Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Sadistic Nymphomaniac

Do you Pinterest?

To me, the place is like a drug, oh so bad and yet oh so good all at the same time. And like a drug, I find I binge and purge on the place from two sides of the pendulum. Either I dabble because I'm bored and have nothing to do or I plunge in headlong seeking some elusive high. (At least this is how I understand drugs kind of work based on nothing more than a couple viewings of Requiem for a Dream and a four hour adventure with a couple Excedrin.) 

And just like a drug, there is good (unlimited brownie recipes and pretty dresses) right next to the bad (people who don't pin from the the post and thus, you end up scouring an entire blog for that caramel brownie recipe when one click should have yielded immediate chocolatey goodness.)

One of the more awesome aspects of pinterest however is the fact that you can see the rabbit holes your friends and fellow pinners have fallen into and sometimes, that sends you on your own little merry chase. 

Now what does that have to do with sadism or nymphos?

Still not clear, is it?


Exactly because the CIA, particularly in the late 60's was full of the craycray and clearly jealous of Eartha Kitt's beauty. Or maybe they were just upset that they were nice enough to invite a black lady to their backpatting party and she had the nerve to voice her opinion. 

It could have been worse. At least fists didn't fly.

Instead of merely escorting her out, the CIA launched an investigation, as they did back then. Their conclusion was not that well, Eartha was merely doing that whole First Amendment thing. Oh no. The more logical conclusion was that Eartha was something of a sadistic nymphomaniac bent on destroying the world with a planet sized spaceship orbiting the earth.

Okay, so no Death Star which is disappointing because Eartha is much better looking than Darth Vader. The sadistic nymphomaniac thing however? Yeah, totally true.

Ahhhh, the good old days.

At least the fashion was fabulous.

I thought I knew about Eartha. She was Catwoman, duh. And she voiced Yzma, a character in one of my favorite movies evah, The Emperor's New Groove.

But I had no idea until I saw Wanett's Pinterest feed what an interesting and engaging life Eartha lived, far beyond a couple episodes of Batman. Between the sadistic nymphomaniac business and the mystery of her birth, I'm going to need to find a biography to read. For now, I'm just going to head back over to this blog post and fall back into the splendor that is elegance.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Kids Clothing Week

kid's clothes week

I have an excellent track record with challenges.

Fine, Mr. Sloth. You're right. I do not. But I'm going to try to fix that and I'm starting with Kids Clothing Week. So many great sewists participate and do an excellent job I might add, wresting stirrings of jealously from my cold, envious, black little heart. It just so happens that I have a few kid projects I need to get my little fingers to so a week dedicated to just that purpose is timely.

So what's the plan, Stan?

via Sunday's Child

First up, a good friend of mine recently had a sweet little baby boy and I volunteered to make his christening outfit. Why? Because christening outfits are gorgeous and I never made one for pudding. The little bubble I'm making comes from the May/June 1996 issue of the now defunct Creative Needle and will be made from a cotton/linen blend I bought at Joann's.

Smocked baby owls by Michie Mooney

Next I'll be making at least one version of #134 by Michie, one in brown corduroy with an embroidered pumpkin for Halloween and another in brown sateen with acorns for fall. Remember this post when I said patterns like this are quite versatile? Skip on over to this link to see more. The sateen version will look something like this precious little sailboat romper and the pumpkin one ought to resemble the smocked wagons vs though I'm not sure if I'll have time to turn out something smocked or if I have a pumpkin smocking graph. Guess I'll be figuring that out this weekend.

2+2 Blouse pattern by
Oliver and S

And of course, I can't attempt a Kids' Clothing Week without planning something for pinky, now can I? She's been really into jeans for church lately meaning she doesn't want to wear the two dresses I recently made for her. I only made them because she desperately needed church clothes. So now, she desperately needs church clothes. I think that means it's time to finally make the Oliver and S 2+2 blouse I've had in my stash for three years. Again, I'll need to spend this weekend going through the stash but I believe I have something aqua and something red I can donate to this cause.

Wish me luck!

Are you a KWCer? If so, what's on the books?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Oh look, black folks in a period piece!

You have no idea how happy this makes my little heart.

Belle is based on the real life story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the daughter of an officer in the Royal Navy and a West Indies slave. I'm desperate to see it but a little wary as I wonder if they'll make her color or her illegitimacy the bigger problem for society. The reality is that the latter was far more problematic than the former. Either way, she would have had issues finding a husband, though less so if there was a decent dowry but her color wouldn't have kept her from eating with the family nor would it have kept her from being presented to society or accepted at society functions and such.

Illegitimacy you see, was a very big issue in English society in those days, particularly for a woman. If acknowledged by his father, an illegitimate son could have a place in society, though he would not be able to inherit his father's title, if he had one or any property that went along with that title. An illegitimate daughter, on the other hand, could never find a place in society by virtue of her birth. I would presume she could gain status through a husband but given her status as an illegitimate daughter would relegate her to some kind of half caste position even lower than a governess, her prospects for finding a husband would be fairly slim.

And now that your eyes have completely glazed over, watch the trailer.

Belle comes out in theaters May 2nd, 2014.

And here is a portrait of Dido along with her cousin, Elizabeth Murray by an unknown artist.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I want a new baby

Not another baby. A fresh one. One that doesn't do heinous things.

What heinous things you ask?

I'm not telling. 

Okay, you really wanna know?

Well, it's pudding, you see. I walked into the baby's room after his nap and . . .

On second thought, no. Trust me. You don't want to know.

Just know that I'm hiding from the world.

Now I know why I couldn't think of a story to tell for a Monday morning gif parade.

God had other plans for me.

Plans that involve . . .

Nevermind. I said I wasn't telling, didn't I?

I'm done with life for the day.

If you'll excuse me, I feel Ben and Jerry's calling my name.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Vintage sewing lust

Shift dresses without good waist definition just aren't my thing and mr man doesn't wear suits. But Caroline's sweet little piped dress is banging. It wouldn't be a difficult look to recreate either. A basic yoke pattern with a couple deep pleats in the bodice, a peter pan collar, and a good strong piping and you're all set.

Look at little Jack jr's delicious wittle baby legs. Don't you just want to pinch them a little? I recently picked up a similar pattern for pudding in anticipation of Christmas. Looks like it will be put to good use if I keep coming across nifty ideas to use it.

I really adore Michie's patterns. They come on nice heavy white paper and all the pieces are straight forward and easy to trace. They also come in a wide size range in one envelope so you can take one classic look and with easy adjustments, stretch it from infancy to toddlerhood in a variety of ways. It never made it to the blog but pudding's Easter outfit last year was a Creations by Michie pattern, #105, the sailor bubble. You couldn't ask for an easier pattern to put together. It's totally not Michie's fault I ran over my finger with the sewing machine needle. It's what I get for procrastinating to the point where I was putting together that bad boy at 3 am Easter morning.

I also relied upon Michie for pudding's St Patrick's day outfit which if I recall correctly did not debut on the holiday itself but the weekend after. I used #120 Sunsuit/Dress. The main fabric is a soft seersucker from Hancock's because Joann's seersucker feels like upholstery fabric. The round yoke was cut from a muslin sateen and embroidered with a Celtic knotwork J in green perle cotton which is apparently girly and impossible to read judging by the comments I got.

As usually happens here, I've strayed from my topic but I had to take a moment to share some Michie love. A quick search on google will show all the ways people use this pattern. I especially love her because the heirloom sewing world is awash in all types of pretty for little girls. Michie makes it a point to design for boys. If it wasn't for her patterns, I don't know that I'd sew much for baby pudding.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A moment of silence for the dress that will never be

Some days just don't go my way. Admittedly, it's often my lack of interest in planning aka I was totally going to get up off my rear end and shave my legs last night buuuuuuuuuut, I really need to figure out how to make this for pinky's regency outfit. Look at it! I don't know the historical term for this little big girl onesie but it features tiny pintucks on the bottom with just a touch of lace. How cute would that look peeking from under the hem of pinkerton's skirts?

The internet really is a big ol' rabbit hole. Poor Alice ought to be grateful she didn't grow up in the digital age. The cats alone would keep you busy for days. But I digress.

Due to that whole too lazy to get off the computer at a decent hour bit I mentioned, my wardrobe options were limited to stuff involving pants. I pulled on a top I've recently made, my old reliable black pants, and was finishing up my make up when I noticed two big brown spots on the shoulder. At this point, my kids are already in the car, having scurried out ahead of my usual Sunday morning wrath. (If you are a church goer with kids, I don't have to explain this to you. You know and you just cringed.) I stalk into the bedroom and quickly throw on another shirt only to have my husband interrupt me saying, "Whyyyyyy? That one looked better!"

Thanks for that, champ. 

A heavy sigh later and I'm stalking out of the house. I make the fool mistake of looking down and there's some big splotch on the shit of my pants.

The point of this meaningless story is that I need some new church clothes, namely dresses. So I took a whirl around the internet to get some inspiration and was confronted by the one sewing pattern that mocks me in its "completely unsuitable for you" cuteness.

Oh how I want this dress. It calls to me every.single.time I walk into the fabric store. Hell, there is a good possibility I actually bought the pattern. But I promptly lost it or something because it is not around to mock me and my big ol' bust. As cute as this dress is the honest truth is that high necks make it look as if my boobs are going to eat my face.

I'm sure you're thinking, well, dude, how hard would it be to change the bodice to something more flattering, like a v neck perhaps. AND LOSE ALL THAT LOVELY DETAILING?

No, my friends. Better to have loved and lost than to forge on and piss myself off/bring on a big boob shame spiral from which only ice cream can soothe. 

Le sigh

Somethings just aren't meant to be.

Like a potential love affair between me and Tom Hardy.

Aww, do you need someone to kiss your boo boo?

He thinks I'm funny. It's a start, right?

P.S. the internet has suggested Tom Hardy as an excellent starting point for a Monday Morning gif parade. I'm not sure I can disagree. 'Til tomorrow then.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Back with a beauty or three

Funny how things just get away from you. Long story short, I moved, crowded myself with boxes, and then when I finally cleared out space for the computer, I discovered it died. Lovely, right? In the meantime, I plowed through quite a bit of sewing, learned more about my pleater, forgot things about my serger, and rediscovered fabric I'd forgotten. Btw, that's when you know it's time to stop, when you come across fabric you'd forgotten you'd had. Will that stop me?



So anyway, I find it quite interesting discovering all the history we seemed to have missed in school, particularly when it comes to people who aren't white Europeans. In my absence from the blogosphere, I was drawn into a conversation on a facebook group for fiction writers and to my dismay discovered just how little anyone knows or cares to know about the world of people of color outside of slavery and/or oppression. I expect it from the general population, we who were raised with textbooks that put the occasional Black, Hispanic, or Asian in a little box set away from the rest of history as little more than a footnote. But these were writers obsessed with history and yet they had taken the attitudes and social mores of Victorian England and were more than happy to apply them to all of history.

Well, let me be clear, while prejudice and racism have always been a part of our story as humanity, it has not always resulted in people of color merely being footnotes to history or on the outside of social acceptance or relegated to the role of servant, slave, or marginalized people. We of color have rich histories both inside and outside of Western European society and now that I'm back in blog business, I shall make it mine to spend more on that topic. I hadn't meant to but you see, I was perusing Pinterest for dessert recipes and came across a picture that reminded me of the Facebook conversation I referenced earlier.

May I present Queen Ranavalona III, the last person to reign the Kingdom of Madagascar. Now raise your hand if you knew they'd ever been a Kingdom of Madagascar. Don't be shy. I didn't know either. The kingdom was established in 1540 but as the French and the British had a rather nasty habit of fighting over things that didn't belong to them in the first place, the kingdom came to an end in 1897.

Her niece and heir, Marie-Louise as seen below, grew up and studied nursing, a career that earned her the Legion of Honor from the French government for her services during World War II.

Ranavalona III came to the throne after the death of her aunt, Queen Ranavalona II, pictured below.