Monday, December 31, 2012

Things I did ..

a) I do not usually post photos of myself
b) I do not enjoy reminiscing - it softens me and I'd rather dream of things to come

In this post I plan to do exactly the opposite - in short snippets aided by Facebook timeline compensating for a flailing memory, so here goes ...

In 2012 I ...  

 Had a hairdressing mix-up and visited Venice with Martha. We drank a lot and met Gustav Klimt. It was all good!

Went to London with Carla and Olivia and behaved all silly at the V&A. I fell in love with a city I thought I'd hate. I miss the tube!

Partied quite a bit, pulled faces and posed for a rare 'couple photo'. I love turbans and decent occasions to wear them to!

Had tea with friends - living a good life on next to no money is a feat but oh so sweet! Scones make life worth it!

Stood on the Manoel Theatre stage for no reason in particular other than curiosity and loved it - roll on V18, I'm crossing my fingers for nice things to come!

swam (a good number of times actually) ... 

... and got a tan which I immediately regretted.
So then I partied a bit more and survived a sweltering summer. Hurray!

I drank a lot, too much actually.. and discovered a love for wine. Not an informed love .. just pure, unadulterated enjoyment!

Crashed a wedding and perfected my 'canape-in-each-hand-like-there's-no-tomorrow' technique

Did the Patches thing again and it was lovely

and ended the year with Kristina and her wise sugar sachet lessons. I wouldn't have done so much unless I loved doing what I do. I tried to choose more wisely but certain excesses define a life so I gave in a bit as well. I now know more than ever before that I love my day job but am also in a position to give it up in a flash for a better thing because holding on too tightly to things can make pathetic fools of us all. I also know that love comes and goes and, hey, that's a relief! 

I loved this year, but I just know I'm going to love whatever comes next even better. So I'm looking forward to:

a second bout of Brussels
blogging a bit more and a bit more creatively
family and friends' weddings
acquiring some jeweller skills
brushing up on some tailoring
fine-tuning my palate
getting haircuts more frequently
exercising a bit more
driving about with grandparents
and cooking up a storm every now and again

Bye for now x

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I've struck gold ..

... at today's flea market!

Looking forward to next Sunday's!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Of powercuts, mint chocolate and festive cheer

There's nothing like a power-cut (or several in a row) to get you organized and all geared up for the festive season. A power-cut leaves you no option but manual labour and so I finally got round to sorting my wardrobes, clearing out things I only held on to for old times' sake and lovingly folding afresh things which lay hidden in the dark recesses away from view. 

A power-cut also encourages biscuit dough preparation. I made salty chocolate, cashew and cinnamon biscuit dough and let it rest a while. No electricity makes one patient - giving in to the lull of the new circumstance makes you consider all your options and choose more wisely. We all need a 30 mins of calm every now and then. I'm not encouraging power-cuts as much as self-induced power-cut-like calm.

In a power-cut you adapt better and surprise yourself. I moved my table closer to the window and thought seriously and for the first time in ages, about making something for myself. I started experimenting with cord and *fingers crossed* I'll be turning this into a Dior-inspired hat for the festive season.

And then I played some more with felt and shadows. Suffice to say, I'm currently working on making an existing hat more gorgeous and replicating it to multiply the happiness. There are people out there with as much love for head paraphernalia as I - and that gives me joy.

On the other hand, I have never met anyone with as big a love for mint-chocolate (... still looking!) Meanwhile,  here's a box of carefully selected fine chocolates which made one cold December morning all the more enjoyable. 100 points for packaging, 200 for flavour balance.

And once I deemed myself organized enough I gratefully accepted an invite to a swap party at a friend's house in M'scala. Here are a couple of items that I picked out - some are still on the washing line (dammit, it rained overnight).

Sue's mum's vintage accessories

 Sue's mum's Parisian patterned shirt and gangster (in the best possible way) suit.

A red dress from Carla which cried out for a couple of gold buttons down the front and another outfit courtesy of Sue's mama.

And who am I to say no to cosy 90s fleece .. 

couldn't but pick up this cosy hooded and patterned jacket for coming winters and a raw silk blazer in a rich red which I plan to iron (hehe) and wear with some oriental trousers for years and years to come.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The busiest weekend of all ..

Crazy days are past ..  I write from the relative comfort of my swivel chair and the haze that has descended upon me this Monday morning. Following such a busy run-up to Patches Market and (perhaps indirectly but still) the EFAs on the island, Monday doesn't just happen to you, it wraps around you like a comfy blanket and does its very best to soothe you (as does the packet of Skittles in my pocket, a walk through windy Valletta and ice cream at Cordina). There's no stopping the eyes from burning for lack of sleep, bunions feel like knots .. but guess what .. I cannot wait to start making things again! 

Before I get to it, however, I must do my best to recount, in as much detail as possible, what happened in my little world over this weekend.
What a thud to come down with after the adrenaline high that saw me through this patch (pun intended), what a thud indeed! From stretching wire cables with pliers and sweeping the floor at Magazino Hall in preparation for the morrow's event on to wearing diamond earrings for a deceptively prom-like EFA afterparty on Saturday, then back to the Patches aftermath of clearing out an array of styrofoam cups and sticky plates from behind a planter on Sunday evening. There really is no time left for big dreams in this girl's life. Drinking free (and may I say, really good) wine is all fine and dandy but ultimately it all boils down to the simple fact that the trash needs to be taken out to a designated spot. 

In a bid to curb my cynicism all I'll be saying to close this off is one thing:
It is very difficult to feel star struck when everyone in the building uses the same loo.

The interim was a fine experience indeed - Patches is slowly becoming the cosy crafter community it was first intended to be and I'm happier than ever for being part of the organizational team. I set up my own stall this time round so the pleasure was indeed all mine and two-fold.

... and here are some photos of a very very very partied-out and dehydrated me at my stall .. and some better photos of just the stall which others took for me during the event!

<photo by Denise Scicluna or was it Sara Falconi!?>

<the Patches L-R: Sara, Denise, Maria - otherwise known as  The Patchettes >
<again the credit goes to either Denise or Sara who carried out photo-taking duties to a T alongside a never ending list of chores before, during and after Patches>

<photo credit: My very helpful mum and her new camera>

<photo credit: My mum / subject: my stall - East side>

<photo credit: My mum / subject: my stall - West side>

<the hat of wonder .. as captured by Daniel from Devil Wears Pra-duh>

<so tired I lean on carousels! photo credit: Sarah Sassy bo-jangles Micallef from The Secret Rose>

<My new ceramic items display ^_^ photo credit: Sarah Micallef>

Here's a warm goodbye to a weekend-ful of:
wire extensions
bags, bags, boxes, bags, boxes and boxes
turbans and diamonds
effort (i.e. make-up and nailpolish) 
faux prom-night photos
a giddy Captain Haddock for a boyfriend 
free flowing wine
fur capes
disco fever
teaching the creme de la creme of Europe how 'dancink' is really done (hmm)
a sea of friendly and appreciative faces
cute dogs
cuter crafty produce
yummmmm food but not enough of it .. never enough of it
family and (obviously) cockle-warming sandwiches
bags, bags, boxes, bags, boxes and boxes
wire extensions

and bed!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Triangles are not the only fruit

What can I say, I mean, I really love triangles.

are three brooches 
I made this week, in preparation 
for next Sunday's PATCHES market. But not only.
 I made them because I kept having recurring triangular dreams.

Monday, November 26, 2012

If all else fails ...

... stick some pins into it!

All I want to say is that such a life-choice heightens your experience of life in general (very much like war, but in a substantially safer way), and 'happiness' (even more than ever before) becomes a question of calculating your distances properly - the craft itself teaches you this - it brings together the joy of sharing and the joy of being able to select what and who to keep. It is a good life, and a good life softens - and this is why, with an imminent New Year, I find myself regretting next to nothing. I think I shall keep to this for a while longer - or at least, till I go completely bankrupt!

In the meantime, I'm here to remind you of next Sunday's big event - PATCHES!
I'm working hard for it, the rest of the organizational team as well .. and guess what, so are all the artisans I know - it would be lovely to have you there. Expect some early Christmas cheer, festive drinks and a load of freshly prepared food, live crafts and a hall-full of lovingly set-up stalls! This time round I'm actually setting up my own stall with hats, beaded items, hand painted ceramic ware and also some costume jewellery .. must admit I'm lagging behind on preparations but I'm stuffing my face with digestive biscuits and talking myself into a state of calm about it. Everything will come together .. somehow .. I'm sure.

so here's the site with all the participants' profiles <site>
here's the facebook event page for more details <event>

In other news, here are three pairs of shoes I ordered as a treat to self from my shoemaker. I've been thinking about having them made for a long time now .. and considering the inexplicable (and frankly quite embarrassing) joy you feel when you try all three in succession and each pair fits perfectly, it's a wonder why I didn't get round to ordering them before! The first is a thigh-high textured brown pair of boots with a BIBA inspired platform and heel .. I am still in the process of deciding whether it needs a big velvet bow with a buckle on the front .. hmm

The second pair is the silver ankle boots of wonder. For those who know me well, this news should come as a relief - all the wishful thinking has materialized and I shall henceforth refrain from mentioning silver boots over and over again. Now I have a pair of my own and they make my walking even more enjoyable and sprightly. I look down at the shiny points and immediately feel better - in fact, on doctors' orders - I shall be wearing them everyday!

The third pair, banana-yellow suede with a matte-gold tip .. one of a series in different colours. Once you've found a good shape - reproduce it and make your life a bit easier that way!

I also seek to make my life a bit easier by treating myself to a good old book every now and then. This one by Rizzoli is pure hard-bound joy - so well researched and illustrated. However, buying books is a double edged sword - you buy them as a treat because you've been too busy of late, and your being busy means you have very little time left to actually read the book. To top it all off, a hard bound is a hazardous bed-time read - I speak from experience.

Adieu for now, the sewing pile beckons .. but before I leave, here's a link to the wedding blog post which featured the beautiful Gozo wedding I was to some extent involved in and about which I spoke a couple of posts back <<photos here>> ... I just can't help looking through them again and again x

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I really need a break.

 All I ever really wanted was to be left alone to my own devices..

... but then I always felt like shit!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

This is what it all boils down to ..

.. making things - consistently and as best as you can.

This is basically what I do, my day revolves around the making of things and even though I sometimes catch myself flirting with the idea that I might be better off unburdened by the urge to create, free to while away the time left over from 'a more official kind of' employment as I please,  I know that I'll probably make it back to this vicious  and unrelenting circle of productivity. I've done my fair share of romanticizing hard-work - it became a coping strategy for a while. Now I just focus even more on creating better, something tells me I do not afford to stop just yet.

So here is a pair of donated and reclaimed burnt-orange gloves bearing an interesting label 'Made in Germany West-Zone' which I chose to intricately embellish with (also) donated, re-purposed lace motifs, re-assembled in the shape of a
 floral branch that leads all the way down to the tip of the smallest finger and a spray of seed pearls and glass beads to mimic delicate cupcake decor. Do not ask why - it's tough to find answers to that question. It seemed like the perfect thing to do.

And below, two photo collages of the first in a series of multi-purpose sashes I'm currently devoting what little time is left at the end of the day to (that is, unless I'm in the mood to read, or watch a movie, or go out, or get sloshed) - (erm, no I do not suggest intricate beading if you feel like a drink.. after a while, throwing beads across the kitchen might become amusing, and there simply aren't enough words to describe the dismay first thing in the morning when you step on them/drink them with your tea/brush them out of your and your cat's hair). In any case, this one is made out of sturdy lined wool and embellished with diamond shaped Art Deco style lace motifs in ivory, silver beading, pearl beading an
d a perfect round button from a vintage lot I've been given.

And this is the second one - a tribute to my love affair with pipa knots (all kinds of knots really - am currently on a quest to master a number of good ones - they make for the perfect party trick - !!NOT!!). I finished all of the seed beading whilst watching 'The Supersizers go..' series.. darn shame that both finished simultaneously, leaving me a bit lost at the end.. looking for my next project and my next series. 

yes, sewing can get lonely sometimes!

And just when I thought I'd round up things nicely and end this post with another declaration of love for Sue Perkins, I realised I hadn't yet featured any of these dresses in previous posts. Time just rolls by so quickly. Again, I find just opportunity to state how lost and lonely I sometimes feel after I close the door on a project or five. I'm detecting a pattern!

Above: a lovely (if I may say so myself) prom-style dress for an Autumn wedding guest in purple-taupe and black lace.. heart shaped, cap sleeved and with a decorative bow at the back.. It comes with its own black cloud of an underskirt and I am very looking forward to seeing pictures of it in action!
Below:  one eye catching statement dress for another wedding guest in vibrant magenta taffeta and chiffon with matching and hand sewn lace appliqués.. and from the photos I received, it appears to me that it was a success!

And the dress in my absolute favourite colour.. (well, definitely my current favourite, and it's been this way since the beginning of 2012.. when the colour mood changes, rest assured I will make it a point to inform you). With this dress the wave-like silvery pattern of the material, reminiscent of japanese waves, inspired the very cut - and I am very happy it happened!

 and a lovely red feathery hat which I restored - a donated hat as beautiful as the story behind it and an antique diamante hat pin present from Bologna which complements it perfectly <3 .. drop me a line if you know of anything special enough happening on the island for me to show up in this combo cos I'm finding it very difficult to peel myself out off my 'fuck-olympics sign-off' t-shirt right now!

I shall leave you now.. and whilst I contemplate my options for this evening (a perrier or a green tea, tv or sleep, book or another book) here I list my current obsessions outside of sewing for no reason in particular: Making smoothies late at night (yesterday's was: banana+avocado+celery+milk, today's: grapefruit+banana+pear+plum+blueberry juice), listening to and watching Dawn French laugh, Tony Curtis in 'Some like it Hot' and planning my next bake (Crème brûlée tarts or a plain old Victoria Sponge?!)