Saturday, September 30, 2006

A sterling moment in time

Today I went to the Houston Area Antique dealers show. It didn't take long to figure out this show was for serious collectors with lots of money.
Isn't that gorgeous? I can imagine it in a beautiful English manor house, as a centerpiece for an "Age of Innocence" dinner.

Edwardian clothing on everyone.

One booth had nothing but sterling silver, and service pieces. Every silver pattern ever created, I think, was represented in full, and always seemed to include an asparagus server. A very cool looking item, that.

Alas, seeing all those lovely silver patterns reminded me of a personal injustice that was dealt to me thirty four years ago.
A slight from which I doubt I shall ever recover.

You see, at La Jolla high school there was always a prize given each year to the top home economic student. A very elegant La Jolla store always donated a place setting in silverware of the winning student's choice.

I was that student in 1972. I was both the Bank of America departmental award winner for Home Economics, and the top home economics student as well.

I worked hard to get that honor. I took Advanced Cooking, which included catering and complex meal service, AND Advanced Clothing Construction, including tailoring, in addition to the Honors college prep curriculum.

In my junior year of high school I determined I would be the one to win the prize in my class.

I went to the elegant silver/crystal/china store and decided I wanted to have Wallace "Romance of the Sea" for my silver pattern.
It was not an easy decision to make. I really liked Sir Christopher as well, but decided it might be a bit too fancy.

Imagine my chagrin, my heartbreak, my dismay, my disgust and my anger upon learning from Mrs. Mittermiller's (my home economics instructor), in late May of my senior year, that while I had won the Department Award, AND the Bank of America award, that the store, (for the first time in the more than half century of the school's history), WAS NOT GOING TO GIVE A PLACE SETTING THAT YEAR!

The price of silver had soared that year. Perhaps they decided that giving the student one setting was not resulting in a guaranteed desire to further collect at least five additional place settings via bridal registry or parental largess.

Formerly it had been a clever business ploy, don't you think?

But...wouldn't you think that maybe, since silver had gotten so expensive, that maybe I could have been offered a place setting of china? or crystal?

Nope. For me, in 1972, nada. Nothing. Zilch.

1973? Oh, well, back to the usual. A lovely place setting of silver was presented to that year's winner, and I presume to each winner until who knows when.

Four years later I did register for flatware. Only by then silver was "out", and stainless was "in".

Incidentally, my stainless cost in 1976 the same as my mom's silver cost her when she married in 1946.

Bernie picked the pattern. Dansk Classique. A plain curved edged and top design. My dad commented it looked like what they used in the mess hall in the navy.

There's a compliment for ya!

The upside is that Dansk makes quite a product. Nothing will bend or scratch Dansk stainless. In thirty years I have yet to have any damage to any of the pieces. So I have never needed to get a different set. It did look great with our Dansk Blue mist, a plain white glazed pottery with two navy rings on the edge that we used for our first 25 years of marriage.


It all looks just so.... 70's.

Well, here's the kicker.

A few years back Bernie and I were in a store that had all the classic silver patterns displayed. So, just for fun I asked him what pattern he would pick if we were to get some real silverware.

He glanced at all the patterns.

Honed in on one.

Pointed at "Romance of the Sea."

He shook his head, and firmly declared:

"Definitely, not that one."

I still like "Romance of the Sea".

But now I like the gold and silver version.

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Friday, September 29, 2006

"And it came to pass..."

When I was a teen and facing the usual assortment of teenage woes, Mrs. Watts, a friend of my mother, gave me a piece of advice.

The advice was as follows:

"Remember the Bible keeps saying "and it came to pass". That is always true. What ever comes, will also pass. If you hate what is going on, don't worry, it will pass. If you love what is going on, it will pass away too. Nothing going on is forever, everything comes and then goes away."

That's the gist of it anyway.

This week remembering that observation helped a lot.

Over-the-top stupendous rudeness to me at my profession forum had me a hair's trigger from sending a scorched earth caliber email to the offending party, who really should know better, but does this kind of stuff routinely.

Bernie said I shouldn't take it personally, that it is just the way the person is.
Others later confirmed that indeed, the person's behavior was SOP (standard operating proceedures) for that person. Rude, and wrong, but just the way this person does stuff.

Then I was involved in a presentation. I wore my brand new dusty rose pink suede skirt that fit, and wound up sitting a chair where water had been spilt. I didn't notice, and presented with a huge wetspot on my backside. Insult to injury, I looked stupid, or unfortunent, and had a ruined skirt to boot.

Ever notice once you get angry, you find more things to be angry about? Well, I scratched together an encyclopedia of irritations and mads. Bernie lucked out, he had to go out of town.

But being the sweetie that he is, he brought me flowers when he came home, and a sympathy card, and gave me hug. How about that, flowers from him when someone else had done me wrong.

And so it came to pass that my work week was over, my husband was home, and the skirt stain is only noticible in certain lights if you stare at my backside really hard.

And unless you are Bernie, you had better not. Stare at my backside, that is.
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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Millinery: A "Jill" for Gail

My signature hat is a Glengarry style cap. I'm not really sure when I decided I wanted a cap in that shape, maybe it was after seeing them in drawings of Civil War era ladies, or in 1940's fashion books. Or maybe it was a cover story on Madonna. She wore one a few years back.

I tend to wear this style hat all winter, both for dressy events, and jeans and sweater events. Since there is no brim, it is a cap that works all day and in all situations.

While I was in Colorado I had my friend Gail try on some of my hats. I had a hat in this fabric with pink rhinestones and more pink buttons with me on the trip. You can see that one in my August posting entitled Daughters.

The fabric in my hat was almost a perfect match for Gail's prized woven shawl wrap. The shawl is just beautiful, a soft wool that has a lot of loft, and lovely shades of purples and blues.

So since her birthday is this coming Sunday, of course I had to make a hat for her too. This time without the pink tones though.
I've made about fourteen of these hats, in lots of different fabrics . My favorite thing to do with the pattern is to make up the hat in someone's tartan. I've done a Stewart, McIntyre, and McQueen to date.

And I love trimming the simple pattern. My vintage button collection finally gets to come out and play. I also love making a Mother/Daughter set. It is just amazing made up in velvet, and ruched, or fur.

The pattern, "Jill", is for intermediate level sewing, (due to curves), and is available in the pattern section of Judith M.

I've shipped the hat off to Gail. She should get it on Friday, so mum's the word till then!

Update: She peeked.

Gail's comment posted back on my 100th posting:

What a surprise! You've made me a hat! How delightful! I can hardly wait to wear it with my special shawl. Jill you're such a thoughtful friend. I'm feeling a little lonely being the only one in my house now. Tonight is the first time I've really felt like that. Checking out your blog has lifted my spirits! Scott, Elizabeth and I are going to Calif for Christmas - will you be going west in Dec? Bye for now.

Gail NEVER reads my blog...until last night. Wouldn't you just know it? That will teach me a lesson.

Oh well, at least I was caught saying something nice!
And yes, I think we will be doing Christmas out west. See you in San Diego in three months. Be sure to wear your hat!Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Millinery: Fall straw hat, and chocolate

Fashion etiquette advises that felt hats be worn in Fall and Winter, and straw hats be worn in Spring and Summer.

This is highly practical: Felt keeps you warm, straw lets breezes in to keep you cool.

But when you live in an area where it is 90+ degrees seven months a year, practicality trumps etiquette.

That is to say, even though Fall is here, I can still sorely need a straw hat.

Yesterday I was to attend an evening wedding, beginning at 5, and with temperatures predicted in the 90's (feeling like 102 degrees with the humidity.)

I wanted to wear a hat, and I wanted to wear brown, as the color scheme of the wedding was to be chocolate. Yummy!

I had created this hat a few months back, with just the veiling and organdy and pearl rosettes as trim. It was simply blah. I never wore it.

By quickly adding brown wooden beads, two pheasant feathers and a turkey feather (from a wild turkey called and shot by Dad, of course, who else?) I quickly created a cool yet autumnal chapeaux.

(Note: The turkey was delicious by the way, wild turkey tastes far better that store-bought Butterballs.)

Off I went to the wedding, wearing both hat and gloves, only to find I was the only one at the wedding in either a hat or gloves. I would be deceitful if I said I was surprise by that.

Oh well.

Thankfully the wedding was moved inside, and the ceremony was preformed under blessed air-conditioning.

The reception was the best one I had ever attended. Such joy and dancing, great food, and fine celebration.

A delight to see Mr. C. M. Y. and Miss D. J. J. become Mr. and Mrs. C. M. Y.

Mazel Tov!
PS: And while the wedding colors were chocolate and peach, I personally am swearing off chocolate except as a visual color treat. Oh that picture. The diet begins....

PSS: I love how chocolate bridesmaids gowns look at weddings. Lovely next to the bridal eggshell or white gown. Curiously, four for four of the wedding I know of over a six month span will have this color scheme.

Now I am curious.

What will the rage in wedding colors be by this time next year?
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Millinery: Making a hat on a bowl in ten steps.

Step one: Find a bowl that looks interesting. This bowl is from Ikea.

Step two: Dip some sinamay in gelatin water, using unflavored gelatin and hot water to form a sizing to keep the sinamay stiff.

Step three: Cover the outside bowl with plastic wrap, and then two layers of sinamay. Leaving 2 inches beyond the edge of the bowl, trim excess sinamay.

Step four: Fold edge of sinamay over the edge of the bowl, and hold fast using clothes pins.

Step five: While the sinamay dries, cut a band on the bias, fold edges under, iron, and stitch.

Step six: Insert millinery wire into a velvet tubing. Overlap wire and secure to create a circle conforming to the edge of the bowl.

Step seven: Fold edge of sinamay over the tubing, and stitch sinamay hem closed.

Step eight: Position head band on hat body, ajusting size and postion for comfort and angle. Stitch to hat body.

Step nine: Decorate/trim.

Step ten: Wear and enjoy!

PS: The head band goes under your hair if you would like. My model Joan's hair is a tad stiff, ya know what I mean? I just couldn't get it to move at all! Posted by Picasa