Friday, March 23, 2018

Project Runway All Stars - Resort Wear - NO Spoilers

Nina Garcia and "Candy Crush" - what a combination! That's the draw for the final five contestants as they nibble their way down towards being the winner of Season 6 Project Runway All Stars. The fashions for this episode were influenced by one of the lands that people level up to in Candy Crush and have to be resort wear for that landscape. They played a single round of Candy Crush to determine the order of choosing their resort. The winner beat everyone else by more than 50,000 points! Obviously some of these designers are video game addicts. 

The five designers had to play a round of Candy Crush to
determine the order in which they chose their resort

The designers have $200 to spend in a 30-minute shopping spree at Mood. Each resort wear design is based on a different Candy Crush land - the tropics, the beach, the mountains, on safari and at the lakeside. The five designers - Anthony, Stanley, Edmond, Ken and Fabio seem to be thinking along the same lines for their resort wear designs - everyone seems to be focusing on pants, although the choices of fabrics and colors are different. Still, with so little differentiation between designs ...

Anne is back as the workshop mentor and gives some on-point advice. The problem is that although some of the designers nod and agree, it's like the advice is bouncing off a force field and not really getting through to the brain. They want the feedback, but only if it will help them advance on the road they already chose, instead of choosing to take a suggested detour for a better end result. It was nice to see Anne back in her role as mentor, though. 

It was odd to see the workshop that initially had accommodated sixteen designers, now holding only five. Suddenly each person has space to spread out - lots of it; there's no scheduling issues for the iron and running in and out of the Brother Sewing Room isn't as fraught with potential collision as in earlier episodes. 

As I watch the designs come together, I'm wondering where Candy Crush is in some of these designs. The men are focused on their clothing, but not on the topic or the sponsor for the week. NOT a good way to satisfy a client - especially the number one video game in the world and one of the largest gaming syndicates - King. 

For the Runway, Nina Garcia is joined by fashion icon Kelly Osborne, so the judging panel will be tough love. As the designs walk the Runway most of them leave me underwhelmed. I'm don't think they are speaking "resort wear" to me in some instances. I'll be back tomorrow with the reveal and what the judges said, so I'll leave it here for today. 

It's Friday, so all's good - LOL. I hope you have a wonderful day. We're hoping to escape a snow that will hit just south of us, but even if it hits, we won't get much. Talk with you tomorrow! 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Upcoming Things and In-the-Works Projects

Yesterday was a smooth day - one of those days where a lot got done, but there was still time to work on this or that "special project" and read for a bit too, without crunching my time. It was glorious. Next week's "day off" won't be so kind. Next week I'll spend a good part of the morning getting an eye exam - something I desperately need. 

The crazy machines they have you look through for
determining your correct prescription. Your eyes are
dilated, and you're always making choices - "Which
is better? This, or this?" It's rather annoying, but

It's really no fun to be a detail-oriented person, and have a seriously out-of-date prescription for corrective eyewear. I've needed an update for more than three years now, and it's gotten horribly bad. I'm always adjusting my glasses, and in January I suddenly developed two floaters in one eye. That was the tipping point. Time to make the appointment and get looked at. 

I am grateful that I won't have to make a decision about
eyeglass frames. I actually have three pairs of
custom-made unique frames that I've bought
over the years. I'll send them out and get
new lenses instead of purchasing new glasses. 

I go to a large clinic with branches throughout the metropolitan area. Of course, I needed a Wednesday appointment because it's my only day off. I'm ending up having to drive to one of the far southeasterly suburban locations for this exam. I guess I'd better check out Google maps and figure out the best way to get over there. I'll probably have to keep my wet things in the back of my car for hours and go straight over to the clinic from the gym. We'll see. 

The images I'm working with feature wolves. I really
love this original oil painting, but it's not the direction
I want to head with this. I love the piece, though. 

I'm continuing to work on my T-shirt design. I had the chance to work on some templates yesterday and hope to make some changes, group them the way I want, add depth and design, and finally start to call it my own design within a few days. If I had just wanted to throw things onto the shirt, it wouldn't have been a major deal. But I want this to be nice, and to possibly raise some money for a charity that's dear to me. So I'm taking the extra time to make it right. 

Tonight is Project Runway All-Stars and we're down to the final five contestants. It's all guys now, so let's see what they get up to in the workroom. I'll report on the workroom tomorrow and do the reveal on Saturday, as usual. I think the guest judge this week is Nina Garcia. I adore her, so I'm really looking forward to this episode. Have a wonderful Thursday and stay safe and warm. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Wheel Has Turned Again

We had schnee, or snain, or sleet (which isn't nearly as fun a description) yesterday and I'm hoping the roads won't be an icy mess to drive on this morning. I know many of you on the East Coast got totally pounded with your latest Nor'easter yesterday, and I hope all of my friends out there are safe, warm and cozy. It's been a harsh winter, which is going to make spring so much nicer when she finally comes into her own. 

I think one of my favorite times of the year is that short time
while our various fruit trees are in flower. We still have a
month or so until that happens, but it always lifts my heart. 

We're actually through the worst of it now, although we still can get some cold and snow for another month. Usually snow at this time of the year is wet and heavy, but melts quickly. A freeze too late in the year can kill the fruit crop for the upcoming summer and fall, though, so we really don't want that. Our flowering trees are so stunning when they finally pop. It's like the explosion of a cracker around the dinner table, or opening one of those "snake in a can" things we had when we were kids. 

Do you remember snakes in a can? It's actually
still available. I was a bit surprised. Still, I
suppose gag gifts never actually go out of

I mentioned on Monday that our trees were fluffy. It's a joy to my heart when that happens. It means that even though there might be snow on the ground, the seasons continue to move toward spring and summer. 

Ostara - the middle of spring. The earth is awakening once
again and growth and new births are happening. By the time
of Beltane in early May, we'll be ready to welcome Summer. 

Yesterday was Ostara - the Spring Equinox. A lot of you were looking out from your front doors, shaking your heads and thinking the calendar was having a huge joke on you and your neighbors. What I always have to remind myself is that the Equinox isn't the beginning of Spring, it's the middle of it. Spring actually begins with Imbolc in early February, right around Groundhog Day. From yesterday's Ostara, we move toward Beltane in May which is the start of Summer. So breathe, everyone. Winter truly is waning and Spring is actually walking the earth, gathering her green raiment around her one leaf at a time. 

It was absolutely too cold to dance in a circle in lightweight
clothing, but I still enjoyed looking at this image. I thought I'd
at least share this Dance of the Wheel with all of you. 

Today is my "day off" and I'll be doing the usual - grocery shopping, house cleaning, lots of laundry, and some cooking. It's been a very busy week at work, so I'm hoping I can relax a bit today before jumping back into it again tomorrow. I hope each of you have a wonderful Wednesday and I'll be back tomorrow. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Simple Things That Mean So Much - Quilts

There are simple things that mean a lot to each of us. One of my simple things is a quilt - a star quilt that I used nightly where I sleep. It comes to mind this morning because it needs a repair and I have to think about whither or not to give it up to my friend who runs a custom clothing alterations and repair shop. If I do, I'd have to give up my quilt for a week or two and I'm so reluctant to do so. 

Lakota star quilts are ceremonial and used for commemorating
many different occasions. Baby sized ones are used for
newborns, and the elderly are buried in them. They are a
cherished gift, not casually given. 

My quilt has developed a tear in the backing and some of the stitching is unraveling. It was made by my sister in honor of my grandmother's death, and was one of two that she sent to me as a "Thank You" for my help within the family and an acknowledgement of what I had meant to her and to my grandmother. The second star quilt is satin, so beautiful and quite slippery. It is a reminder of the satin star quilt which draped grandmother's coffin when we buried her many years ago. Although I love the satin quilt, it is the simple cotton quilt that holds my heart. 

Although color choices are optional, more often than not
they will at least use sunrise colors within the star on a white
background. The preferred quilting stitching is usually
circular patterns - not the fancy quilting you will often
find in Nordic white-on-white quilts. 

I'm not really sure why I'm so attached to this patterned cotton blanket. It's the perfect weight - can be covered with an afghan (one that my mother made while watching evening television decades ago) if the room is cold overnight, or just used on its own for temperate nights. If it's super hot, I'll often just have it draped nearby. But that cotton star quilt is always on top or near me. DH uses a tied quilt that was given to him as a thank you for work done at a different relative's memorial, on a different Indian reservation. His quilt is also starting to fall apart. 

This stunning Star Quilt was made by Nellie Star Boy Menard
from Rosebud, South Dakota; a Lakota woman. The quilt was
made for her grandson. She received a National Heritage
Fellowship in 1995 for her quilting. Are you interested in
Native American quilts? Here's a link to a lovely exhibit
from Michigan State University. 

I suppose it's the way of all things, that they are used and finally fall into disrepair. But these quilts that we use daily are a part of our lives and, by this time, a part of our personal heritage. So, I will take a serious look at my star quilt when the weather gets warmer. I'll purchase and wash the fabric that I want to put onto the back, and I'll think about whether I want to let someone else do the repair, or whether I want to beg a few days off from work and just settle down at my sewing machine and do the repair myself. I can do it - I have the capability. It's time that's my enemy here. 

Do you have a few special but simple things that mean the world to you? Share with me. What do you have and why does it mean more to you than things of much more monetary worth? Have an excellent Tuesday and to those of you in the East getting snow once again, bundle up. Spring is actually here, it's just waiting in the wings. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Simple Things - A Movie, A Weekend and Old Friends

DH and I had an early Sunday morning, a breakfast in, and then went to my favorite movie theatre to see "Black Panther". I loved it, DH liked it but it wasn't as high on his list. He didn't like the main character, I loved all of the strong and capable women. I guess we just look for different things in a movie - LOL. The large bucket of popcorn was delightful and it was a great way to spend a Sunday morning. I think our next movie will be "Tomb Raider", just because we love the franchise. 

I really enjoyed "Black Panther". A cast of strong characters
with lots of action made for a fun two hours. I'm really happy
we went. If you haven't seen it yet, stay for the full end,
through all of the credits. 

It was extremely pleasant to have a lazy day off, yesterday. There was no snow we needed to shovel (we're expected to get an inch or so later in the week, but nothing major), and we didn't need to be in attendance at anything. We played a little on our computers, watched golf on TV, and watched another episode from a DVD collection we've been working our way through. All in all, it was a really nice Sunday. Now we're back into the normal schedule. 

Rory McIlroy won the Arnold Palmer Invitational yesterday by
playing some pretty amazing golf. It was a pleasure to see.
The Masters is coming up in a few weeks. Augusta is my
unofficial start of Spring - just looking at green grasses,
brilliant flowers and bushy trees. 

Saturday at the shop was extremely busy, but in a great way. Several customers came by who hasn't visited in a long time, and it was wonderful to catch up a little while helping them get their beads. I even got hugs from a couple of them who've been friends for many years. It was so fun to see them again and catch up with their kids and families. It made for a Saturday that flew by, even though we were very busy. 

Our trees are starting to look fluffy - the stark skeletal look of
the winter is changing to spring. No leaves yet, that will still
be a week or two out, but the definite signal that winter
is almost over and spring is right around the corner. 

So not a lot to tell in today's blog. But that's OK too. Sometimes having great days and seeing old friends and a fun movie is all I can want. Sometimes it's the simple things that make it all worthwhile. Have an excellent Monday and I'll be back tomorrow. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy St Patrick's Day and the Runway Reveal - SPOILERS

Happy St Patrick's Day to all of you. Not Irish? That's OK, celebrate anyway. I always look at St Patrick's Day as one of those days that sit atop the seasonal changes up here in the Frozen Northlands. There have been years when snow accompanied the two St Patrick's Day parades, and other times when those who walked and celebrated were quite comfortable. Today will be cool, not ice cold, and the snow will only be patchy, the large piles left by snow removal. It's a good day to celebrate the Irish. Now - on to Project Runway. 

Yesterday I explained the premise of Week 10's competition - creating performance wear for three genres in the music industry - pop, rock and country. Each designer was pitted in a mini head-to-head competition with another designer sharing the same musical genre. Alyssa said that Project Runway had never designed clothing for the musical performance industry before. Given what walked the Runway, there may have been a reason for that. Although the clothing was fun, I don't think the designers had a good handle on the performance requirements for each of the musical types. Let's take a look. 

Starting things off, is Anthony. It's short and
sassy and it actually walked the Runway well. 

Anthony was paired against Ken in the Pop music category. He said that he wanted to make something "festive" ala Jennifer Lopez in Las Vegas. Georgiana loved the design, and Isaac loved the front, but not the back. (He called the back "hilarious".) The guest judge, Olivia hated the embroidery at the model's crotch. I was unimpressed - it wasn't horrible, but it also wasn't great. 

Ken created this translucent jumpsuit with just
enough paneling under it to protect the modesty
of the model. It was an interesting fabric concept. 

Ken designed a jumpsuit and a slouch coat for his head-to-head against Anthony. Georgiana called it "chic" and "beautiful", Olivia gushed over it, saying that it "gave her life: - whatever the hell that means. Alyssa loved it, calling it "forward" and Isaac adored the jumpsuit but really hated the coat which he kept calling a bathrobe. 

The winner of the head-to-head for pop was Ken. 

Stanley created another beautifully tailored outfit,
but does it scream "Rock" to you? No? Well it
didn't do much for me either. 

Stanley did beauty in stripes, making this rather stiff short skirt that stands out from the model's body. He said he was inspired by rock legends. I wondered if he had ever attended a rock concert. Hmmm. Georgiana called his look "contrived" and too matchy-matchy. Isaac said that Stanley didn't get it "at all", and Alyssa wanted more. Olivia called it "too cute". Ouch! I just thought Stanley missed the mark for his genre completely. 

Edmond's look for Rock was flowing, with movement
in all directions. It was offset enough to be edgy and
had the ability to survive a concert night under
the lights. 

Edmond's outfit didn't walk the runway, it dominated it as his model strutted down. Georgiana thought the outfit screamed rock & roll, and Isaac thought the outfit screamed glam. Alyssa loved it and Olivia said that Edmond did a great job. I have to agree. I could see this on stage. 

The winner of the head-to-head for rock & roll was Edmond. 

Fabio created this shining mini-jumpsuit for
his country assigment. I have to wonder if
he's ever actually seen a country star on stage. 

Fabio's outfit, although it looks like a two-piece, was actually a one-piece romper separated visually by the belting. It was a really cute design, but I didn't feel that it met the criteria for country music. One of the many blog commentators after the show aired remembered Taylor Swift at an awards show in something similar. All good and fine, but Taylor Swift is not country. Fabio said his romper combined Carrie Underwood and Dolly Parton. Really? No - don't see it. Isaac didn't like the jumpsuit, Georgiana thought the look was cute, but too "on the nose". Olivia liked the color - not a glowing positive. 

Helen used sequins to give shine to her prairie-style
country music gown. The judges found a lot of
problems, though. 

Helen's gown walked the Runway and I wished she had used the sequins as an accent instead of the entire dress. It was country in concept, but stumbled in a lot of the smaller details. Alyssa felt her dress was like a costume - the kiss of death on this Runway. Isaac thought her design looked like country going to a Bar Mitzvah - ouch! I felt that both designers really missed their target for this genre, although I leaned towards Helen for the win. 

The winner of the head-to-head for country music was Fabio. I didn't agree with that choice at all. 

So, remember what I said. Each group of two had a winner and a loser. That left us with Ken, Edmond and Fabio vying for the win, and Anthony, Stanley and Helen standing on the edge of elimination. Can you guess who won and who was sent home? 

The winner of the Hard Rock Cafe competition and four days at the Hard Rock Resort in Cancun, Mexico was Edmond! I really liked his outfit, so I approved. 

Who was sent home? Unfortunately, this time it came down to Helen and Stanley and the judges sent Helen home. I totally disagree with this decision, and think it should have been reversed. But, I'm not a judge. 

That leaves us with five guys fighting it out for the Season 6 win. Since the men were outnumbered by the women when the season began, I'm surprised it came down to guys only. Now the gloves have to come off. 

Have a wonderful weekend, be safe and happy for your St Patrick's Day. DH and I are taking an early morning on Sunday, going out to breakfast and then on to the movies to see "Black Panther". Yippee! I'll be back on Monday! 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Project Runway On Stage at Hard Rock Cafe

Performance art in clothing. There is a huge difference between fashion for the stage and fashion for the musical stage. This week, the six remaining designers face off in three head-to-head challenges focused on three separate musical genres: rock, pop and country. There are specific concerns when dealing in musical performance - movement for the performer, flow of the outfit, tradition - how far clothing boundaries can be pushed (never forget Lady Gaga's meat dress or some of Katy Perry's more outlandish clothing choices), and the ability to show up on a stage in front of a multitude of fans. The challenge was issued at, and sponsored by, the Hard Rock Cafe who will hire the winning designer to design a t-shirt that will be sold in their stores. The winner will also get a vacation at the Hard Rock Resort in Cancun. That would rock (pun totally intended)! 

Helen and Fabio were assigned "Country" for their genre. From
the general responses to the musical choices, I don't think
country would have been the first choice (or maybe even within the
first five choices) for any of the six remaining designers. 

When I think of pop, Beyonce comes to mind. I focus a bit older for country, thinking more of June Carter, Patsy Cline and Reba. For rock, I switch off a bit and think Steven Tyler or Lizzy Hale from Halestorm. I didn't really get a comforting feel of "Oh Yeah!" from any of the designers regarding their genre or fashion choices, but the designers have a lot of freedom for these styles of performance clothing. I hope they take advantage of that, but we are down to six and all of the cuts will hurt from this point on. 

The musical genres were "chosen" by each designer entering a number into a giant jukebox. Of course, the numbers were fixed so that each type of music would end up being assigned to two designers. As mentioned above, Helen and Fabio ended up with country music. Anthony and Ken ended up paired for pop music and the final two - Stanley and Edmond - were assigned to rock. None of the designers seemed especially happy with their musical choice. With a budget of $250 for Mood and a single day for the challenge, they were off and running after sketching/designing time. 

Since there are only six designers left, no designer will be "safe" this time. Each pair, each genre, will have a high and a low look. The winner of the challenge will come from the three high looks, and the designer sent home will come from the three low looks. I was pretty impressed with what the designers put out on the Runway. Even designs that I thought would be a red hot mess turned out to be pretty darned kewl when they were completed, worn, and walking down and around in front of the judges. 

Who won and who went home? I'm hoping to have pictures, etc for you tomorrow. Meanwhile, have a wonderful Friday - we all need a Friday periodically, and today, it has arrived!