Saturday, October 31, 2009

Husquie is sad

It could not have happened at a worse time but my sewing machine has to be taken into the repair shop. Husquie is sick. At first it was just a horrible sound but the stitches were fine. Then it turned into a horrible screechy sound and the stitches started to gather at the back and go all crazy. I would have put up with the painful sound as crazy as it may seem.
So, I thought that maybe it needed oil and I ventured out to the neighbouring village in my search for the amber liquid. As it turns out I should have done some research before I left. Husqvarna were the first to make machine parts out of powdered steel that when heated permeated the parts with oil. So, there is NO need to oil my machine and hence that is really not the problem.
It wasn´t so much of a waste... the oil cost only 70cents and curiously it can be used for machines and rifles! so it seems I got more than i bargained for there. And the walk there and back was so much more worth it than moping around the house trying to understand and counsel my machine. Here are just a few pics to inspire.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Regency Colour nº1- Coquelicot

Coquelicot is the French name for the regular field poppy. As the name would suggest the colour coquelicot is poppy red. The colour was at the height of fashion at the end of the 1700´s, although nice girls could only wear it in small doses, in trimmings or accessories. It is interesting that also around this time the Victim´s Balls are being held in France where ladies wear red ribbons around their neck to represent the cut of the guillotine. And because this is all so French I´ll leave you with Edith.

Edith Piaf by Angelique Houtkamp

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Piecing it together

I have begun to put together all the patch squares to make my quilt top. I am very happy with the result so far, I have never made a quilt before and am just figuring it out as I go. Making this quilt has been as much about problem solving, like piecing a puzzle that you invent as you go, as it has been repetitive and meditative. It is rewarding to see it all come together but I would be happy now to see the end. I need more patience... and perspective. Maybe Andy Goldsworthy can help.

Clip from the documentary on Andy Goldsworthy "Rivers and Tides".
Andy Goldsworthy is an artist that works directly with nature. He rearranges the natural environment to create and make visible an awareness of a beauty in nature we do not always see. I especially like the works with coloured leaves.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Embroidery to inspire

"Blue Lass" by Jenny Hart with Dame Darcy, 2004
hand-embroidery on cotton, approx 18" x 24" 
I love Jenny Hart´s work for the colour and detail as well as the mostly non traditional subject matter.
I have started looking for inspiration for my own design to embroider. It will be a simple garland of flowers. I am thinking of something along the lines of the traditional folk designs from Mexico or the Nordic European countries with a twist.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I hope to paint a mural one day.

This beautiful tile mural was designed by Maria Keil(b.1914) for the São Sebastião Metro Station. Starting in 1957 Maria designed murals for a total of 19 stations and they are all beautiful works of art. She was also a graphic artist, painter and children´s book illustrator. I love her work.
The top image shows the mural in the Viuva Lamego Tile factory where it was painted. It is not often you can see the origins of these great public works of art.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bruce Mau. An incomplete Manifesto for Growth. Nº 28

28. Make new words.
Expand the lexicon. The new conditions demand a new way of thinking. The thinking demands new forms of expression. The expression generates new conditions.

More Purses and Canaries

Pretty purses for all occasions. Esquilisit!

If you happen to be in Lisboa you should check out the Canary Islands Urban Culture Festival at Lx Factory. Contrary to my belief the skies of the Canary Islands are not filled with canaries(the bird), but I can dream.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The latest

These are just a few of the new bags that you can get from The Wrong Shop in Lisboa as of today.
I´ll post some more photos later so that you can see all of them.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The sea was angry...

Today the sea was angry...and as it smashed against the cliffs it looked like a frothy milkshake did not stop the whole day, and when it seemed to calm down, the wind and the rain took turns in making this a pretty miserable day. Or maybe it was an amazing day...I have never seen anything like it...but then I have never lived by the sea.

I played musical chairs (by myself) around the kitchen table all day as I passed the various stages of purse making. And now it is time to take one of the last finishing steps, attaching the metal frame. This part of the process requires a lot of patience, super strong fabric glue and a steady hand. My eyes are tired and the ceiling light reflects off the metal frames and is blinding me...

I managed to complete one purse.
The reward is something a little brighter than today´s weather.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bruce Mau. An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth. Nº 25

25. Don’t clean your desk.
You might find something in the morning that you can’t see tonight.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Something to inspire

You can see more of Stephan´s work here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Head scarves, acorns & embroidery from Viana do Castelo

I have been feeling a little under the weather these last few days.
Sorry I could not post earlier.

The head scarf has long been a tradition in Portuguese attire. These days scarves are used more fashionably around the neck. Vintage ones can be expensive but if you are very lucky you can stumble upon them at flea markets. There is a nice photo collection of Portuguese scarves by A Saloia at The Grupo do Lenços.
The above pictured scarf is from my own collection. I don´t know much about it yet or what region it is from as I got it from the "Feira da Ladra" in Lisbon and have not found another like it.  It´s too precious to turn into a purse and I will need it to warm my neck this season.

I am very excited about these new embroideries I found in a small village just outside Viana do Castelo. I can´t wait to use them as features in new bags. Hopefully in the future I will be able create my own designs and have them embroidered.

I love the rich blue and ghingham fabric combination, and the embroidery is all done by hand.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Vintage Valentine myspace graphic comments

Is this vintage postcard a little early or a little too late...either way I think it is sweet and foxy and the sparkles around it are the icing on the cake.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Things that make me happy today

This is my pile of fabrics when it was still all nice and tidy. It was last week that the pile grew to this amazing proportion and nothing could have made me happier. So I got busy seeing what I could come up with, so many choices, so many colour and texture combinations...where to start. Here are some thoughts on where to start to make your designs happy.

...and...drum roll... I am also happy to announce you can find new bags for sale(using fabrics from the above pictured pile) at The Wrong Shop in Lisbon, your one stop shop for out of the ordinary gifts and design by the local talent. 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Looking for fabrics

Yesterday I had a fun day away from the sewing machine looking for materials. I came home with lots of beautiful fabrics to play with. This small old shop, that was still stuck back in time, was really interesting and had a fun mix of items for sale, from 70´s ties to bread bags, flat caps (most commonlly known as old man hats) and of course a terracotta pig.

This is a small sample of the vintage Portuguese fabrics I found... the blue one with the white flowers is one of my favourites, actually I love them all. These fabrics were once used to make regional costumes and are still used today by the Folklore dance groups (Ranchos Folclóricos).

These beautiful girls wear the typical work dress from Alentejo. The imaginative and random mix of fabrics makes these simple clothes unbeatably unique.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Green Check Mod

It has been pouring for the last 2 days and the normally trickling creek by our house has turned into an extreme kayaking river with rapids and waterfalls. This is a very wintery purse to go with the changing season. What better way to warm up than with a nice wool fabric straight from the 60´s. In case you are wondering the print you can see a fraction of in the background is "Erica" by Tretchikoff, because all good girls need to relax lying down on newspaper featuring an article on the Beatles, drink water and eat a boiled egg and an orange.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pink patch bag and Lu Flux

Left: a new bag using vintage & recycled fabrics
Right: A wonderful dress by Lu Flux

Last week I made a bag using pretty pink vintage and recycled fabrics using a very simple and traditional patchwork design. Lu Flux, a young London based designer, uses organic, vintage and recycled fabrics to create unique men´s and women´s fashion. My favourite garments are those that use patchwork because they are really fun and playful and really give a new life to this very traditional technique. Also check out the bear outfits and the "fox" scarves that remind me of Lea Stein broches...I want!