Thursday, January 31, 2008

I Forgot...

I didn't tell you about the dress form. For several years I had a dress form in my entryway. It always startled first time visitors. But then the form's owner came back from California and I had to give it back. I thought about replacing her (I'd begun to think of it as her) but professional dress forms are expensive. I couldn't really justify it since I am not a professional dressmaker and she would be purely for display. I briefly considered getting a suit of armor for the spot but those are even more expensive and harder to come by.

Then recently I began to do a little sewing. Nothing fancy, but it did revive my interest in a form. I searched the web for quite some time and I found Rox Studio. They're here, in New York, in Jamaica Queens, and they sell forms for much less than most places. They also have display forms and those are really reasonable. So that's what I got. Technically, it's a coat form. The measurements are a little off - her shoulders are too narrow and she has no butt at all- but as Karen commented, she's toile! And she was only $70 with her stand. (I'm thinking of buying a second form that has better measurements. It uses the same stand so I can swap them if I am actually sewing.) For display she's just perfect, ready to startle anyone who comes through the door. I might have to make her a red dress.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

New Stuff

It's been ten days since I last posted. I didn't mean to abandon you for so long but my work has been a little crazy the last couple of weeks. I certainly wasn't going to blog about work but there was nothing else in my head. But it's almost over. I hope.

Anyway. I did do something fun on Saturday. I went to see a movie at MoMA and then I went to Macy's and bought two coats. Yes two. They were on sale.

(Forgive the quality of the pictures, I was a little distracted.)

The first is for the winter. It's down filled and warm with a nice hood and plenty of pockets. You'd like it Lisa. It's brown. I normally don't go for stuffed coats but this one is quite nice.

The second is for spring and then fall. It's wool but the fit is very slim and I can't wear a sweater under it. But it's a really cool green color with a fun lining. It called to me from across the floor. So I bought it. Did I mention it was on sale? Via Spiga on sale. What more can one ask for?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Bit of the Past

When I was little I would go to Yugoslavia every summer to visit my grandmother. One of my favorite things about these visits were the linen sheets I got to sleep on. Have you ever slept on linen sheets? No? I advise you to go out and get some for yourself. There's nothing better for summer nights. Cool and crisp, light as air, they feel wonderful on a warm night. My grandmother's sheets were part of her trousseau, her initials embroidered on the corners. I've always lamented the loss of those sheets, her aprons, and handkerchiefs (not to mention her cookbook). I was here in the States when she passed away and others were in charge of wrapping up her life. I never returned to Belgrade after that so they were lost. I regret that and can only do my best to care for my own things as well as she did for hers.

This weekend I stopped in at a little junk shop here in the neighborhood. There's always something interesting to look at. China, vintage clothes, old photographs, books, and costume jewelry. This time there was a drawer full of white linen sheets. The real thing, they even have initials embroidered on them (E.S.). I immediately bought a set. They're not easy to have, they need to be ironed to be presentable but it is so worth it. I washed them this morning and ironed them with some lavender water. I can't wait for summer.

Nick likes the linen sheets too.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


It's only Thursday. It had already been a long week on Tuesday. There's something going around, some kind of nasty malaise. The symptoms (in varying combinations) are extreme fatigue, sore throat, headache, dizziness and the conviction that standing up and walking around would be really ill-advised. Several people at my job have it (as apparently does Lars) and it sent those of us still standing on a quest to find substitutes. A Herculean task. It's also put me way behind on my normal work and left me cranky and out of sorts. And yet there are things for which to be grateful. Most importantly, I haven't gotten whatever it is. I refuse. It is simply right out. And we did succeed in finding all the subs we needed so no classes had to be canceled and the understudies did an excellent job.

In order to counter the miasma I bought myself a book. It's called "Roast Chicken and Other Stories" by Simon Hopkinson. This is not a book for the abstemious. And it should not be read on an empty stomach. It is part recipe book and part essay. The description of a meal at a Welsh restaurant called The Walnut Tree is enough to bring a tear to the eye and cause immediate salivation. I fully intend to use it this weekend. I will report back.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


As has been noted elsewhere, it's the time of year for resolutions. Normally I don't make any, but this year I have. I don't know about you, but I've always had trouble expressing my wants, even to myself. I'm not talking about the little stuff. I can easily say "I want a second slice of cake" or "I want a new pair of shoes". I'm talking about the bigger stuff. Those wants that come up in the middle of a sleepless night. The ones that are not logical, that seem strange, or force us to look at things we'd rather leave lying deep in the bottom of the closet. I grew up in a slightly WASP-y, Protestant Work Ethic kind of household but I think that my reluctance to name these wants was born in me. The environment didn't help of course. Not that I was discouraged from dreaming or wanting but I wasn't encouraged either. Mostly I was left to my own devices. I can understand that. I'm a solitary, self-contained sort of person. I'm sure I didn't invite interference of any kind. I still don't. But now I know it. My resolution is to start naming my wants. And I'm going to start right here, right now.

I want to have a real connection to another person.
I want to not worry so much.
I want to be more open with my friends.
I want to laugh more.
I want to live with a feeling of abundance rather than scarcity.
I want to be healthy and strong.
I want to trust myself.
I want to be excited by the coming day when I wake in the morning.
I want to see possibilities rather than obstacles.
I want to love and be loved and really feel it, like a fire.
I want to know that some bit of the world is a better place for my having been here.
I want to have work that I love to do.
I want to not be concerned with what other people think of me.
I want to be unafraid of confrontation.
I want to be willing to relinquish control.
I want to cry less often.
I want to feel joy.
I want to have faith.

Religion was not part of my growing up. We went to the occasional Christmas service but there was no ritual in my life past the daily chores. I was never taught to pray and I think that maybe I missed out. Prayer is asking for something. It doesn't have to be to a God, you may be asking it of the universe or of yourself. But you are asking, giving voice to desire. And saying something aloud does make it more real. Everything said and done under the living sky is remembered.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Memory Lane in Living Color

This year we all got a very special gift. My aunt scanned the family photos and put them on a DVD. Hold on, don't panic. I'm not going to share them all with you. But there are just a few that I thought you might find amusing.Here's me at age 8 with our dog Xanadu. No, she was not named after the movie but after the land in the Coleridge poem Kubla Khan. She's about 2 years old here and she already has a litter of puppies behind her.
And here I am at 10 with a friend. Shades of attitude to come.

Now, some of you out there have heard the story of The Suit. We made a suit for my cousin M for Christmas. He was very particular about his clothes and we never felt that we could get it right so we went all the way in the other direction. We made a suit out of the horrible 1970's curtains that we had. These things were serious, made out of fabric you could use for a bomb shelter . We turned them into a 3 piece suit complete with puke green lining on the vest, big orange buttons and tie. He was certainly surprised. (Yes, I did erase his face. He'd would not like it all over the internet in this outfit.)

Fabulous isn't it? Later my brother in law took to wearing it when he lectured on the 60's.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Finishing Off The Holiday

It's been quite some time since I posted. I got a little distracted. If I've spoken to you since Christmas I've probably gone on at some length about the horror that was the holiday baking. I will not go into it any further. Suffice it to say that I'm taking a little baking break.
But I did want to post the last of the pictures. They came out pretty well.

You may remember I mentioned making Meringue Mushrooms. I'm not a meringue fan but they are pretty darn cute.

Here they are, piped onto a sheet. Stems and tops. Once they are baked the pointy bits on the stems get trimmed off so they can get glued to the tops with melted chocolate.

In order to make them look more mushroomy I dusted them with cocoa.

And here they are, all put together. They're like fairytale mushrooms. Can't you just see the gnomes and pixies hiding amongst them?

Last, but not least, we have this little guy. He was Lindsay's present. That girl has a thing for knits. He's very soft and yet completely washable.