Friday, September 30, 2011

The Odd Spot

Babettopolis is proud to inform you that as from today (well, yesterday to be exact) some of its latest creations will be on show and for sale from the lovely outlet in Naxxar (Labour Avenue, opposite playingfield) by the name of The Odd Spot. The place houses a carefully selected assortment of items from around the world, both antiques and reproductions of. From assorted china from Russia, to low copper tables, egyptian metalwork lamps (yes I have my eye on the one in the window with the extra long fringe already), decorative busts, handmade cushions and divinely executed handwork from India and Ireland.

My mantlepiece has long aspired to be this shop.. I can only strongly suggest you visit, if you're on the lookout for a perfect gift and a nice chat. The place also acts as a workshop for the owner, an artist whose work adorns the walls of the shop. What else can I say.. it's a wonderful, good place to be in!

It doesn't close in the afternoon so that's another plus!

Now.. on an entirely different note.. here are some books from my childhood which I must have inherited from cousins.. I found them whilst I was clearing out at my parents' and they're just lovely so I thought I'd share.

Yes, yesterday was that noteworthy day in my life. The day when you finally decide to throwaway rotting and badly stuffed dolls, barbies missing a leg and old school workbooks. The day where you are bound to realize how badly kitted out your barbie collection had always been but you were too young and 'creative' to realise, how utterly miscellaneous your playmobil family was and what bad grammar your old diaries were written in.

I must admit, the clearing and sorting did me a world of good.. I now have nicely sorted textile, more space to store it in and a strained back to boot.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Item the 4th..SPCA*PATCHES

This 4th item from my SPCA*PATCHES contribution has taken the best of 7 hours .. and considering it took me a while to get going on my crafting today (I think I may have overdone it yesterday by staying up so late!) let's just say, that being this happy with the end result is always the best consolation.

Here's a lampshade frame.. scrubbed clean of all its glue and remaining tufts of material which once covered it.. and below is the same space consuming curtain (now thankfully much reduced in size) which I ranted about in one of yesterday's posts. I have indeed found another use for it today and I thank the elves in my dreams for it..

Scroll down to see for yourselves...

Every metal 'rib' is covered in colourful ribbons whilst the straw curtain strands are woven into, over and round about them... with an impromptu straw pompom at each of the 8 dips in the base of the frame.

I have a confession to make.. with this lampshade I couldn't respect the pet animal theme.. I was hoping the pretty dimly lit photos would help you forgive me... If this shade finds the loving home it deserves, one could always sit in its light, PET in lap, reading a book. (trying hard much?)

The 5th .. Puss's Boot!

Just a small interruption in the SPCA*PATCHES production line to present to you the 5th and last neckpiece from the 'Puss in Boots' series where Puss is seen walking gaily down a path in the fields obviously overjoyed with his brand spanking new pair of boots..

Working till late at night is proving blissful; laptop by my side I stayed up watching episodes from a favourite 'teenagehood' TV series I used to follow in Italian: 'Sabrina, the teenage witch'. A waste of time under any other circumstance, but when you're working in your little den, every kind of tame and familiar comfort is welcome. The black lace collar also carries on it a number of haberdashery items I had brought back with me from Bologna.. actually, most of what remained.. so it's a lucky piece indeed!

I'll be back with more soon!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Item the third..SPCA*PATCHES

I have a feeling I've already told you all about how busy I've been keeping.. so I'll just cut to the chase and tell you a little something about the 3rd out of five items I'll be donating to the SPCA at the next Patches Market on the 27th of November.

I love how this bag has turned out.. in it I managed to bring together a found bag which, though in relatively good condition, felt flimsy, crumpled and yes, dare I say, neglected. However, what I did also source from the charity shop was a tangled straw curtain for which I have no space in my house - it spoke to me, so against better judgement I got it anyways. Which turned out to be a good thing since it presented me with a good challenge to adapt to these projects.. hopefully more of it will make it to the remaining 2 projects. This bag needed some daisy chain braid and subtle gold details.. but what it needed mostly was, I think, the mock-beribboned-ponytail keychain! It is now a happy bag!

BIRD's the word! .. let us all know what you think about this initiative via our blogs and facebook pages..

Sarah Micallef: blog and facebook page

Denise Scicluna: blog and facebook page

Carla Said: tumblr

and myself : blog and facebook page

.. tweeettttt

Item the second..SPCA*PATCHES

I have been keeping busy.. waking up early, getting most of the routine chores done first thing in the morning when the energy levels are at their highest and then collapsing in front of my work (wish I could call it a more respectable 'bench' but it is in fact a) desk and applying myself like there is no tomorrow. It's a possibility and we do not like to take chances.. especially since we love doing what we do and we now have all the time in the world to do it in.

ooo.. I hear distant thunder rumbling.. and what perfect meteorological timing..

For the second item in the SPCA*PATCHES series I've decided to transform this piece of faux (of course! and especially in this case..) fur into a short stole/furry furry scarf for the coming winter. By dyeing the lace motif an antique pale pink and adding pearl and bead details I was hoping that the stole would exude enough drama and decadence to see the wearer to the opera. Alas this year's will be taking place at the end of October.. so I decided to thread in some tassel action as a base for a cute pink upturned plastic flower and a felt CAT face; making the stole casual enough and therefore fit to see you through the whole of this winter before taking it to the opera next year!

yes.. this stole is dedicated to a personal favourite pet category.

Here's the fur after a thorough cleaning.. sitting quietly on my splintered spare chair and..

here's the finished result..

I was wondering.. would it be uncool to buy the items back myself from the SPCA stall? .. really looking forward to seeing what the others will be coming up with as well!

... miaooo

Monday, September 26, 2011

Item the first..SPCA*PATCHES

Here is the hat I selected from the Happy Paws warehouse .. a fine herringbone wool, still-in-good-condition hat.. all it needed was some minor fixing of the lining inside, some steaming back into shape, and of course, that extra something special.

In keeping with the pet-animal theme we girls decided upon, I've dedicated this hat to one of the fluffiest of the lot.. the bunny rabbit! SPThe four-leaved clover braid was something a good friend of mine unearthed from a jumble sale and (kindly, as always) passed on to me to use as I see fit.. the buckle also came with a lot of odd items passed on to me from one of my grandma's friends.. and I made sure that the felt ears matched exactly in colour with the thread I chose for the subtle blanket stitch round the brim.

Hope it looks as cosy from your side of the screen as it does from mine! Roll on Winter!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Happy Paws indeed - The SPCA*PATCHES saga begins!

I am back, with friends, on the cusp of a good thing!

We'll be applying our crafty hands to a cause close to our hearts.. stray cats and dogs and their general well-being.. but even more particularly, the cats and dogs that fall under the direct care of SPCA. Four of us, five items each.. to be exhibited and hopefully sold from a stall at the 9th edition of Patches Market (Sun, 27th Nov) minded by volunteers from the NGO.

Here's the lowdown: We rummage through the donated stuff at the Sliema outlet of the Happy Paws charity shop, choose some of the perhaps less attractive items as our raw material and transform/embellish as best we can in order to create desirable objects for the visitors at Patches.. all the profits go to the organisation and, hopefully, in the process, more people get to know about the workings of such a charitable establishment.

.. oh and all four of us will be documenting our crafty journey up till the said Sunday.. so keep tuned to our respective ports!

The Patches Market site and facebook page

My Babettopolis blog and facebook page

Sarah Micallef's Secret Rose blog and facebook page

Denise Scicluna's blog and facebook page

and Carla Said's Cholita tumblr

Here's what we selected.. and photos of the selection in process.. we did promise documentation didn't we!?

photo by Denise Scicluna

And here's me talking money and making some personal purchases. By the way.. do find some time to visit the charity shop; it houses a constant and healthy stream of good quality items!

photo by Sarah Micallef

I find hugging straw-covered bead curtains very fulfilling.

photo by Sarah Micallef

photo by Sarah Micallef

photo by Denise Scicluna

Here's my lot.. I've been justly accused of color scheming.. oh well!

I shall leave you with a picture of the 'Keeper of the Mighty Mess' .. all of the selected items I've duly washed, cleaned and disinfected.. The 'real' work will start as from tomorrow!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I love Brussels.. I do. I loved it even more than I expected I would because in all honesty I didn't expect much. I left home after much airport hassle and delays and with a couple of friends' suggestions about where to shop and what cup-cake filling I should opt for at Lilicup. I left Malta with the sole intention of enjoying my hospitable friends' company and instead, came back overwhelmed and, surprisingly enough, a convert. This is a city that brings together the efficiency of large and inhospitable cities and the general smiley-ness and generosity small island nations pride themselves (often falsely) for championing. It's a city built on good design standards and initiative at every level, a city which makes you realise (to the detriment of all around you) what bad service you've come to accept over the years - yes I expect good chocolate in my hot chocolate now, and decently sized sugar crystals on my table - a city of good sense. The specialization of the small designer shops is truly enviable. This city has marble mosaic zebra-crossings, neon-painted cast-iron manholes and a cultural calendar jam-packed with treats. Brussels has restored my faith in human-kind.

I had such good hosts.. they knew exactly where to take me.. At Nijinsky second-hand book shop, not only did I get to listen to Piero Ciampi, I was also given a generous discount on this beautiful first edition (new synthesized and serialised editions of which have just come out and will hit a haberdashery near you in no time) .. as well as the 3-colour graphic design magazine below. Ryanair hand luggage = very flat souvenirs!
I have come to a point in my life where I find it impossible to resist a well made silk shawl.. my circumference may fluctuate but a shawl will always look good. You see.. staying away from the highstreet proves to be so much more worth it in the end, this is where a 50% off matters because your bargain is made of real silk and love and you're bound to never want to part with it since it carries with it a story. I find it very difficult to find stories at H&M. So yes.. from 4 euros I got this for 2.

These are the boots that shall replace the much detested cowboy boots I've been accused of not having enough personality to carry off. The 80s-deco suede pattern is reminiscent enough of the open desert without being too conspicuously 'oh she so wishes she was part of QOTSA'. The boots I got from Foxhole where the guy manning the cashpoint insisted on gracing us with a bit of boogie before giving me my change.

Foxhole is a good place I shall miss on those days where I feel like a round of a good couple of shops but MODES is my kind of place.. this is a place to rave about.. it houses all of my favourite eras and for decent prices.. The worst kind of place to go to if you have a feeling that you may never return or if you're living from a 40x50x20 bag cos it's an obsessive-dream-inducing place. If I'm ever pregnant I will probably crave MODES.. (or the rose-water sorbet I tasted yesterday.. a dream in a cup!)

In fact I only treated myself to this lovely kimono in a favourite colour-scheme with original printed ribbon enforcement at the sleeves and an extension belt and..

.. an opera trapeze coat with a part-gathered asymmetric collar and one beautiful button which puts all the buttons in the world to shame. I shall wear this coat to a ballet in Russia, the tickets to which I shall never be in a position to afford.

I was also taken to Antwerp where all my plans to visit (and possibly take a look through the course lists) the Fashion school and museum had to be postponed indefinitely. Instead I found solace in the well-stocked book shop.. yes.. full of volumes too thick to carry.. so I proceeded to buy the silliest thing under the roof.. a paper-doll book which manages to make McQueen's designs look like absolute shit and for that the publishers deserve some sort of credit since it never would have occured to me that such a thing was indeed possible. Often, I find, that disappointment is easily quelled with a healthy dose of kitsch or a good bowl of Thai noodle soup.

Two exhibitions I got to visit; I repeat.. my hosts know me to well. It is indeed a special feeling to have come across such lovely and diverse exhibits in a span of less than a week: lovely needle-point fans, yellowing professional tailoring patterns all hung up nicely in a row and wax casts of Piotr.

This is the first time I brought back something from my holidays for my machine.. (for any machine come to think of it) here's a postcard of encouragement for a sewing machine I secretly (and at times also openly) think is shit!

How can I refrain from declaring my love for this city? .. in under 24hours I encountered the curtain material I've been looking far and wide for and an ideal well-lit work space plus balcony..

without even trying!

and in between waffles!

Thank you Jacks and Karol for taking me round and fuelling my suspension of disbelief whilst visiting your city. The possibility of finding myself a decent studio and setting up my own business sounded so real and do-able, if only for an intense short-lived moment. And your couch is da shit!

Note to self: do not travel to Brussels with just your handluggage.. you masochist you!!