Saturday, December 31, 2011


This post is not about resolutions.. instead here's a tableau of favourite things that have seen Babettopolis through the past year..

I hate how time rolls on without bothering to check in on one who has goals they haven't reached by the end of the year..

And so I'll postpone most and discard others!

I'm glad things turned out the way they did for Babettopolis.. I just hope there's enough in it/me to keep both going for years to come..

Roll on 2012 .. I'll cram the life out of you oh-dreaded-year-to-come!


*don't forget to place your orders for anything handmade, one-off and made-to-measure early this year to avoid having to listen to my disappointed voice over the phone*

Monday, December 26, 2011

'Tis that season*

I must warn upfront.. we're the kind of people who only recieve/display one or two christmas cards and pass them for decoration. I come from a family with average christmas spirit and tasteful christmas decor but it never really caught on with me; and now that I moved house I still do not feel the need to decorate.

(below: two nice cards from friends .. we do not need more.. having just two a year has become a feature in itself)

however, despite my palpable lack of seasonal spirit, my nanna took pity on our empty house and passed on to me some pretty old paper decorations and for these I made an exception. I just taped them to my bookcases in the hope that they'll make it back down, at least, before my birthday in March.

My friend Alex who knows I'm of the FOWERZ>COCOLATE disposition brought me some fresh flowers some two days ago.. they're holding up and that's a good thing since I think they compensate for the lack of 'all the rest' .. including some LED lights for which I bought no batteries.

I focus on decorating vintage shoes and hats instead.. I find it's way more spiritually and aesthetically rewarding.

(below: a pair of beautifully cut black leather shoes to which I added a pearly bow-affair in taupe felt
and even below that: a grey felt hat which I changed from a porkpie crown with a sad leather band that had seen better days to a cloche shape with a black feather and pearl band. This hat was picked up from a vintage/charity store by the lady-with-a-discerning-eye behind 'Hey Birdie-pie!' and she'll have it displayed at her next stall/event)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Otherwise Entangled ...

I am here to proclaim my love for Sailor Knots.. and to promise more of the same.

This is a knotted affair from a year ago or so..

and this is another knotted commissioned piece I've just finished and can't stop looking at as it hangs up to dry..

I'm taking orders for Christmas gifts or anything else really but I'm warning you in Maltese ... qed nhoss ir-rih tal-bidla xx

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Shoe WIN

My fetish with perfectly fitting shoes started early.

I always preferred Cinderella's working pair of black flats over the revealing and demanding glass pair.. so simple and obliging were those painted-on flats.

They completed her figure's perfect lines.. they waited obediently by her bedside.. they made it to my top ten childhood memories just by being flat, sculptural and plain but so damn perfect in fit.

This simple moving image/symbol is pure fetishisation .. my experience with the well fitting, understated-in-line shoe has bore this influence eversince.

I dream of seamless structures and weightless frames now. I choose to believe it has done me a world of good.

I suggest you immediately skip to 3:07 till 3:16 if you hate fan over-dubs as much as I do and would like to check what I've been going on about for yourself.

This ere link!

Below is my sorry excuse for the perfect flat black pair.

The creases in my tights ruin the look, the leather of the shoe does not mould itself around my foot when I descend the stairs, I sometimes leave them behind me when I'm running to catch the bus and they sometimes chafe at the back of the heel as well.

It's one of life's great disappointments.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Patches aftermath .. (fowtows?)

This blog post is bound to prove one thing if any.. that the best of intentions is never enough to get a job done. I wanted to document this year's Christmas edition of Patches thoroughly .. I even charged the camera's battery.. I had intended to take photos of every purchase on its new owner! guess what I did.. I left my stall for 15 mins right after I set up.. ran about to say 'hi..ello!' to close friends for 5 mins.. took photos of their stuff and mine.. checked on the SPCA stall and took some photos of that, then I went back to my stall because the market was officially open .. after that in a flurry of paper bags, big smiles, hot soup and 'biznizz' cards I forgot all about my camera.. silly silly me.

Still.. here goes..

Carla's Rita Cholita stand!

This is Sarah's The Secret Rose stand!

and this is my Patches neighbour Alexandra's illustration and screenprinting stand!

These are the only 2 pitiful photos I took of my stall! *disaster!

And this is my mum.. who brought me egg and ham sandwiches and green tea and helped me wrap things for people throughout the day! (*and just in case she sees this, I must ask her to not ask me in turn to put this photo down.. instead she should be happy I didn't put up the one in which she appears to be making fun of my pearly fascinator hat!)

For a decent picture of myself I must direct you to Ramona Depares' blog post and Denise Scicluna's proper photo documentation of the event!

someone always does it better hehe

This Patches event was a blast! The soup was super good, the cookies super crunchy and my last stolen visit to Lara's new vintage clothing wing 'Hey Birdie Pie!'(*sans camera of course!), just the treat I needed after a whole day on my poor legs! I wish Patches happened in two parallel dimensions where I could mind my stall and roam about the market simultaneously!

PS: as from today my wares will no longer be hidden away underneath my sewing room french bed.. they are currently on display and for sale exclusively at The Odd Spot in Labour Avenue Naxxar! x

also.. I am currently asking (/begging) for photos of you wearing the stuff you purchased from my stall! it'll be a lovely reminder of the event and a memory aid for me to rely on when I need to know what went were and with whom! x

Saturday, November 26, 2011

This is what I'm bringing to the table boss!

Ok I lied. I didn't immediately leave my desk to start packing.. I just had to post again with some of the latest items to be added to my Patches box of goodies. I have half an idea to fit in another hat by tonight but I might not make it.. let's not stress.. let's have tea and go through our 'to take' list.

To be honest I'm a bit worried about creasing stuff on the way there, about squashing the elaborate hats in.. but I guess these are common pre-gig gitters or a sign that I should participate more often so as to eliminate this feeling entirely!

Can we say this enough? NO

And just cos I simply cannot say this enough.. here's all of my Patches 9th edition propaganda in one blog post.

Setting up and preparing sufficiently for such a market is not a piece of cake so it'd be nice (triple plus good!) to see your lovely faces there on the day.
'the day' meaning tomorrow from 10 till 7! .. and now i'm definitely off to pack!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The dress and chiming bells ...

I'm back with a beautiful thing.. the summation of a long story with the sweetest of endings. I hope you can hear wedding bells too!

Picture this: you're in line for a relatively dodgy restroom in an equally dodgy bar. Someone vaguely familiar approches you and asks you whether you'd be interested in making their wedding dress for them. You of course say 'YES..yay..' and dive into your mess of a bag for a business card worried you might end up forgetting all about this encounter because of those 5 extra gin and tonics.

For something that has started out in a restroom, this is a sweet story indeed!

This is the sketch for the dress. I sat down with the bride-to-be for what must have been a bit less than an hour (fast no?!) and we came up with this. A 1950s inspired dress with a bias cut semi transparent overskirt, a cinched waist, a double layer veil and the all important hand embroidered inserts. Hand embroidered quotes about love in Maltese, English and Latin.. isn't that the most romantic of thoughts!? I'm so happy the bride suggested this idea in time.. what a comparatively commonplace dress this would have turned out to be if we had opted for machine embroidered material. So here enters my go-to friend for everything romantic, swirly and well-executed: embroiderer extraordinaire Sarah of The Secret Rose fame! Contacting her at possibly the busiest time in her life to date (ie. mid-MA course/thesis) she performed awe-inspiring, embroidery acrobatics to finish her work in time for the wedding! I owe you a big Bravo!! and a wishful promise that next time round (hoping and secretly sure there'll be a next time round) it won't be this much hassle for you!

A number of visits to the textile shop and a batch of swatches later; on an ardent quest to find the best material to embroider on and the best backing for it, we settled for this lovely antique white, sturdy enough for our constructed shape and for the embroidery needle. Here are some teasers I simply couldn't help myself releasing mid way through the dress-making process. I had just put the embroidered pieces in and way so happy about the result!

Last Saturday afternoon we were cordially invited to the bride's home just minutes before she was to leave for the church, to take some final pictures of her in the dress. It was a lovely gesture on her and her family's part and it felt as if the whole household was in a 'happy buzz'.. following are some of the said pictures.

some nicely taken closeups by Sarah...

Just like her choice of shoes, the bride's choice of antique gold jewellery couldn't have complemented the dress more. yay!

Here's a commemorative photo of Sarah and myself with the bride-to-be (yes it was pretty chilly last Saturday! *please excuse the piling on of large scarves)

and even though I was half asked not to, I simply had to post this swiftly taken photo of the bride's mother in the lovely purple jacket and dress! I'm so happy we opted for purple in spite of all the lovely colours in the spectrum!

This is a parting gesture blogpost.. I've worked on this dress for such a long time I sometimes expect to find it hung behind me on my wardrobe. If you wish to read a slightly more chronological excerpt about this project I suggest you go to Sarah's blog! If on the other hand you're thinking about getting married and would love to do it in a special dress I suggest you get in touch.. there's little else that pleases one more than to see such a personalized project through. I intend to work with Sarah on customized embroidery pieces well into the future so from that end I can assure you quality standards and all that jazz.

Please come and find me in a restroom near you! :)or else it's .. the choice is yours!

Friday, November 18, 2011

What I've always wanted

:....D I'm so happy, it is mine at last!

People around me insist on giving me wonderful gifts. I really like this!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

av bin framed!

All it takes to change my mood is a drill and a couple of nails... muhahahahahaha

yes, putting up frames is a satisfying chore indeed, especially if someone else offers to do it for you! I am happy for these flea-market finds for having found a good home for themselves.. they did well in life!

And here's an advertisment for the much awaited christmas-themed handmade market at the indoor market in Valletta...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Christmas came early ...

Yes it did. And it did with the surprise visit of gift-laden parents. Now resigned to the idea that they must bring their own wine with them cos we always run out, they still visit often and bring with them bagfuls of stuff which reaches me, via their house, from neighbours, acquaintances and relatives alike (see teh jewellery below). I have a feeling that after today it's going to be a bit tricky for me to complain about anything. Following are four indian gowns with matching pants and scarves which I got as a combined christmas/birthday gift. All I need now is an excuse to wear all of the stuff on top of each other .. the material so special, the cuts so flattering. I am in love and risking overkill!

Dilemma: what to keep in its entirety and what to pull apart and up-do. A little voice in my head tells me there's no way further up for these lovely things.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Anticipation and a dose of satisfaction

What bliss it is to be able to take some hand-sewing tasks to the sofa at 9pm, make tea and make the best of someone else's lp player to listen to an ever-increasing record collection which you had no time (or speakers) for before. It's restful to not have to look at your laptop everytime you wish to listen to something else.. with a record player you usually opt to stay put and listen through the whole thing.

It's also nice to find time for old projects, more precisely, old unfinished projects which have stood the test of time. To be even more precise, pieces of embroidery started some four years ago and abandonned for other pressing projects. This coat was one of the first things I had sewn, in fact it's a relatively shoddy affair. I had drafted out its pattern after attending a pattern class and I remember taking it to the teacher to inspect and getting a 'what were you thinking, dear?' look. Very few got it and even less emphatized with my Nordic priest look. It is now finished, just yesterday I decided to sit down and not let go of it until I did .. whilst listening to a mix of Brahms, My Fair Lady and Joanna Newsom.

What anticipation for the next Patches on the 27th! click on the link to view all the participants' profiles (mine included of course) .. this should be a good one.. and this time round I mustn't forget to put on cosy thermal socks! I'm expecting soup and tea and lots of familiar faces.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Horror.. The End

May I just say how very excited I am about this mural.. can't wait till it is up on its intended wall. Every little tile is now fired and glazed and packed in colour coded boxes, so really, I just want to gaze at it in place cos it's been floating about in my head too long.

And below are three items I've recently finished on the predominant theme for the week. I do not want to let go of this HORROR phase but time dictates as much. I just happen to be a bit less looking forward to christmas, you see.. for no reason in particular.. I'm just not very fond of the iconography of the feast. In any case here's an evoll cat broch incorporating a laminated illustration from an old Peter and Jane book.

Here's a return of the skull... a pelvis skull to be exact; hand made and hand painted with love. Can't really get enough of these skulls. In fact I shall be making more. Many have expressed their inability to understand such a piece and find it hard to imagine wearing them, so I feel obliged to explain the mock (just because we live in this age) talismanic charm and the encapsulation of stories in said items. Please come round to my Babettopolis stall at Patches on the 27th for more rambling along the same theme.. and hopefully some festive cheer (I promise I'm going to try!)

Here's a befringed neckpiece. As I've explained elsewhere, this is a salvaged piece, the other components of which had rusted to a point of imminent collapse. So we replaced the essential parts with cord and added some beading details to dress it up a bit. I need to get my head round creating more since it's really tough for me to switch from full-on sewing to full-on crafting. I'm just going to keep in mind that a half-empty stall looks pathetic!

And here's me, with friends, preparing for a satanic ritual. This will be my last Halloween related post (promise!)

photo by glen galea