Bois de Bologne

Tuesday was finally beautiful weather in Paris.  We decided to visit the Bois de Bologne and take advantage of the sunshine.  I’d wanted to visit the Bois de Bologne when I was studying abroad here 10 years ago, but my host family immediately said, “No. that’s where the prostitutes are.”  and, thus…. I didn’t go to the Bois de Bologne while I was a student here.

Johno and I decided to visit (in the bright daytime!).  I was a bit wary and we definitely saw some creepy guys by themselves creeping around when we first entered the park (some areas are really like a forest–not tended), but once we got to the more populated, groomed areas,  it wasn’t creepy at all.  I don’t know that I would go by myself, but with another person it’s fine.  The flickr set shows some beautiful pics of us in the Jardin Pre-Catalan.  There are beautiful lawns there with patches of tulips and daffodils.  Apparently, at one time one could go there to drink milk fresh from the dairy and enjoy a play at the theater.  We walked around and rested for a bit under a tree.  It was great.

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Paris, the beginning

My husband and I finally arrived in Paris last thursday.  We’d been planning the move for several months.  We will be living here for 2-3 years.  We’re slowly getting settled and getting over jetlag.  See my flickr account (on the toolbar to the left) for pics of our temporary apartment in the 2nd arrondisment. Also, I have a little youtube clip from one of our outings yesterday.

Lots more pics and updates to come.

Overall, the Parisians have been very gracious and accomodating.  The weather has been less so.

Inspired by Claire McCardell

Lately I’ve begun looking to the fashion designer Claire McCardell for some guidance and inspiration in my personal design process.  You may not have heard of her.  She was the top American designer in the 40’s and 50’s….an American Chanel, if you will.  Like Coco Chanel, she wanted to create clothing that was functional and easy to wear.  She was designing for the changing lifetsyle of American women.  Designing for women who were homemakers or worked outside the home or both.  Dresses that a woman could put on by herself: no back zippers here.  Her designs are relatively simple, but still beautiful.  I took advantage of the FIT library a few weeks ago and researched her.  My primary resource was Claire McCardell: Redefining Modernism by Kohle Yohannan and Nancy Nolf.  The book has many beautiful images of her designs.  I hope to do lots more research. I would love to get my hands on some of her garments and inspect them, recreate them.  I may start a separate blog devoted just to my Claire McCardell research.

I’ve already used my Claire McCardell research in my making.  I just finished sewing a wool jersey faux wrap dress that seems very influenced by McCardell.  I used a DKNY Vogue pattern and a beautiful melange army green wool jersey (a material the McCardell was very fond of).  I’ll post a picture soon.  I got several compliments on the dress, so I think  it’s a success.

I’m also currently knitting up a pattern designed by Claire McCardell herself and distributed by the yarn company Red Heart.  It’s a short sleeve faux-wrap top.  I guess i’m into the wrapping thing now…as Claire would be.  Will post pics when I’m done with that.

My plan is to not have a plan

My adolescence was filled with scheduled activities.  I went to a small school: If I wanted to play a sport I was on the team…self-selection.  Year-round, I went to school, went to practice, did homework, went to bed. I thrived on that schedule, at least academically.  Now, as an adult, I’m still enjoying the novelty of not having daily/weekly commitments.  I finish work at 5. If I want to work out I can. If i want to veg out I can.  Lately I’ve been wondering if I should create for myself a more disciplined regimen, similar to my high school experience. For example: monday evenings-hooping  class, tuesday evenings-a foreign film at a theater, wednesday evenings-volunteering with NY cares, thursday evenings-cooking at home, friday through sunday-weekend events.

This weekend brought to light for me the wonderful blessings of spontaneity though.  The following are things I did this weekend that were done within 4 hours of notice: happy hour with my wonderful coworker on friday night, viewing “coco before chanel” with a great group of girlfriends, a lovely chat with my mother on the phone, and drinks with my cousin (in-law) in the hood at Bar Reiss.  All delightful.  None planned.  lovely.  So maybe I discipline myself one or two nights a week, and leave the rest open to chance?

Running Revival…Blogging Revival

So I’m going to try to jumpstart this blog back up.  I think I need to do a short post daily, otherwise this isn’t going to work, so look for a paragraph or a picture each day….

I also jumpstarted my running routine back up today.  I’ve only gone running once since coming back from burning man 3 weeks ago.  Tonight was the perfect night for it.  About 70 degrees.  I headed out about a quarter to 7 and sunset was well on its way.  But I knew there would be plenty of other people on my schedule taking advantage of Prospect Park.  And even though by the time I finished my loop around the park it was dark twilight, there were plenty of people walking, jogging, biking, gathering.  It was a great feeling to be able to enjoy that beautiful time of night alone pushing myself, but also surrounded by enough people to feel safe.  Everyone could tell it was the last bit of summer before the fall. Everyone wanted to enjoy that last warm breezy evening at the park.

Fresh, the movie

On Wednesday I went to the premiere screening of Fresh, the movie.  It was such a positive, inspiring event.  I highly recommend that you see the film if you get a chance. If you go to their website and sign up for the mailing list they’ll keep you posted on screenings.  The film is about the need to move away from BIG agriculture…the surplus of farms that grow only corn/soybeans & the cattle lots that house thousands of cows and pigs.  

I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma a couple of months ago and really enjoyed it.  Fresh, the movie has many of the same characters and themes.  For me the most inspiring part of the book is the section about Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farms in Virginia.  Salatin has a staring role in Fresh and he was at the screening on a Q&A panel afterward.  He’s a very charismatic, entertaining character.  Salatin farms grass- that is the building block of his farm.  His cattle feed on the grass (a beautiful mixture of clovers and many other grasses).  He controls the area they are allowed to graze and moves them daily to mimic the nomadic grazing of herds in nature. Their manure fertilizes the land for future grass crops. 3 days after a herd grazes a pasture, he moves his hens there in his tractor-drawn egg-mobile.  The hens pick through the cow dung, eating the tasty grubs, making their eggs full of protein and omega-3s.  This relationship between the foul and the cattle also mimics nature.  

It all makes sense and it’s a beautifully choreographed dance through the acres of his property.  In the movie he says in all the years he’s been farming there he’s never bought a single pound of feed or fertilizer.  amazing.

As I mentioned Salatin sat on a panel after the movie.  The other panelists were Will Allen, who’s doing very exciting vertical urban farming in the middle of Milwaukee; Joan Gussow, a founding member of Just Food, and a  professor at Columbia University; and Dan Barber, executive chef and co-owner, of Blue Hills at Stone Barn (he was recently named top chef in the country).

The main take-away points I got from the panel were:

1) Organic can work.  It is possible and can be financially profitable and sustainable. Now we just need more organic farmers.

2) When choosing between buying organic and buying local-BUY LOCAL.  Gussow made the point that if we don’t support our small local farmers, how are they going to become strong enough financially to become organic.  Organic certification by the US government is NOT cheap.  It is more important to support our local small farmers at the moment.

3) we should all try to grow our own fruit and vegetables as much as possible.

So, this (gorgeous!) morning I walked to the Grand Army Plaza farmers market, supported our local farmers there, and bought two tomato plants I will attempt to grow on my fire escape.  Striped German tomatoes.  I hope they survive. mmmmm fresh tomatoes! can’t wait!

Tassle Cord Cuff Bracelet

So, I finally finished the first prototype of the Tassle Cord Cuff Bracelet.  I mentioned seeing something like it at the Modernism show here. TaDa!!!

  Tassle Cord Cuff Bracelet

Tassle Cord Cuff Bracelet

(don’t look to closely at the wrist. it’s not mine and I photoshopped it to work w/ the cuff, so it’s a bit creepy.) 

It was a learning experience. Why are the simplest-looking things always the most difficult to do?

I figured out a technique to get all the tassle cords lined up and the same length, but it was all sewn by hand, which took forever. So I need to figure out how to do this on the machine. I think the solution is going to involve double-sided tape, although I read something today about a wash-away fixative strip or something like that that could be good.  

Also, when I finished the cuff, it was too narrow to actually put over my hand.   So I decided to put snaps on it, so it could open up, but then it was too tight to stay snapped on my wrist.  basically i have to add an inch or so to the circumference. 

But I think I might take it in a new direction now, actually. After looking around at people’s couture etsy site I saw these glove-lettes.

I’m thinking I might make some glove-lettes that are mostly open in the back, but with the tassle cord detail there.  I’ll keep you posted!

Magic Cottage Hanky

Magic Cottage HankyLast weekend I blogged about going to Spacecraft.  A week later, I’ve completed my project! Talk about a fast, cheap one.  The pack of stitching patterns I picked up was $4.50.  There are about 10 different patterns and they can all be reused up to 8 times.  Awesome! And I had fun making this.  Check out Sublime Stitching for patterns and customer creations.

The Daily Show

Once again, I HEART New York

Yesterday I got to view a taping of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  It was great because:

1. Jon Stewart is dreamy.

2. The show was (of course) funny

3. The people watching pre-show was quite entertaining.

The only other TV taping I’d been to was a Jerry Springer show in Chicago.  I’d have to say I much preferred the Daily Show taping.