Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Last week was pretty quiet, mainly because Ben and I hardly saw one another. With him pulling long hours in the office trying to get a months-delayed paper out for publication, and me working every night until almost midnight, our schedules only coincided for a bleary-eyed few minutes over coffee each morning. So when Thursday rolled around, when Ben had finally sent off his paper and I had my one day off, we thought it was high time to kick back and play a bit. So we headed to the beach, had a few drinks, and flew a cheap kite I had bought. Having lived most of my life in places where kite-flying is really impossible (too many trees, too little wind), it's still a completely thrilling thing to fly kites. There's something about holding the tether of anything airborne that I've never quite gotten over.
With all that time alone last week I got a jump on that skirt and finished it yesterday. I'm pretty happy with how it came out, although it took a while to convince my sewing machine to treat it properly -- who knew that small differences in thread and needles would matter so much?
This is my first clothing project (as far as I can remember) that I've done where I've used new, non-repurposed fabric. I suppose until now (since I've been basically teaching myself how to sew) there has been less percieved risk in using cheap and found fabrics. Screwing up certainly seemed a lot less painful when I didn't have anything invested in the fabric I used.
Even this time, I couldn't quite bring myself to use the good stuff. I found the fabric in a remnants bin (and even so, it was more painful when I screwed up). But not getting the good stuff was sort of intentional. I really liked the irregular stitching, the "factory edge" of the cloth, that runs along the middle. The piece came from the very interior of the bolt, where "bad" fabric was adhered to the cardboard bolt tube and stitched to the edge of the "good" fabric. The odd stitching describes the border between the "good" and "bad" fabrics. It gave it a one-off quality that I thought might help gloss over whatever imperfect stitching I might do (and it does). But whatever it may do to the looks of the skirt, it sure makes for a good story to tell when I wear it.
Monday, August 6, 2007
Another day, another bag. This one is made from the same brand of floor cloth as the little clutch. I'm especially proud of the zipper; it's the first one I've ever used in a project.
But now, it's back to clothes for a while. I bought some sweet green-grey cotton which should make a great skirt, which will hopefully make its debut next week. Stay tuned!
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Over the last week I've scored some pretty awesome street finds. Furniture, clothes, papers, stuff &mdash as a result our little apartment has suddenly transformed itself from just-another-little-studio into some pretty awesome digs. It's amazing to think how little furniture we've actually bought for the place: one coffee table, one armchair, one lamp, a bookshelf and a couple of foldaway side tables. That's it. The rest is either built-in or free stuff I've scrounged from the street. Ben thinks I'm crazy for rescuing furniture and crap from the street, treating them as if they're poor stray dogs who need a home. Be that as it may, I think all my stray dogs have given our place stubbly, Tel Avivian edge that I dig.
The most useful find was the vintage desk and chair (found on the same day, but not together), which is the new home for my sewing machine and pretty much where I've been spending most of my free time. It has this amazing lily-orange laminate on the desktop and along the baseboard, and it makes me alternately want to watch the Eames' short films and anything with Steve McQueen in it. Hot, I tell ya.
To inaugurate the desk I made a clutch sort of thing from this cool felt-like floor cloth. Not exactly the thing for hot-hot August in Tel Aviv, but pretty sweet nonetheless. I was happy enough with the way the material behaved that I'm making another version, this time with handles.
But back to stray dogs for a minute. As awesome as the desk is, I have to mention another recent adoption: this big blackboard, a former specials board from a bar a few buildings over. They had chucked it out on the street early one morning, and I was lucky enough to grab it before anyone else. It's huge &mdash maybe 2.5'x3.5' (and was already full of doodles five minutes after I took the photo). Any takers for a drink and a game of tic-tac-toe on the board can come over anytime they like. xo
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Say hello to my new best friend. He's quiet, burly, and behind that Home-Ec, jheri-curl exterior is a heart of gold.
Seriously. I'm super excited to finally, finally have a sewing machine this side of the Atlantic. After I bought it I had trouble getting to sleep because of those childhood Christmas Eve jitters; I just couldn't stop thinking about it. And even after I finally got to sleep, I had several weird sewing dreams. (Is it possible to have sewing-depravation syndrome and not know it?)
So finally, finally, finally, after months of putting it off and spending my savings on other stuff and thinking maybe I didn't need one at all, I bit the bullet and bought one. But boy was it hard working up the courage to buy it. A year ago it took a lot of emotional energy just going to the grocery store; I didn't understand anything anyone said, I couldn't read any signage &mdash you know, the typical confused new-immigrant situation. I talked about it a lot back then (and I guess I'm still talking about it). And although I feel pretty confident getting around on my tourist Hebrew these days, buying a sewing machine seemed just as monumental a task as grocery shopping did back then. All the specialized words; the fear of getting ripped off and spending a lot on a crappy machine (I could only afford a used one); the inevitable awkward negotiations, alone in a strange, dusty shop far from home; that was enough to freak me out for all these months. Fortunately though, I was bold and ended up lucky. A friend told me about a good place, which was well-stocked, and I was surprised to find that the owner spoke English (I guess I crammed those key sewing terms for nothing).
I had my first really free (post-purchase) day yesterday, so I spent it sewing. I repurposed a street find (a horrible early-90s hoodie-ish thing) into this skirt and fixed a couple of tees that were too big. I'm sure next week I'll have new bags to show (as if I needed more. Anyone out there want one?). Well, I think I've spent enough time away from my little Elnita now, gotta run back home and start a new project. xo
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Happy Fourth of July, all!
I, for one, have been on vacation. And it's been in the elementary-school sense: I've totally ignored (most of) my responsibilities and done nothing but play kick-the-can with my friends in the driveway, swim in the city pool, and eat ice cream. Yeah, it's been pretty sweet. A little too sweet, actually. I didn't think you could overdose on vacation, but I seem to have done it. So for the few of you who are still hanging around, things are going to start back up here.
You wanna know what my first non-vacation-vacation project is gonna be? Look no further.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Happy Yom Ha-Zikaron (Memorial Day) + Independence Day!
Unlike the US version, Memorial Day here (it was Monday) is a really serious affair. Sunday at 8:00pm precisely (per the Hebrew calendar, days here start at sunset, not at midnight; so by 8pm it's already considered to be Monday), sirens went off across the country to honor soldiers who have died in recent conflicts. All stores, restaurants and bars were closed (by law). Bus routes that passed by cemeteries were expanded, and there were lots of private and public memorial services. The entire city is decked out in flags and blue-and-white garlands. Monday it was the same &mdash ulpan classes were cut short so we could attend a memorial service, another set of sirens at 11:00am, empty streets and beaches.
In a nation of 6 million, with mandatory military service and an antagonistic history with its neighbors &mdash 8 wars in 60 years, with more than 100,000 killed or wounded (we had a complete history of the conflicts this week in what I now call the "propaganda" portion of our ulpan studies), it's almost impossible not to know someone who was a casualty. A few of the waitresses at work were asking me why Memorial Day in the US wasn't more like it is here &mdash it seemed almost offensive to them that Memorial Day stateside is usually a big shopping/vacation day, not a day for remembering the fallen. One waitress said she usually ends up crying all day on Memorial Day.
However, after sunset on Monday (a.k.a. the start of Tuesday on the Hebrew calendar), Independance Day began. Very much in contrast with Memorial Day just a few hours before, Independence Day is a really exctatic day. That's the 4th of July equivalent &mdash everyone is at the beach or grilling in the parks, or just generally out and about. There were fireworks and concerts, and it was a day off for everyone.
The stark contrast in mood between the two consecutive days was hard to get my brain around. That you could spend one day crying for the fallen and the next day partying with friends was difficult for me to understand. But I've decided that that's how many people live life here, that is, very much in the moment.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Yep, I'm still rockin' it here. Although mainly offline. You know how it is -- working hard and playing hard. So I'm just poking my head out here to say hello and that I'm still alive. After a two-week break school is back in session; I'm hoping that having a rigid schedule again will make it easier to find time to write.
But like I said, it's been intense. I only took two days off; the rest I spent working at the restaurant, hitting the books, and hitting the town. Last Monday night I went to a seder dinner at the Sharons (very cool), Thursday I went to Jerusalem (very cool + very crowded), Friday I went to an indie t-shirt market (very very cool + not so crowded), and Saturday I spent at home trying to beat the heat (100F + 95% humidity: awful ).
Although I haven't been writing here much, I've been keeping my flickr site updated with lots of photos, so if you're bored go there. more soon. xoxo to all!