Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Speaking of Vintage

I thought I would show some of my favorite vintage sewing patterns. The children's patterns are from maybe 1910. I don't take them out to often as to not to damage them. I don't have very many vintage patterns. I think there may be a few more down in the basement in the pattern boxes. I keep the special ones upstairs. My favorite maybe the Princess Grace bridal gown. I found this at St. Vincent De Paul's one day. I started shaking when I saw it was only a quarter. Several people ask what I'm going to do with it. I may never use the pattern but I couldn't let it sit in the bin with the 1970's patterns.

Today's Thrift Store Score

Every now and then, I try to stop into one of the thrift stores to search for vintage patterns. Today I got lucky. I didn't really find what I set out to find, but a score none-the-less. I happened upon some Barbie doll patterns. Three of them were from 1965. Sweet. I'm not sure why I'm excited about this. Barbie doll clothes are a bitch to sew. They are so small.

I also found a Christmas pattern. I bought this same pattern 28 years ago when my daughter Lauren was born. I have used the Christmas stocking pattern for all the girls and some of the relatives. Several years ago, I discovered that a piece was missing. I had made up two stockings with a piece that I drafted but it just didn't look quite right to me. About a year ago, I stumbled upon the pattern on Ebay. I was thrilled at what I got it for. Maybe $5 plus shipping. Today I saw it for 25 cents. I decided that I should not turn it away. Three patterns would hopefully insure that I could be making these stockings for a long, long time.

Irish Gifts

Jeff, Taylor and I were invited up to Conor's relatives cottage for July 4th. Taylor stayed for several days but Jeff and I only drove up for a day. It was a beautiful day weather-wise. We took a drive with Conor's parents to see all the family land. We also took a ride around the lake in the pontoon boat. As a thank you gift, I embroidered the kitchen towels for Conor's aunts and the apron is for Conor's mom. The family celebrates their Irishness so I thought they would enjoy some Irish decorations for their kitchens.

Last October, Jeff had mentioned in passing that it was Tim and Yvonne's 25th wedding anniversary. I think he went to one of Conor's football games that I didn't go to. So I had a week to figure out what to do for their anniversary. I came up with this casserole carrier with a claddagh. I also baked a cake to put inside of the carrier.

Spring on the Ridge

This year has been a very cold spring and summer. Growing season is moving slowly here. My redbud trees took a little longer to open up this year. I left for vacation right before the flowers really opened up.

Thrift Store Updates

I went to one of the local thrift stores after work one day to try to score some vintage patterns. There were no patterns to be had. However, I did find a few items for Kayla. The children's clothes were 50% off that day. I came home and embroidered on two of the pieces. The items were all from different manufacturers so I had to come up with something to tie everything together. Not bad for $1.50. I also bought Kayla a little seersucker dress that didn't need any embellishing.

And Now for the Celebration

We held Taylor's graduation party two weeks after graduation day. There were several other parties that day so we had a lot of food leftover. My mom came up from Florida and three of my sister's made the party. My sister Jackie is Taylor's godmother. I did not get a picture of the two of them together. Darn it all. I really only took two pictures that day. I took a picture of the family getting the tent ready. Then at the end of the party, I took a picture of the cake. I was too busy cooking and chatting with neighbors to take any pictures.

Before the party started, Jeff took the niece and nephews to a farm that also has a petting farm. Jeff's client hooked up a wagon and gave them a ride around the property. Don't you love little Miss Kayla. She looks like a true southern gal. Can't go off to the farm without a dress and a crawfish necklace.

Graduation Day

Well, the baby has graduated. She'll be off to college very soon. Graduation Day was four days after my return from Italy. I had to work the graduation party which started at 10pm. I told the organizers that I would work until midnight. I got to bed about 12:45 am and had to get up and go to work the next morning. That might have been one of the longest days ever. Besides watching your own child, you watch for all her friends that you've known. You remember all the slumber parties at the house. You try to take pictures of all her friends. I hope they remember to stop on by when they are home on college breaks.

Competing for Space

I was only home from Italy for a few hours. I had come home sick and was extremely tired from the flight home. I had taken a nap and woke up to find my husband painting t-shirts. WTH? Taylor had purchased about 30 t-shirts for Calculus class. The kids were going to wear them on the last day of school as a joke to their teacher. Taylor had tie-dyed them and now needed to paint the graphics on them. She had to cut out all the stencils used for each t-shirt which was time consuming. She was running out of time so Jeff volunteered. I so wished I would have taken his picture. I can't think of a time when he connected with his feminine self and was crafting. I can see there will be some competition for space in my new sewing studio once completed. But I do have to say "What a Dad!" "What a guy!"

Monday, July 27, 2009

Vatican City

The Vatican was the final stop in Rome. We took the bus across town. We got there a little later than anticipated due to my stopping at the fabric store. We arrived at our stop but I really couldn't tell which direction to go. I saw a young man with a collar and I told Kim to "Follow that priest. He's going to the same place we are". Well that didn't turn out to be true. We followed him for a couple of blocks. He turned into a McDonald's. We were going the direct opposite direction as the Vatican. As the bus was driving over the Tiber River, I saw to the right the Castel Sant'Angelo. It was such a massive structure that I thought that was the Vatican Museum. The priest was going in the right direction to head to the Castle. However, the Vatican was on our left. How I missed it, I don't know. It is really hard to miss. It is overwhelming. I didn't have a very good map of the Vatican and since I really hadn't studied up on it, we decided to get into the longest line. This was the line to get into St Peter's. The line moved quickly. You needed to go thru security before you could enter the church. It is really hard to show how massive of a complex the Vatican is via pictures. The marble structures inside St Peters are some of the largest pieces of art I have ever seen. It was interesting to find that so many men we had met were named Peter. There was also lot's of references to St Peter. "I am like San Pietro". The Italian people hold St Peter and their Catholic faith close to their hearts.

One of the first things you see as you enter St Peter's is Michelangelo's Pieta. This sculpture of Mary holding the body of Jesus is behind bullet proof glass. Michelangelo was an astonishing 24 year old when he sculpted this. Bernini was another sculpture who has work in San Pietro. It took Bernini nine years to create the 98 foot, seven story canopy that covers the main alter over St Peter's tomb. Along the side of the church is the tomb of Pope Alexander VII. Bernini had carved the tomb out of different marbles. The sculpture has a draped effect that is so lifelike.

After we finished up with the Basillica, we headed outside and around the complex to the Vatican Museums. I think we had about an hour and a half before closing time. The walk to the entrance to the museum was a brisk 10-15 minute walk. Once inside, there was a 30 minute brisk walk snaking your way thru the museum to the Sistine Chapel. I didn't really take time to stop and look at everything since it was a priority to see the Sistine Chapel. I know I'll get rotten tomatoes thrown at me but the chapel was a letdown for me. By the time we got there, I was hot, sweaty and tired. Also, there were a lot of other sweaty tourists. There is just a few benches that people can sit on but they were full. So, you stand in the middle of the chapel and you stare directly upwards. I couldn't do it for more than maybe 30 seconds. I would get dizzy staring upwards. I also really needed some fresh air. Like viewing the Mona Lisa or Whistler's Mother, the artwork isn't quite how you picture it's going to be. It was also a weird feeling to know that the Sistine Chapel is the Pope's private chapel. The place is just packed with people. It is hard to imagine it being a place where the Pope goes to pray. Pictures are not allowed in most places in the museum.

The pictures that are shown are the Vatican gardens taken from a window in the museum. An emblem on the floor of St Peter's Basillica in memory of Pope John Paul II. The Vatican is the world's smallest country, home to about 600 people who live inside the walls.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Encore Italia!

United Colors of Italia

Because I have too many pictures to leave behind, here are some photos that hopefully show the variety of exterior colors of the buildings.

Arrivederci Italia!

What a truly spctacular trip we had. I didn't fully appreciate the sites until I came back to the states and could reflect on the food, people, art, history, etc. I think our days were packed with places to see and visit. I felt like I was doing the "when in Rome" thing, needing to check all these things off my to-do list. It was warmer than I had anticipated and that took some wind out of my sail each day. Poor Kim having to have me slow her down.

I hope to get back to Italy some day. Here are some things I would do differently next time.

1. I would take more pictures. I took over 700 pictures but as I look at my pictures I find myself saying "I can't believe I didn't take a picture of this". I wish I would have taken pictures of all the beautiful ceramics in Sorrento and Positano. I didn't bring any ceramics home so I wish I had taken pictures of the shops. I wish I would have taken lots of pictures of the jewelry stores and their display windows. I wish I would have taken more pictures of Kim's family. Everyone had opened their homes and hearts to us.

2. I packed light but I still could have done a better job. My messenger bag was quite heavy, 3 pounds before I even put stuff in it. It was a secure bag to bring on the trip though. I should have left my travel guides at home. That Rick Steves book was heavy. I brought two pairs of shoes but only wore one. Yes, another pair of shoes would have been helpful if we had torrential rain but that didn't happen. I could have scaled down on the cosmetics a little bit. I brought a jacket that I only used in the airplane. I would have bought a pair of cargo pants with larger pockets. I would have just put my camera in the pockets instead of the camera case. That was one more thing around my neck and it ruined my clothes.

3. I wished I could have purchased more Venetian glass, ceramics and the lemon perfume. The shipping costs was high to get stuff back to the states. I also knew that I couldn't carry anything fragile until the last stop. I picked up the lemon perfume in lots of shops but I told myself that I probably wouldn't wear it. Now that I'm back in the states, I want the lemon scent to remind me of the plants, water and food of Italy.

4. I would have opened up my Learn Italian book. My learn Italian book didn't arrive until 30 days before my trip. Needless to say, there was so much going on with Prom, graduation and work, I didn't open up my book. So I need to go back to Italy just so I can use my book.

5. I would do more research. This trip was a big trip to plan. I felt overwhelmed. We were traveling to four different regions of Italy. The history is so immense, I felt like I would never remember the significance of places.

6. I would have purchased my camera sooner. Not a good idea to go to Italy without understanding your camera.