Monthly Archives: August 2011

Apron of the Day: “Can I Get You Something From The Bar?”

Hey! I tried out a new apron today, which was a stitching wake-up. A new concept: an apron with the neck straps and the tie ends composed of three yards of twill tape. There’s a casing that runs from the bib to the side of the of the apron, and with a tug of the tape you can adjust the fit in a flash.

The apron Goddess Mary Mulari has a great pattern for this apron in its reversible form. I’d made a single-sided version for my cooking buddy and eGullet boss Dave seven (?) years ago, so I found that pattern, checked Mary’s website, and cooked up my version. It’s so plain it’s almost a waiter’s apron, but that’s part of the reason I love it. Lou liked it when he was forced to the photo shoot: Just pull at the tie ends and you can raise and lower the bib and adjust the waist ties to adjust to your own beautiful, unique bod.

Maybe this is a bartender’s apron? I had a fresh fun red martini print:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a Chicago saloon shot and a beer print:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the apronly result:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used grosgrain ribbon for the ties, because even the Divine Mary suggests that ribbon or twill tape are a better sewing alternative  thantrying to turn out a nine foot long fabric tube. For true sewing nerds: rejoice! OMG, go to http://www.twilltape.com. I have, like, 73 yards heading my way for fifteen bucks, including shipping. (They have twill tape in colors! )

Wow, it’s a beautiful night in the ‘Ville: I can turn off the A/C and open the windows. It’s been a couple of months since the curtains fluttering inside the bedroom window has been a possibility.

(If you’re interested in buying the apron, shoot me an email.)


 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under A yard of fabric, Apron of the Day, Cheap and Cheerful Object of the Day, Needlework, Sewing

LA Journal: Ozzie Dots

I love Los Angeles. I say that loud and proud, and you’re hearing this from someone who sniffed with disdain at the very mention of LALA land — no good places to walk, no high culture, too hot, superficial, blah blah blah. Of course that was before I’d ever been to LA. When I first walked out the doors at LAX, I fell madly in love, even though the view from the Arrivals sidewalk consists of a parking garage and my daughter wasn’t yet in the frame of that first snapshot . I learned that every single one of my snooty preconceptions was wronger than socks with sandals.
I was reminded of all these things last night when I was dressing to go to a barbecue at my ‘Villian buddies, Gretchen and Darryl. Yeah, well, the shirt’s too big (Mens L) but on a sticky night all that cottony drape seemed like a good idea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But you have to see a close up of the print to understand why I bought this, the first “Hawaiian” shirt ever to grace a hanger in my closet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was made for the US Water Polo Team in 1996, when the Olympics were held in Atlanta. The shirt’s stupendous deco print didn’t bring our lads any luck: they finished seventh, and watched Spain, Croatia and Italy on the medal stand.

This good-as-new beauty cost me exactly one dollar. I found it on a “Everything’s a Dollar!” rack on the sidewalk in front of:

 

 

 

 

It’s Ozzie Dots, on Hollywood Blvd., a few blocks away from the kids’ apartment in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Felez Village, their hood until a few weeks ago. I swiped the photo from their website: http://www.ozziedots.com . To get the real feel of the interior, check out the YouTube video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFomO5HE_u8

 

Ozzie Dots does costumes, wigs, theatrical makeup (fushia false eyelashes, anyone?) vintage clothing,Levis 501 jeans and “Hawaiiana” — random kitsch and lots and lots of shirts that would look good if you were hauling your long board to the beach. Or the Water Polo pool.

It’s a cramped, crowded wonderland. Lou usually drags me out forcibly after an hour, so we can devote a couple of hours browsing at Soap Plant Wacko http://www.soapplant.com/ next door. (It’s another pilgrimage shopping spot for us, and I’ll devote an entire post to it at a later time.) Does Ozzie Dots sell anything I need? Um, no. I’m not in show business, their goodish-quality costumes are too far away for a quick trip after work on Oct. 3o, and I there’s a 30/70 chance I could find a pair of vintage 501s in the back of Lou’s closet.

I want everything.

But some pix from Honor last year showed me why Ozzie Dots is as necessary as few bags of Tootsie Rolls when Halloween rolls around in LA. I mean, here in the ‘Ville I can’t walk a few blocks and pick up a Bride of Frankenstein wig.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I mean, beyond!  The slinky silver knit dress counts as vintage — my mother wore it in the late 70s, and Honor herself wore it to a high school formal. (Doesn’t her girlfriend make a winsome Frieda Kahlo?)

LA: I’ll be back!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under About a buck, Body, Cheap and Cheerful Object of the Day, How Cool is That?, LA Journal

Apron of the Day: Summer Cocktails

Get out your cocktail shakers and your green plastic lime squeezer from the supermercado.

I love these prints, which suggest limeade in the early ’70s and Pina Coladas in the fifties. Or, perhaps, margaritas right now, while your skirt steak sizzles on the grill and you grate cheese and slice avocados in the kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I like the graphic pow of the apron, full length. A better photographer would have provided more pow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This print makes me happy — the colors, the detail , that mixologist vibe. I figured rickrack on the pocket was historically mandatory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think the model needs a tiki drink. Smile, already!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pulling those two fabrics from my stash and mating them made me smile all afternoon; I take my inspiration from fabric designers everywhere. Dang, I wish I had some limes in the house!

(If you’re interested in buying this apron, shoot me an email.)

 

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Filed under A yard of fabric, Apron of the Day, Cheap and Cheerful Object of the Day, Drink, Needlework

Adventures in Bookbinding: Ten Minute Notebook

I’ve diddled about with bookbinding since my twenties, when a magazine article — who knows where, because there was no Martha Stewart Living back then —  with photos, showed me how to build a real book. Oh frabjous month! I cut pages of blank paper, sewed signatures, cut spines, chose end papers, learned the properties of PVA and starch paste, manufactured book cloth by the yard, and owned more clamps than Norm Abrams.

Turned out that (with a couple of false starts and wonky editions) I could make a book : real hardcover book, covered in whatever fabric I fancied, any dimensions I desired, thicker or thinner, sized like an atlas or an address book. Looking back on a lifetime of making things, that first mad flurry of bookbinding was one of the most satisfying periods ever. I learned that with zero formal instruction,trial and error, cheap materials and (very) little practice I could build a real book. 

Then I had a baby and decided that Xacto knives and pots of adhesives standing on every flat surface of a tiny apartment weren’t going to win us any Safe Parents Awards. I turned to smocking for a few years, and a few of those tiny dresses outlive the books.

I’ve never stopped making books, acquainting myself with brochures, Japanese stab binding, Leporello (or accordion) binding, single signature books and portfolios. In fact, I dropped $23.00 (!) bucks at Paper Source last week for a bookbinding awl that looks like a darning egg with a long nail driven through it, because I’m contemplating experimenting with stab-bound hardcovers.

What I created yesterday doesn’t deserve to belong to a post about bookbinding, because someone else bound the book — cheap.

I scored this, my favorite school notebook (a “scribbler, in Canada) for seventy five cents last week, because it was stacked in a tower next to the bakery department in my closest grocery store. I didn’t need it, but I find it hard to resist that dalmatian front cover and the tables of weights and measures inside the back cover. Where else to answer, instantly, any questions about the drams of Avoirdupois weights? So, I had it sitting on the table, next to my sewing machine, inches from a stack of cotton apron scraps and two feet from my glue stash. I pulled out the Mod Podge, a “bone” folder (plastic,)  grabbed a piece of paper from the printer and cut myself a paper pattern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I grabbed the nearest remnant, cut out two covers, applied glue to the front and back of the book, and smoothed the fabric thereon with the bone folder.

 

 

Five minutes, less than a buck, and I almost wish I were fourteen again, assembling my back to school kit.

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Filed under A yard of fabric, About a buck, Books, Cheap and Cheerful Object of the Day, Paper