Thursday, September 23, 2010

No use crying over spilt ink...

It's been a while. I feel as if I'm falling into the traps of the lazy blogger and it does bother me a bit; especially since I'm very disciplined by nature in things related to my craft. However, in an attempt to feel better about myself, I shall henceforth bracket 'blogging' (the act) with eating (the act and related preparation) as pursuits I follow unrestrictedly - no rules related to frequency or need, but to simple sheer pleasure.

Ok: now I feel better. We move on.

Have been keeping busier than ever and enjoying every minute. Have been 'visibly and most obviously' keeping very busy. Still my mum decides it is high time we give my rooms an overhaul! .. and panic strikes.. I have to leave my work and organize my stuff for if I were to leave it up to her, I'd have to endure a colour coded system for the next 6 months, where my jewellery pliers sit next to blue tape and blue embroidery thread just because their handles match.

Ok: cutting a long story short.

I came across some old sketches and went all fuzzy inside. I'm not particularly attached to anything I have painted or sketched over the years, but re-exploring old sketchbooks and folders brings back memories of instances of time your particularly selective memory has chosen to part with. Here's a badly photographed selection.

This one, in fact, I think I will frame. Something about it I like.. and it's been so long that I no longer feel as if I had 'inked' it. I like the distance created by time and sheer indifference .. slowly I think I can grow to love it again. I just hope it is something I did after all.

This is not an old sketch. This is an old painting, the existance of which, I was fully aware of. I had given it to my cousin. She took it to Norway. Then a couple of years later her place was robbed and the painting was taken with the lot. I wasn't told of this episode till her last visit this summer and now I love to think that someone actually chose to steal it because they liked it.. that it now resides in a new home (not a dump.. please not a dump! I could deal with mouldy attic.. or a run down mountain lodge but not a dump!)
Ok: probably it was thrown away when they realised 'it was a worthless piece of shit after all'. But a girl has the right to self-flatter.

On another note.. here's a photo of my (yes, stylized) worktable. I am trying my best to devote a couple of hours a day after all the sewing is done, to creating things, objects.. just like I used to. I once spent a month doing just that but now I feel slightly rusty and since the sewing process and the 'crafty' process vary so much (I promise they do.. clean workbench -vs.- all-glued-up workbench), I'm finding it really demanding on my nerves to switch at 10pm just because I need to.

Ok: I will stress less.
Off to prepare for my bartending duties at Wirdien. (!/event.php?eid=146340098724156&ref=ts)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Unearthing Gems

Being the only neice in the family to have followed in several aunts' footsteps and kept up the sewing craft, I happen to also be the sole inheritor of everything sewing related.. from yards of textile and haberdashery items, to odd sewing gadgets and, best of all, old pattern books. When I was relatively younger I started out begging for the odd button or applique motif, then I graduated to off-cuts from current sewing projects the aunts or my mum would have on the go. Only recently did I come into such a bulky inheritance. My growing interest in the craft must have coincided (luckily enough) with the majority of the superiors' menopause(s?); they no longer sew because every other thing gets on their nerves and because, apparently, scrubbing a kitchen counter takes all day. Whoever knew? Counter-productive thoughts of a new bookcase to house piles of these books have been keeping me busy. But meanwhile, I look through them and keep finding new gems everytime round.

How cute is this!? The groom looks like Eric Bana (then again I am known for never quite getting resemblances). The light blue flower bunches makes this such a winner on my list.

Speaking of blue... how pretty is this.. though the print doesn't exactly do it for me, the model really saves the day.

The magazine from which this centrefold comes from is an all-time favourite. Have been keeping it stored away from pets and the elements in the hope of sewing something for myself from it. But of course, such miracles never happen.

This is possibly the only excusable group of friends who colour/pattern co-ordinated their outfits... ever. Tempted to go into a winding and not-necessarily-very-funny vignette inspired by this photo, but instead I'll just let the following photo speak for itself.


One mustn't necessarily take cue from this photo and follow suit; but have you ever wondered why, for some reason beyond your comprehension, back in the day men could get away with an outfit like this? And I dont mean men in the fashion avant garde.. I have photos of uncles in similar attire. In any case this guy seems pretty happy with the effect of the suit on the two ladies
..'Oh I love that plunging V-neck!'
..'Oh I love the stitching at the back! and by the way, my waist belt matches your shirt.'

And just when I thought I was rewarded enough for waking up to work on a Sunday, I happen upon a late 80s festive season pattern book and find this gold+turban+red-lips+green-silk combination which made me happier still.

Friday, September 10, 2010

It's a promise! and it's grey!

Here again with some thoughts I deemed newsworthy.. or better still.. I'm actually overjoyed with the finishing on a skirt. Still smoking hot!

This, however, is the skirt which set it all off.

A simple grey pencil skirt which many seemed to have fallen in love with. 3 wanted a copy. But I promised I wouldn't repeat an item when I first started this 'sewing thing'... The following grey skirt is what I adapted for a certain lady.. part satiny, part matte and the bow is removable (on her request) to use separately as a brooch in the coming winter.. that yoke gives me such joy!

... and just because this post has, in the process, taken on a grey tinge (a tinge I greatly approve of).. here is an old cardigan I was asked to 're-furbish' for a friend. We turned it into a 'lady' fitting cardi from a grandpa cardi-GAN and added red glass buttons and a cute (are they ever not?) collar.
I love grey.. it looks wonderful on every material.. from the richest velvets to cisp and plain cotton..

cue.. Babettopolis uniforms!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

And whilst we reminisce …

It must be a case of nostalgia brought about by the first promises of autumnal winds (sans fluttering golden leaves) .. though I know that deep down I am trying to compensate (somewhat over sentimentally) for a very bad day where baked rice remained runny, stubborn kids re-defined 'adamantly uninterested' and shops in my village closed down in festive spirit resulting in my having to halt the sewing process(es) since I lack zips.
Way back when, it occured to me that I probably ought to start creating things since I dreamt of it that much. I used to paint, waiting for illumination (and talent), but the waiting bored me to death, so I started to paint (sans transcendental aspirations) on things. This is a pair of shoes I decided to sacrifice at the high altar of Modigliani.

... and this is a hairband inspired by coral reefs and all things fishy. I only got myself a cashlink visa some time ago (last month), so there was no way I could indulge in online shopping .. my crippling inaptitude vis a vis all things technological became another incentive which drove me to do things I would have wanted to buy for myself without having to bother friends/relatives.

And this was my first sewing project. A fish tail yellow skirt. The dummy, which lacks in the derriere area fails to do the skirt justice. On yours truly, it actually fishtails and looks decently feminine.
My second skirt .. a woolly bias-cut skirt which keeps me cosy. I love skirts, I do.
(insert 'awww' sound here) This blouse changed a lot in the process but I'd like to think it changed for the better. The pleating, the motif, the buttoned sleeve .. took me ages to set in place since I didn't have a 'dolly' then.
Being a fan of all things ancient I used to dream of losing myself in a cocktail of alma tadema+gustave moureau+peacock feathers+etc etc along the lines of 'decadent' cliche trinkets. I was lucky enough to have recieved a generous piece of peacock green material from my aunt (a life-long sponsor!) .. so I decided to sew a long 'roman' dress with a very low cut back for those clammy summer nights when you feel like going bra-less and slurping granita.
The left-over material became a blouse which I don't think I've yet worn enough.
Guess what! I think I actually managed to exorcise the nostalgia. And that is considered GOOD around these parts. No use wallowing when the sewing pile is burning a hole in your table.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I made it - dubious means and all!

I really wanted to make an event of this first post. My inexperience in everything marginally related to technology makes me want to celebrate my finally making it here. However now that I am here I feel quite overwhelmed by the ordinariness of the whole thing so I shall refrain from celebrating and start to write.

A small introduction is due: I am Maria, a Malteser (yes very crunchy on the inside unless left in the fridge too long); and I had been meaning to set up this small Babettopolis enterprise for quite some time. So I took part in the first edition of Patches Market and the response gave me the impetus to pursue the ‘handmade thing’ less sporadically. I am now sewing made to order/commissioned works and also designing one off shoes for fellow enthusiasts of all things 'one off'. Oh and I am doing this in between moving out (or is it fairer to say 'moving to and fro!'?), looking for a (part-time?, full-time?, am i really?) job, curtaining the new place, replenishing the Patches basket and dreaming time-consuming dreams of going to Russia, Japan, Rome, Istanbul, Cuba ... in a hot air balloon.

I have grander plans for the next Babettopolis sign

Maybe I ought not to give you the link to the Babettopolis facebook page since I'll be uploading same photos here (that is until I actually get a decent photographer to help me out!); but anyways, here goes:!/babettopolis?ref=ts

And here is something I finished yesterday before I was reluctantly (perhaps even unnecessarily obstinately) dragged away from my sewing machine to watch Howl's Moving Castle.. little did I know I would find it saturated in Babettopolean (yes it has come to this!) imagery; so yes, the hatters, Howl the crow and that blasphemously beautiful, intricately detailed imperial city kept me drooling and relatively sedated.

Haven't been sewing anything for myself lately, but sewing for others gives me, surprisingly enough, the same high.

And this is my cat Gustav Monocle (- agent of chaos!). He is very excited about my starting this blog (told me so in a dream) and zealously looking forward to the change in location of the Babettopolis 'empire' so he'll have all of my neatly organized ribbons at his disposal.

PS: ‘First Post Ever’ was Alexandra Aquilina’s doing. She helped set up and polish this blog. (this is her band which we will be sailing the seas for this afternoon:

... in conclusion, I would like to promise you regular photo-laden posts related to every project I happen to take up (and I must outline that these are generally multiple and varied).

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First Post Ever

Hi all

Babette is finally here with her BLOG!!!