Trying to put my thoughts & ideas down somewhere and give another outlet to my creativity. It's all connected, so I can't say it's a blog about just this or just that. Dolls. Fashion. Art. A little bit on travel, whatever... let's take it wherever it goes...


Eye candy alarm: Marimekko's 60th & lace exhibition "St.Gall"

Ah, this is a year I like fashion-wise.

First, this year it's Marimekko's 60th anniversary. And it just happens that I will be going to Helsinki again (something like the nth time...) later this year *g*. I admit, on my first visit, which was comparatively short, I didn't pay a lot of attention to them - somehow. It's not an easy thing, as their shops, and products, are pretty much everywhere in Helsinki. The second time around though, it was a different story. I went there together with my mom, and of course the hobby seamstress in here was quick to spot one of their shops on the Esplanadi, and we came home with quite a lot of fabric. The beautiful thing about Marimekko is, they don't just sell their own clothes line and all sorts of home products with their textile designs - they sell just the cotton fabrics too! There's many a beautiful summer frock made from Marimekko fabric in my mom's closet - and a few things have made it to my closet too. They fabrics on offer are a mix of new and of classic fabrics, and often they will do a classic fabric in new color variations too. Six years ago, the Design Museum in Helsinki held an exhibtion on Maija Isola who was responsible for such iconic designs as the Unikko poppies. They published a wonderful book on her for the occasion - bound in Marimekko fabric of course. Now they are holding a Marimekko exhibition - sadly, it ends before I'm going, but if anyone will be in Helsininki fore it ends, I can only recommend it, as it will certainly be very interesting - and have lots of eye candy on display! However, I will certainly pop in and by the book they just published to tie in with the exhibition.
Looking around at my apartment, the typical Marimekko things are everywhere...

In the kitchen...

In the bathroom...
Ties in perfectly with the yellow and orange color scheme that makes my dowdy brown and beige bathroom look sunny and bright!

In my closet...
I'd known the Unikko pattern before, just from seeing it somewhere, but without know what it was or where it came from. But as I knew more about it and had seen it on every possible article in Finland, I knew I wanted a simple 60s style short shift dress made from the classic big red Unikko print! Mom made this for me, and it kept me cool and looking chic through many a job interview in the unforgettable heat of summer '03.
The big Ananas pattern print looks great on a circle skirt. It shows the print to it's full advantage.
Of the remaining fabric from the skirt (which my mom made), I made a pair of shorts. The backside is plain pink, cut from the wide border that was left out when the pieces from the skirt were cut, where of course I had wanted the pattern to show. For the shorts, the pattern may seem a bit big, but I like it in "macro" too! It just happened that the only way to cut the pieces for these was this way, and I think it looks great. I call these my "Hawaiian shorts" as they remind me of Hawaiian print fabrics.

In short, one can have Marimekko everywhere, and their designs look great on all sorts of things... tableware, bed sheets, bags, table cloths, baby bibs (those are really great, by the way, as more than one friend with kids has told me!) - you name it, they got it. It makes everyday life a bit more colorful and bright - now, isn't that a good thing?

On another note, there's another serious case of eye candy one shouldn't miss: a new exhibition at the Textile Museum in St. Gallen, simply titled "St.Gall". The exhibition focuses on the history of lace from St. Gallen, and the photos on their website already look very enticing! The theme of the exhibition reminds me a bit of the Landesmuseum's "Bling Bling" exhibition from a few years ago, though in this one, the focus is probably a bit more on history and on lace. I think there will be a lot to see there for the vintage fashion nerd within me *g*. But of course, lace is always fascinating. I visited the lace museum in Brussels a few years ago - it's not a "showy" place, but they have loads of lace from centuries ago on display, and I found myself so engrossed in looking at these works of art... So I can't wait to see this exhibition. The last one I saw at the textile museum, on lingerie, was beautifully done - and big. I expect this one to be just as good. I will certainly report!


New dolls and outfits - and the one that almost got away!

It's high time I posted some dolly stuff again... Lately, good ol' Murphy of Murphy's Law - and my old saying that when you collect something, all you need is patience - have shown up strong again.

On my recent trip to the US, I had decided to go for a vintage instead of a doll shop, and had no plans to even look at the toy aisle of Wal-Mart, as anything that Mattel has been releasing lately is just so small-childish (and the dolls' heads only getting bigger) and honestly uninteresting even for collectors like me who still like to redress their dollies. There isn't even much in the collector's line that could tempt me - certainly not dolls that have that stiff ModelMuse body, which is wayyyy too thin and has zero display value if you want to integrate such a doll into a display as I do.
However, fate took us to a mega-mega-Wal-Mart near Quebec Street, and we did come by the toy aisle. I realised that that glow of a certain shade of hot pink still has magical properties, and before I knew it, I stood before rows of shelves packed with Barbie dolls *lol*. And lo and behold, what did I see? A row of black dolls in purple boxes, dressed in stylish outfits, looking surprisingly "normal" - and with NORMAL-sized heads no less! It turns out, they're part of a new, African-American only dolls series called "So In Style". The basic play-line dolls and their story can be seen at the Barbie homepage. What I bought in the end are in a way spin-off dolls from the actual big sister/little sister idea at the heart of this line:
Kara and Trichelle - basic dolls. These dolls have non-bending knees, but at a price point of $4, you don't think, you just grab 'em off the shelf *g*.
Aren't they beautiful?
Grace and Chandra from the Pastry line. As I discovered at home, Pastry is a funky fashion label, and their clothing is not only in the style from that label, they actual wear mini-reproductions of Pastry shoe designs that can be bought online on their website! I quite like their clothing a lot, as it's realistic and fun.Grace is my special favourite, I admit! she's just gorgeous.
Of course I have redressed the girls since, or they wouldn't be living here *g*.
Kara swapped clothing with Pinky - I just saw her in something Mod before my mind's eye when I had deboxed her. And what better for an African-American gal than the bright & colorful Swirly Cue dress?
Romantic Trichelle hangs around the bedroom in this cute peachy ca. 90s wrap dress.
Chandra makes heads turn in the original SuperStar Barbie dress, while Grace oozes elegance in a BMR suit.

Since I've had the whole week off work, there has also been time to visit a dear friend - a fellow Barbie doll collector who also shares a love of vintage fashion and generally beautiful things. We spent a relaxing afternoon looking at books, talking about dolls and other things, and looking at the vintage fashion pieces she's kept for 20 years and more. Oh, the fun of it!
She's been cleaning out her attic lately and I have had the opportunity to buy a few things from her, before she puts them out for sale. I haven't been able to photograph everything either yet, but I was super-glad to find the one Fashion Avenue outfit that has always eluded me! I admit, I was (and still am) a huge fan of the Barbie Fashion Avenue clothing line, which ran from 1995 to 2004. In my opinion, Mattel's play line was at it's best then since probably the 60s. Beautiful dolls, and beautiful, realistic fashions. I remember seeing them the first time at a department store - I walked out with four or five fashions at once, and from that point on, I couldn't be stopped. Some fashions were so rare and hard to get, that it was quite a hunt for them. At the time, there was still a toy store at Zurich's main station, and many was the time during my apprenticeship, that I stopped by there on Wednesday noon on the way from school to the office, and carried a Barbie fashion with me in my school bag... (this was the time when nobody beyond my family and best friends knew I collected Barbie). As good as I was in getting what I wanted, there was the one that got away... but as it happens, my friend had it! I had the extra accessory set for it, but of course that's only half the fun without the actual fashion to go with it. So I came home one happy camper, and today I tried it out on one of my dolls - I really love it!
Another great find was yet anothet blast from the past - a 1989 Super Star fashion called "Star on Ice":
Style Magic Christie makes quite a good show girl!


Do the Di-style - and carry your lunch to work in style too!

Just a short blurb today. Schlepping a big trash bag full of clothes to the Caritas shop was a little tiring, I admit. Just glad it's not further away! To make my day, I have just received the cutest little vintage summer dress - it just needs a little bit ironing, but sewing, mending and all that is on the list today anyway! Will post pics later on - right now, it's still a bit too light. This beauty came to me from Joules Vintage - she has an Etsy shop selling all sorts of vintage things, and she's a VFG member too!

Digging through my sewing and craft things (which take up quite a lot of space here), I came across two patterns that my mom bought for me more for fun some 15 years ago or so... they're copies of evening dresses Lady Diana wore, though two of them are more variations of those styles. Of course they couldn't mention her, but the illustrations speak for themselves. I have since put them into my Etsy shop, for as fun as they are, I'm not going to use them. But someone will certainly enjoy these.
On another note, my new lunch bag has arrived! As I cook a lot myself and take lunch with me to work (and pop it into the microwave), I need something in which I can carry my lunch standing straight, and if a book fits in there too, that's even better! Thanks to a tip from a Facebook friend, I got to know Bazura Bags. They make all sorts of lunch, shopping and whatever else-bags out of used juice containers in the Philippines. I think it's a nice way of recycling, and the bags look really fun and colorful. Plus, the lunch bag is just the right size, and it's closed, so when it's raining, it keeps the rain out too! It's a fact, there are people at the office, who know me only for or because of my lunch bag!


Scarf of the month - April, new stuff on Etsy & Segantini

Thankfully, I have a week off work - it's been less bizzy lately, but somehow things keep piling up! Anyway, first this month of course is the scarf!

This time, a beautiful dark green one with an interesting pattern:

Furthermore, I cleaned my closet out on Sunday. The weather has been exceptionally beautiful and warm lately, so it was about time I did this. Have once again been surprised how much stuff I have! About two trash bags full of stuff was the net worth of both summer and winter wear of my cleaning action. One bag full is waiting to be taken to the Caritas shop around the corner. A great deal sadly was in no condition to go to next good home... talk about t-shirts with staining under the arm. It's a sad fact, no matter what deodorant you buy, it still happens! A few things though have already gone for sale. I love wild, bold poly garments from the 60s and 70s, but maxi dresses are not really my thing, and poly is definitely not my fabric of choice for hot summer days, which is why I'm parting with a few things that I have just put in my Etsy shop. Here's a little teaser:

Taking advantage of having a few days off, I also managed to visit the Giovanni Segantini exhibiton at the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen by Basel. He might not be everyone's kettle of fish, but I find his later style (though not that of his last paintings) extremely interesting. I'm not much a fan of those paintings that seem to have symbolist theme either, but their style is hypnotising. His huge landscapes have a 3D-quality to them that I know of no other painter. And somehow, these scenes of every day life in the mountains seem less kitsch than what other painters have brought to their canvases. His very early paintings, of which I have never seen any before, and some of which show scenes from Venice, are quite interesting too, though they clearly show the artist who hasn't yet found his unique style.