course, the technology isn't limited to textiles. Check out this fabulous chair by Marcel Wanders! I want one!
It would go well with the table by Imogen Luddy that I covet.
I like to knit. I have a degree in weaving. But what I really love is embroidery, with or without the beads. This season no one is adding the embroidered flourishes like Valentino's atelier. The tweed coat with gold work details is swoon worthy. The contrast of mannish fabric with the girly gold implies that a woman can hold her own in a man's world, but does so on her own terms. The coat that turns an every day moment into an event.
I wonder who did the embroidery. The House of Lesage? His company is one of the few who could create these details with such mastery. I still have a small dream of one day studying at his school and working on such garments. They are more than fashion, they are breathing works of art.
The perfection between drape, cut and craftsmanship in these two garments illustrates the necessary relationship between designer and artisan. The artisan is the one to execute the designer's wishes. One has to have intimate knowledge of the fabric and how the weight of such embroidery will effect
"As couturiers, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli found the idea of the wunderkammer particularly appealing," reported Nicole Phelps for Style.com. "In a cabinet of curiosities, the pieces are very unique, very one-of-a-kind," Piccioli said. "We've tried to make something that is not only special, but also surprising, unexpected." Unexpectedly luxurious, feminine and artful.
I didn't take a vacation this year, but I have a jar full of coins from my travels around the world. This particular coin is an Australian dollar that I saved from a vacation 14 years ago. I've been itching to get back to Australia, so I figured a little talisman around my neck may bring the funds required
You will need:
1 7.5 gram tube of 11/0 red Deilca / cylinder beads
1 strand of size 14/0 Czech seed beads (approx. 100 per strand)
60 8mm turquoise blue glass discs
1 spool size d red Nymo thread
1 size 10 beading needle
toggle clasp (I had silver in stock, but I think a vintage brass one would have been a bit more interesting.)
7 strand .015 inch beading wire
2 #1 crimp beads
1. Cut a 40" piece of Nymo and thread your needle. With your needle pick up enough beads to fit around your coin. Slide the beads 2/3 of the way down the thread and form a circle by tying a square knot. Pull firmly. (See picture on left).
2. Begin working in rounds using even-count peyote stitch and the red Delicas. For my coin I worked 5 rounds in red and then switched to two rounds using the smaller blue beads. For the next round you will decrease every other stitch, so add a bead as usual and on the next skip adding a bead pulling firmly. Continue in this fashion until you finish the round. (See pictures in the middle and on the right.)
3. Thread your needle through the beads working your way to the back. Add the coin. Repeat the rounds for the blue beads. After the decrease round, work one more round in the normal fashion. Weave the thread back into the beads and snip off access.
4. With the tail, begin weaving in even-count flat peyote with the red beads. Work back and forth for 3/4 of an inch. Attach the flat peyote strip to top round of red beads on the front to form a loop. Weave the thread through several rounds of red beads and snip off.
5. Using the wire cutters, cut a 24" inch of beading wire. Thread on a crimp bead and one side of the toggle clasp. Thread the wire back through the crimp bead leaving a 1" tail and pull firmly. Use the crimping pliers to crimp the bead in place. Trim back the tail of the wire to 1/4".
6. Pick up 4 red Delica beads and then a disc bead. Continue in this fashion for 22" ending with 4 red Delica beads. Add your coin pendant and slide down to the center. Add a crimp bead and then the other half of the toggle clasp. Thread the wire back through the crimp bead leaving a 1" tail and pull firmly. Use the crimping pliers to crimp the bead into place. Trim back the tail to just above the disc bead.
I think this would be equally cool with shiny new quarters using those quarters featuring the states of the last family vacation or as a gift for a college student to remind them of home.
Need a quick project with a bit of sparkle? The necklace looks great paired with a casual sweater and jeans, but could easily work with a shell and blazer for the office.
You will need:
#6 16” circular needles
1 pack of Lion Brand’s Bonbon in Celebrate - brown (A), orange (B), red (C), gold (D)
5sts = 1”
7rws = 1"
in the round
Knit every round.
With Color A (brown), cast on 125sts. Join circle. Add stitch marker to mark the beginning and end of each round. Work in stockinette stitch for 12 rounds. Bind off 100 stitches. Allow final 25 to remain on your needle. Cut away Color A leaving a 5” tail.
With Color B (orange) cast on 100 sts using the long tail method and then knit the final 25 stitches. Continue in stockinette stitch for another 11 rounds. Bind off 100 stitches. Allow final 25 to remain on your needle. Cut away Color B leaving a 5” tail.
With Color C (red) cast on 100 sts using the long tail method and then knit the final 25 stitches. Continue in stockinette stitch for another 11 rounds. Bind off 100 stitches. Allow final 25 to remain on your needle. Cut away Color C leaving a 5” tail.
With Color D (gold) cast on 100 sts using the long tail method and then knit the final 25 stitches. Continue in stockinette stitch for another 11 rounds. Bind off all 125 stitches. Cut away Color D leaving a 5” tail.
Weave in all tails with tapestry needle.
You will note that as the necklace was worked using the stockinette stitch, the edges will curl. They will curl onto themselves, resembling a tube.
Try this same necklace in the cotton Bonbon for spring. This is also a great way to use up leftover yarn!
Weather is fickle. When there isla chill in the air and you are bored with scarves, make this twisted, crocheted choker. It adds a warm dash of color.
You will need:
Lion Brand® Yarn's BonBons in Celebrate - use the light and dark blues
Buttons Galore & More's Granny's Button Box in Teal
Westcott Craft Titanium Bonded 3" Scissors
D crochet hook
Row 1: With light blue, chain 120. Turn work, chain 1, skip the first stitch, work the rest in single crochet.
Row 2: Attach dark blue, *chain 1, skip the first stitch. Single crochet the first 10 stitches. Chain 100.
Single crochet the last 10 stitches of the light blue base. Turn work, chain 1, skip the first stitch. Single
crochet 10 stitches, chain 100 and then work the last 10 stitches.*
Row 3: Switch back to light blue, repeat Row 2 from * to *.
Row 4: Switch to dark blue, repeat Row 2 from * to *.
Row 5: Switch to light blue, repeat Row 2 from * to *.
Row 6: Switch to dark blue, repeat Row 2 from * to *. After the final 10 stitches are worked, chain 10 and
attach to Row 3 with a slip stitch. Chain 1 and work 18 single crochets in the loop. Fasten off.
Sew in all ends. Sew on the button.
Hold both ends of the necklace and twist it a few times. Fasten it around your neck. You can vary the look
based on whether you wear the button in the back, the front or to the side.
The above listed companies provided product for me to use in this pattern.
This pattern was written in 2013. If you left a comment on my previous blog and don't see it here, well that is because comments didn't make the transfer. So why not leave me a new one!
It was drilled into my head at a young age to save money by both of my grandmothers. Grandma grew up during the depression. Gammy married the day before the banks crashed and closed. With the Depression a large part of their lives, it was inevitable that their tricks and tips rubbed off on me. I'm glad it did as I struggle to pay off large medical debt on an artist's income, these tips make it feel less difficult.
- Gam's favorite tip was to make all your own meals.
She's right. It is far cheaper to make mini meals and freeze them for lunch at work than to buy Lean Cuisine. You are also guaranteed the quality of the product and can adjust what you make based on dietary concerns. For example, I am on a low salt diet and many frozen meals are high in sodium. She would let nothing go to waste. If a veggie was turning, she'd chop out the bad bit and throw the rest in a stockpot to make a veggie stock. Chicken bones also went in. I don't eat meat, but I do make a lot of bean-based dishes, so I make a big pot of beans and then freeze what I don't need. Dried beans are far cheaper (especially when bought in bulk) than canned beans, bonus is that I make them low in sodium. I also freeze homemade muffins as then I always have a quick snack or breakfast ready to go, microwave and you are done. The convenience cuts down on me buying a snack on the road and I eat healthier.
- When's the last time you hosted a potluck?
Potlucks are fun for get togethers among friends. You can assign dishes or make it a true pot luck and end up with 10 salads. With everyone sharing in the cost of the food and it is home cooked, it is cheaper than going out to a restaurant and you may learn of a new recipe.
- This brings me to another of Gam's and Mom's tricks:
They would get-together with friends and make food for the freezer and then trade dishes. I works a bit like a cookie exchange. Everyone makes something and freezes in single serving batches and then trades. You can make it together and save on entertainment bills.
- Both Grandmothers were avid card players.
Entertainment these days means going out, like to the movies or shopping or an amusement park, but you don't have to leave home to have fun. You can invite friends over for a game of Gin Rummy or Bridge. Invite the kids for board games and save on baby sitting. I copied this method and hosted knit nights at my home. So friends would come over with their knitting and we would have a potluck dinner and enjoy each others company while knitting.
- Gam said to know your farmers.
It's interesting that the trend to shop local rose again with the recession, but it also makes sense. By getting to know your farmer, you know what you are buying. Gam would get calls from different area farmers about what was in season and send me off to buy what she wanted usually by the bushel or two. She'd spend all summer freezing and canning for the winter. I frequent a local farmer's market. They see me coming and yell out what seconds they have available knowing that I will probably buy up most of it. Seconds are the veggies that aren't as pretty and may have a bad spot, but are actually just as full of flavor, so you can get freshly grown veggies at a fraction of the cost at the markets. Want to know how to preserve food? Contact your local university extension program for the Master Preserver' Program. You will learn all you need to know and then some. I learned from my grandmother, but I know folks who've taken the programs. They are usually free or very low in cost and well worth it. Don't have time teach yourself by checking out books on the subject from your library.
- Grandma swapped and shared - the barter economy.
Grandma loved to bake. She couldn't eat a whole cheesecake by herself, but she loved making them and having a slice or two, so a local shop owner she knew would trade her the rest of the cake for some of his dried tea. Yep, BARTER is the name of the game. I bartered dental work for an artwork. A professor I had bartered legal fees for a divorce for one of her artworks. Many cities offer barter exchanges and registries are popping up online, such as Hudson Barter Exchange.
- Make your favorite clothes.
Grandma sewed all her sons clothing until they were teens. Today I don't think that makes much sense with how cheap some fashion is, but I do believe in making many of my own sweaters. I have the pleasure of making them and then the fun of wearing a custom fit item. This is a bonus for us ladies with awkward figures. I am built like a stick so clothes tend to just hang on me. I only develop curves when I custom fit my sweaters. Woman will large breasts whose sweaters hike up in the front can knit with short row darts in the front to ease this problem.
- Buy what fits you and is well made rather than what is in fashion, even if it isn't on sale.
Both grandmothers lived by this credo. Flash fashion is meant to be worn a few times before it wears out or fades. What's the point of buying a shirt that looks horrible in just a few washings. Buy what you like,that fits well and is well made-even if it isn't on sale, you will wear it so many more times and always feel like a million bucks. A shirt that cost $20 but is only worn 4 times, costs $5 a wearing. Whereas a shirt that cost 40, but is worn 20 times costs only $2 a wearing. See, breaking it down into units helps you see the savings.
A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.
The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud. -- Coco Chanel
Chanel has been a frequent source of inspiration. In my college days, it was the suit fabrics I loved. I'd go to the couture stores, study the fabrics and then try to replicate them on my loom. But these days, I study the knitwear and beadwork.
This collection is ultimately urban and yet very wearable. Get ready to flash your knees, ladies. Forget tights and pull out your most handsome hand knit knee socks. Or knit a boot topper to wear with your knee high skirt. I love the modified ponchos that look a bit like a sweater tossed over the shoulders. The look is carried further with scarfs that look like sleeves. And all those fingerless gloves. Yeah! Take some of that knitwear and add a few well placed grommets. Throw on a few chunky pearl ropes and you are ready to head out the door. Lagerfeld hit it out of the ballpark.
This post is from a year ago. I am in the process of transferring data from my old blogging platform to this one.