Thursday, December 6, 2012

Books & Tarts

December is the time of year for secret projects. I'm working on one right now which presents a bit of a dilemma. I'm sewing. You can't see. I'll have to talk about something else for the next while.

Are you sewing Christmas gifts too? I almost never do although at one time I almost always did. I stopped giving handmade gifts when I realized they were not sufficiently appreciated to warrant the investment of my time - which is limited - and by that I mean life is too short to spend it making gifts for unappreciative people. Now, I only make the gifts I really want to make for the people I really want to make them for and even then only when I believe the gift will truly be wanted. That said...

... since making that decision, we have also shortened our gift list significantly and many of those who didn't appreciate my efforts are no longer on the list although - to be fair - the quality of my offerings has increased substantially over the years.  Although we give gifts, I don't want Christmas to be about materialism. Nor do I want it to be about busyness and never ending to do lists. That's why I have downsized, eliminated, and learned to delegate. I refuse to be the only one working to make everyone else's holiday wonderful. This is my holiday too so my take on the work is if you love it - whatever it may be - so much, be prepared to take over when I'm done. The things that I do do are the things that I want to do. Like tarts.

219 + 6 for the boys + 9 eaten + 62 baked last weekend = 296 tarts in total.  Even with twice the counter space of my previous kitchen plus the island, I managed to spread myself way out and make a complete mess and then returned everything to shiny clean four hours later. They are packaged up and ready for delivery or the freezer. Good. Enough. I am done for this year.

Veronica just asked - Would it be possible for you to set up a blog page of the books you have read in the past that have made a strong impression on you? You have mentioned a number of them over time and I bookmarked the blog posts. You have a fantastic writing style and I always enjoy your introspection : )

First, thanks for the compliment Veronica. I appreciate it. A page isn't happening too fast because it seems rather dry. I'm the most excited about a book as I'm reading it - especially non-fiction books - however, I can make a start with this posting of how-to sewing and fashion books that are definite have to haves in my opinion. Was your request for sewing related books or books in general?

My top two - go to - fitting books are Fast Fit by Sandra Betzina and Fit For Real People by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto. Both discuss fitting issues well and give excellent instruction on how to make alterations. Fit for Real People is far more detailed. You'll find yourself analyzing wrinkles all the way through the book and walking down the street. After I read it, I found myself figuring out fitting issues - on the people in front of me - while waiting in line. It got a little dangerous - LOL. Fast Fit is more to the point. It's like a condensed travel guide although I hesitate to call it that since I couldn't live without either book. The advice given for the same issue often differs book to book which gives you more than one way to solve the problem.

I have studied with Sandra, Pati, and Marta and they are all amazing instructors who have been in the industry a long time and really know what they are talking about. Theirs is advice worth listening to. The workshop I took with Pati and Marta was about pant fitting. All of that workshop and more is in their book Pants For Real People. It's really, really good info and a whole book about pants, not just one little part.

Another Palmer/Pletsch publication that I've really enjoyed is Looking Good by Nancy Nix-Rice. The common complaint I hear about this book is that the fashion illustrations are outdated. Yes. Get over it. There isn't a book printed that doesn't become outdated but the value of the book is not in the fashion illustrations. It's in the detailed line drawings and the information given. If you want to know how to work with line and proportion, you want to read this book. It's organized, detailed, and in-depth like most Palmer Pletsch publications. All three are available at Palmer Pletsch.

The book that had the biggest impact on how I think about how I dress is The Triumph of Individual Style by Carla Mason Mathis and Helen Villa Connor. It relates women's figures to famous paintings and like Looking Good talks about proportion and line but in a completely different way. I learned about this book in a chat group where some members were up in arms about how difficult it was for them to look at the images and how they couldn't leave this particular book on their coffee table near their teenage son. It's full of famous paintings. Some of naked women. If that's a problem, don't buy it. I found the lack of a cover up incredibly helpful.

Nothing to Wear? by Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo contains really useful information on identifying your fashion personality and moving forward with that learning. Like many books it contains quizzes to help you identify your style. The quizzes in this book were particularly right on for me because they didn't slot you into just one group but a combination of groups which certainly helps with that split fashion personality feeling.

It would seem that these last three books are on a similar topic and they are except they focus on different areas of that topic and together create a wonderful study of how to dress in a way that flatters not only our shape but our personality although that is an ongoing discovery. I've been reading how-to fashion books like these for years and years - since my twenties - and each time I read a new book or reread a favourite, I glean new information. I think that's because we never get old. We're constantly changing and evolving into new phases of our lives and coming to new understandings about, or acceptances of, who we are and the realities of life. Each new role, each new adventure, each new decade is a new horizon that changes us. I am neither the woman I used to be nor the woman I am yet to become. I'm a woman walking along the path wanting to enjoy this step, the one I'm on right now, to the best of my ability. 

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - I'm not reading at my usual rate right now and even so it wouldn't be wrong to describe me as a prolific reader. I've put 248 titles on my e-reader in just under two years never mind the hard copies. I love books and learning and new information and the possibilities they open up. I'm very grateful to live in a time where books are so readily available.

1 comment:

  1. You have the right spirit about Christmas gifts! I am amazed at your baking, though (I don't cook). Glad to hear you love to read, so do I.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.