Thursday, September 23, 2010

The First Day of Fall

Photo from my senior class (H.S.) trip to Washington, D.C.  Yes, I am wearing overalls, but you'll have to forgive me as that was the nineties and they were definitely in style then (circa fall 1996).

Delicious autumn!
My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird
I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."

~George Eliot

On the occasion of the first day of autumn.  Sadly, that means there are only 89 days until winter officially begins, 93 days until Christmas, and 100 days until the new year.  I'm keeping count...


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This is Dedicated to the Ones I Love...

Never shall I forget the days I spent with you. Continue to be my friend, as you will always find me yours.

~Ludwig van Beethoven

Chris and me at Young Life's Lake Champion in August 1998.
Back in the summer of 1998, I volunteered at a Christian camp in a little town called Glen Spey in New York.  Those of you in Young Life circles may recognize the name of the camp as Lake Champion.  It was an idyllic summer, my first away from home, and I passed my days sleeping in the dorm, answering phones in the office, and mingling with other like-minded folks.  I had just turned nineteen and I had my whole life before me.

I met some truly wonderful folks that summer, bonding with the other college and high school-aged staff who had given up a month of their summer to facilitate the running of this camp so that teenagers could come and hear about who Jesus is.  Of course, we all promised to write and stay in touch, but without social media sites such as Facebook, that proved harder than we thought it would be.  Over the years, I lost touch with every single person that I lived and worked with that summer.

Except one.  I remember the first time I ever talked to Chris-- he was sitting on a bench by the rock-climbing wall.  It was my first day of camp, and I walked over and introduced myself.  As our conversation progressed, I asked him how he had become a Christian, to which he replied, "I'm not."  I was duly shocked, as it was a requirement to work at the camp.  I resolved to pray for him, and over the month, we became friends although I was grouped in with the college-age workers and he was still in high school.

On the last day of camp, I hugged him tightly and said goodbye.  He was heading back to California and I thought I would never see him again.

Years passed; I finished college and moved to New York City.  I had initially kept in touch with Chris, but, in time, that had died down.  Then, one day, I asked the girls in my Bible study to write down their summer addresses for me, and I noticed that one girl lived in the same town as my former friend, Chris.  Of course, I had to ask her if she knew him, and in the craziest coincidence, it turned out that she has dated his younger brother!

Photos taken in the photo booth at Lakeside Lounge.  On the left (circa July 2007) are me, Chris, and his friend, Colin.  We had a hilarious time that night!  The photos on the right are from September 11, 2010.

Chris and I have been in touch since then, although long periods of time go by between emails.  Three times he has been on the east coast, and each time, we make a point to meet up.  He was in New York two weeks ago (en route to South Africa, where he was going to volunteer at an orphanage), and we spent a wonderful day catching up.  Old friends are truly a blessing, and I am so thankful that God has put Chris in my life.

This post is dedicated to all of my friends scattered across the four corners of the earth.  I sincerely hope that we shall meet again.  "Never shall I forget the days I spent with you.  Continue to be my friend, as you will always find me yours."


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Amusing Signs

One of the bloggers that I regularly read, The Sentence Sleuth, finds sentences in newspapers, books, signs, and the web, and then analyzes them for grammatical errors.  She is remarkably adept at it, and if I had those skills, I would would march around correcting other people's sentences as well (any other Eats, Shoots & Leaves fans out there?).

Alas, I am not a future copywriter, but I still take pictures of signs that I find hilarious.  Take this one for instance:
Sign inside the Ladies' restroom Grand Central Station in New York City
Okay, maybe it's not that funny?  I spotted it in the bathroom in Grand Central Station in New York City and I had to chuckle to myself.  What are these women doing in the bathroom of a grimy train station that their time needs to be limited to under five(!) minutes?  I am not a girly-girl, so I cannot fathom why there was a need to post such a sign.

This sign cracks me up, too:
Sign inside Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
It was taken in the Grand Mosque (aka Sheikh Zayed Mosque) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, which just happens to be the eighth largest mosque in the world (and home to the world's largest handmade carpet and largest chandelier). Now here's my question: who are these people who decided it would be a good idea to wash their dishes in the sink at the mosque? (Of course, if you have spent any time in the U.A.E., you'll have a good guess who this message is intended for.)  So, there you go-- next time you are in a mosque, leave your dirty dishes at home!

For your viewing pleasure, here is a picture of me in front of the silly sign.  I assure you I did no washing of dishes in the sink that day, but I am definitely breaking a rule in this picture.  Can you guess what it is?
See that little tuft of hair peeking out of my shayla(head covering)?  That's a definite no-no.  Also a no-no?  Male/female contact of any kind.  The racy photo below of me and my friend, Phil, got us officially kicked out of the mosque (although we were on our way out, anyway).

With our bodies close together, and his arm touching my waist (the way most Westerners pose for pictures), we were told we were being "indecent."  That was probably the highlight of my day, however, as now I can tell the story of how I was kicked out of a mosque for "being indecent".


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends--

It gives a lovely light!

~Edna St. Vincent Millay

(via the lovely Rika)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Vanity Fair October 2010

I haven't looked inside the magazine at all, but I am loving Lindsay Lohan's look on the cover of the current issue of Vanity Fair.  The retro-styling is divine (as is the color of that dress), and for once, Ms. Lohan looks classy.



Friday, September 10, 2010

The Paper Bag Waist

When I bought this cotton fabric in South Africa last winter (their summer), I knew I wanted to make something unique and distinctive with it.  I am not sure where I got the idea to make a paper bag waist skirt-- I think it just came to me.  After I decided on the silhouette of the skirt, I did a search on the internet for similar styles, and while there were not a ton of skirts with paper bag waists out there, there were a few (I was directly inspired by this Fendi Spring 2010 look).
According to one website, the paper bag waist is hard to wear: "A super slim, non-curvy body type, plus height, a smallish chest and great gams are the prerequisites."  I don't fit that description; I am slim, but my body is definitely curvy.  I do think my legs are nice, which is one reason I chose this style.  I am not sure how the skirt will look on me, but I think I can pull it off.

I had hoped to finish this skirt by tonight-- I wanted to wear it in honor of the Fashion's Night Out festivities.  In typical fashion, it still needs a little work (the balloon skirt is pinned up at the moment and still needs to be attached to the underskirt).  Hopefully I can post pictures of me wearing it soon, and you can be the judge as to whether or not it looks good on me.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

My first Homemade Vintage Dress

I cannot pinpoint when it was that I started loving vintage fashions.  Growing up, my sister and I loved watching AMC (American Movie Classics), and later, TCM (Turner Classic Movies).  I don't know how we got into that either (although my parents did consider an almost yearly watching of Gone With the Wind as an integral part of any good Southern upbringing), but afternoons after school were generally filled with the visages of Jimmy (Stewart), Cary (Grant), the Hepburns (Katherine and Audrey), Liz (Taylor), Paul (Newman), and others plastered on the television screen.  I can only imagine with so many beautiful clothes in the movies, designed by the likes of Edith Head and Adrian, that it is only natural that many of the styles sank into my subconscious.

I have been eyeing vintage patterns on eBay for some time, but decided to go with a current Butterick pattern.  It is a reissue of one from 1947 (B5209).  The great thing about buying these reissued patterns is that you know all the pattern pieces are there, the patterns are printed (many older pattern pieces don't have anything printed on them-- they're simply blank pieces of tissue paper), and the directions are modernized.  It really is the best of both worlds.


I wrote a review of the pattern on, detailing what I changed about the pattern and my recommendations.  You can read it here.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cover Girl

One of my favorite clients to work for is the McCall Pattern Company, who also owns Butterick and Vogue Patterns.  Everyone there is wonderful, and I have been working for them for a while, so they feel like family.  I also always thought it was a perfect fit-- I love sewing, and buy their patterns frequently.  Moreover, my great grandfather, who died in 1933, worked at McCall's as a printer.  It feels like things have come full circle!

If you happen to be in a fabric store anytime soon, you can see me on the back cover of the Fall 2010 Butterick catalogue.  I am on several of the patterns inside the book as well.


In sewing-related news, yesterday after dropping my parents off at the Philadelphia Airport (they're off to Italy for vacation!), I took advantage of my proximity to the city to go to one of my favorite fabric stores.  After being relegated to the fabric-cum-craft stores in Delaware, it is indeed a divine experience to browse through the bolts of cloth in a real fabric store.  It is a strange thing indeed, but I derive true joy from examining and petting all of the different textiles and trims that they had on offer.


Just a peek in my buggy (that's the southern term for shopping cart, y'all) reveals some of the tempting delights that I treated myself to.  My modus operandi was to walk around and put everything in my cart that caught my eye.  Most of the fabrics I chose were wool, although I had a few satins as well.  I didn't purposely choose colors in the same colorways (the blues and the salmons), so I guess that is just what I am being drawn to these days.  I do have some projects in mind-- here's hoping that I'll be able to follow through.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Sweater Girl

Although I'm not usually a Lara Stone fan (she's a beauty, but has nothing on Raquel Zimmerman), I think she looks amazing in this spread for the September issue of American Vogue.  I am also loving the 1950s silhouette-- this look is back big time (thanks, in part, to the success of Mad Men)!  In other news, I am getting ready to re-open my Etsy store with fabulous vintage apparel for sell.  Hopefully in the next week or two, I'll have some stuff posted in the shop.  I'll be sure to keep you posted!




Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Day is Done

The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.

I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me
That my soul cannot resist:

A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain,

Come and read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.

Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.

For like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life's endless toil and endeavor;
And to-night I long for rest.

Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start;

Who through long days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.

Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.

Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The beauty of thy voice.

And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents like Arabs,
And silently steal away.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), The Day is Done

It seems that every few months I go on a poetry kick-- it's just so beautiful!  Posting the Emily Dickinson quote yesterday makes me want to go find a good biography of her life.  I also find a good quote to be quite satisfying.

Do you have any poems you recommend?


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Letter Always Feels To Me...

"A letter always feels to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend."

~Emily Dickinson, in a letter to a friend