Saturday, March 26, 2011

An Acquired Taste

I did not really learn to cook much in my childhood. I knew how to fry an egg, make American Chop Suey or Shepherd's Pie, or fry burgers or hot dogs. I could bake cookies or brownies or cake. I could make pancakes or French toast. That was pretty much it. Come to think of it, it still is...... I don't remember exactly enjoying it. Come to think of it, I still don't, much. I remember some dismal failures. No, really dismal. Come to think of it, one was just last week. We won't go into it. When I was a little girl, I used to read all my mother's magazines. I wanted to be a Breck girl. Everything in the magazines my mother read was so wholesome, and happy. The sun always shone, and the homes were neat, orderly and very attractive. She got Woman's Day, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping and McCall's. I liked McCall's the best. If you're roughly my age, you probably know why. Oh, come on, it was the Betsy McCall paper dolls in the back, silly. She had the best adventures and travelled places, and had great clothes and a Dachshund. I don't know what I saw in the rest of the magazines, mostly fashions and hair and makeup, I guess. I looked at the home dec features, but was completely uninterested in the cooking stuff. I would even read the advice columns and Heloise's Hints. But not the recipes. I could not wait until Mum came home from the grocery store, to see if she had picked up another mag. Sometimes she even bought me a "Jack and Jill" magazine. Did anybody ever read those? Add ImageOur town had a supermarket called Fernandes', located in a strip mall with a dry cleaner, drug store, liquor store, hardware store, and a barber (yes, like Floyd). There was a lunch counter at the front of Fernandes', with stools with seats that spun. (Mum always made you stop and get down and come with me.) There were donuts and cakes and pies on cake stands with glass domes. The waitresses wore polyester uniforms of "Harvest Gold" with white aprons, white nurses's shoes and bouffant hairdos. The coffee cups were that ubiquitous heavy-thick white ceramic -- Buffalo China. The cashiers had similar "Harvest Gold" smock coats over their clothes, but the same bouffants and sometimes cats-eye glasses. No one left the house without lipstick. The bag boys wore bow ties and aprons and put your frozen foods in thick brown paper bags to insulate it on the drive home (2.5 miles!), and pushed your cart out to your station wagon, unloaded it and took it back inside for you. My mother always wrote a check in her neat handwriting, sometimes with the purple pen she had from selling Fashion Two-Twenty cosmetics. That was grocery shopping and magazines in my childhood. Tune in for more tomorrow.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Color Me Tickled Pink!

Do you know what this is? It is the exact shade of turquoise that the color experts declared as the color of the year 2010. (Who knew? No doubt more people than I count, it's just that I wasn't one of them. Well, thanks to GertieLink, this year, I am in the know. No more color obscurity (colora obscura?) for me. Color me informed! This year's Pantone color is none other than the lovely honeysuckle. And if you relish poetic colorful word pictures, you should go to their website and read the press release, where the text gives real meaning to the choice of this color for 2011. (And if you find that this topic and fashion interests you, they also intorduce the Fall 2011 fashion palette!)
Here is the official swatch:
I also recently discovered that on, the fabric details include the closest Pantone shade. This is especially good if you don't trust your monitor, and therefore shy away from buying fabrics online. We have a Pantone catalog at work, and I might just have to borrow it to work out what shades of fabric I have in my inventory. It would sure make coordinating less of a hit-or-miss deal.
How many of you can remember when it was popular to: have your colors "done"? This was usually done by a consultant who helped you characterize your personal coloring, and learn what hues and shades were the most flattering colors to wear, both in your clothes and in your makeup. I never had it done, but I am very easily categorized: I am a "Summer", fair hair, fair skin, blue eyes, and so I look best in pastels , and in general, colors with a blue-ish hue. I admit I haven't studied the prescribed colors exhaustively. It's just that I've been on the planet long enough to have accidentally observed that certain colors are really more flattering than others on me. As it turns out, I really like the way coral colors look on me, and also almost any shade of green. Most blues are fine, but it's when they have a little green in them that they really pop. I think it's because my eyes are not a clear crystal blue, but have just a hint of amber, and with my skin's natural tendency to pink up, sometimes they look almost green. I think I may be the only woman in America who doesn't wear much black -- instead my go-to color is navy blue, but I recently determined that it should be a taupe or a medium charcoal gray.

Here are 4 fabrics I recently purchased. The ribbed one on the left is a true taupe. The next one looks very much like it, and looked definitely brown-y taupe online, but was called gray! I find that in very bright sunlight, it looks gray, but in any lower light, it looks taupe, go figure. I adore the aqua print - it looks a little like a Japanese print, maybe it is? And I love turquoise with coral.That coral is a rayon knit with a "slub" texture.
I forgot about lime green! I really like lime green, which came as a surprise to me when I realized it. I think I had kind of ignored it since it was more yellow, but somehow it is still a flattering color for me. The fabrics below mainly showcase my affinity for sage green. But I really didn't get accurate colors -- it just looks so gray here. The print knit photo'd well, though. I will be cutting that out for another top like the one on the dressform the other day.The fabric on the left and on the lower right are good bottom weight fabrics , destined for skirts or slacks. The upper right one is a crinkle knit with eyelet embroidery, like broderie d'anglaise. Now, that one at bottom center is really deceiving. I really am going to try to get a better pic, real close up. It's really pretty. It looks like it is woven with yellow fibers in one direction, and green in the other. It is destined to be a pencil skirt.
The print below is a risk purchase gone wrong. This is one that doesn't look that great online, but you think that it must look better "in person". Alas, it does not. I haven't given up yet though, I will nurture it along. But I will definitely try it for a pattern that I really just need to try a "muslin" for, you know kind of like a blind date, no expectations, no emotional investment, and therefore no real disappointment if it doesn't really work out. (Who am I kidding....anyone?) The burgundy knit next to it was a failed attempt to find some plum fabric, in an effort to provide the prodigal print an environment in which she could shine. My point being that, in the event I make a garment from this print, and the pattern and the fabric are a success, then I will need to wear it with something, but I think it will be with something in sage in that event.
And I will close with the first picture of myself. As I have mentioned, I am a bit camera-shy, but this shot gives you some idea of the pale skin that I am trying not to overwhelm, and how nice coral can look alongside. This is a very fine-gauge cotton cardigan (3/4-sleeve) that I just picked up at the LLBean outlet store in Freeport. They were having a 30% off everything in the store sale, and I brought it home for $20! The scarf is a large square of silk hand-hemmed - a friend brought it back from a trip to India. At the time, I didn't wear any of the colors - she knew better than I did what I should be wearing!

Do you select your wardrobe pieces according to a color palette? Do most of the things in your closet go together, so you can mix and match new combinations at a moment's notice? I'm not fully there yet, but I do like to get a lot of mileage out of my separates.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Random Tuesday

Some of my favorite bloggers will sometimes post in random list format. I think I will try that...
1. I have loooots of new fabric.
2. I have taken pictures of some of it.
3. The pictures didn't come out as well as I had expected, after my little camera-use breakthrough. My exposure and resolution look better, but the colors just don't read the way they look in real life. I need more work on adjusting them in the editing phase. But then I wonder if my monitor is way off, or the camera reading the colors funny. I need to take my card and view my pics on somebody else's computer.....
4. I keep buying fabric.
5. I haven't cut out any more patterns.
6. I have plenty of patterns.
7. I still don't have a reliable dressform. I really do think I will ask Becky to help me make a duct tape dummy. When she gets back from Fla. Where it isn't snowing, as she has reminded me by postcard. (Here, it hasn't snowed since yesterday...)
8. My left hand hurts. I have had a swollen, sore and aching MCP joint of my 3rd digit since shortly after I started crocheting the darned filet edging. I was resisting concluding that it was the crocheting, but I can no longer live in denial. I am taking two Aleve 2x/day just to be minimally functional.
9. I can't knit either, see #8.
10. I was trying to knit up a swatch for a pattern from A Stitch in Time. I had to stop because of the pain in my left hand! And the numbness and tingling consistent with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Darn!
11. I think it'll be a while before I can knit or crochet.
12. In the meantime, I should post pictures of my off-color fabrics and my very-long-but-not-yet-long-enough filet edging.
13. I practically crash my laptop every time I try to upload photos.
14. Tonight, Sean has a Championship hockey game. At 8:20pm. On a school night. Hockey is so insane. It wasn't my idea, really.
15. So I won't be doing battle with my laptop tonight.
16. The sun is shining and melting snow today.