Tuesday, November 27, 2018

French Clothing at the Getty Center

How do the holidays sneak up on me? I vaguely recall the years everything was finished during the summer which made Christmas a delight of visits, services, friends. Those days are gone. Now I am surprised when Halloween says, "Boo!" Then it's just a skip and a hop to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.

With supreme smugness, I sewed several small tops this summer planning to create a stack of baby quilts. Well, I didn't quilt them and now... I need five. Fortunately they are small and should finish quickly.

Here's the first one under the needle.

Quilting Chinese Coins IX baby quilt

The Getty Center

Another post of the previous perfection before the fires. I'm using it as a respite from assembling kits to help survivors. Terrible as they are, there are other disasters worldwide. Let's all help our neighbors - those in our hometowns, across our countries, and around the world. Money is the best donation although we need to make sure it's going to reputable charities.

Anyway, back to LaLa Land.

Darling DH insisted we visit the Getty Center Saturday since he knows how much I enjoy this museum. It's on a hillside with great views of both LA downtown and the ocean... at a distance.

View of LA and the Pacific Ocean
from the Getty Center

We rode the bus to the base then took the free tram up to the museum.  {There's also paid parking but you still take the tram.}

It's very modern and open - white travertine and glass. We need sunglasses outside but the weather was lovely. Once you pass the entrance there are a collection of buildings with many terraces on multiple levels. Also gardens, outdoor cafe, indoor restaurant, fountains, statuary.

View of the Getty Center inside

J. Paul particularly collected furniture and decorative items. Not to imply there aren't loads of paintings but many of those have been added since his death. So after a leisurely survey of one exhibit, we went to lunch and then split up. DH chose to view Art of Three Faiths: a Torah, a Bible and a Qur'an displaying illuminated manuscripts while I attended a lecture on French fashion... for two hours. Fabulous!

Maxwell Barr brought a live model to demonstrate the craftsmanship involved in the daily wardrobe of 18th century French nobility. Starting as she arose in the morning, he worked through six changes of clothing. Along the way he discussed makeup - purchased at paint stores and applied with silver knives exactly like painting a canvas. Queen Marie Antoinette had the reddest cheeks; princesses next reddest, etc. Woe betide she whose cheeks were redder than her rank allowed!

The model dressed to receive company in her boudoir. Notice she wore a hat indoors.

Morning deshabille in 18th century France

Mr. Barr copied this luncheon ensemble from a painting which he showed on the screen behind the model. The fichu is only from the 19th century since they rarely last long. Her gown was definitely this short; they became longer as the day wore on.

Maxwell Barr explains details of dressing
for luncheon in 18th century France

Evening gowns were one basic style: a skirt short enough to display her shoes {because they had diamonds} then an over-robe that fastened in the front but also laced in back. The pleats in back are French style. English style was fitted in back.

Robe francais

Women's sleeves were constructed to keep their arms slightly bent. In fact, the seams would rip if straightened so servants {or an attentive gentleman} were required to pick up anything a lady dropped.

The live display was matched with slides as he pointed out the details of clothing and fashion. Details matched: prints, ruffles, length, etc. although the diamond buckles were now only paste.

Mr. Barr noted how the clothing blended or fit with household furnishings by showing photos of past exhibits that displayed mannequins in furnished period rooms. One of those was Dangerous Liaisons, a 2005 exhibit at The Met.

He emphasized this point with a photo of these mannequins in a modern living room. Very silly. I'd never considered how our furnishings match our clothing. While our chairs encourage slouching and curling up with feet on the furniture, theirs allowed women to sit while wearing panniers - wide seats and short arms. You know the style.

I hope you have an opportunity to hear him or another costume historian some time.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Square Deal and the Venice Canals

While the outer border is not as blue as I want, it seems to be done. There are enough extra blocks to make one or two toddler quilts. It seems silly to continue making "slightly better" blocks and I'm out of that light blue that looks so good to me. Time to sew it up.

The Square Deal quilt in progress: working on the outer border

Before the wildfires, business took DH to LA and I tagged along for fun. The first day was spent wandering through the Venice Canal neighborhood. Built in 1905 to mimic the waterways of its European namesake, it originally included gondoliers singing in Italian for the tourists. However, most of the canals were filled in by the 1920s (voted by the city but costs paid by the neighboring homeowners) to allow cars. The few remaining blocks were saved because there weren't enough houses to cover the costs of infilling.

No gondolas now. It's all privately owned with one narrow street paralleling the beach that allows autos. Only a block from the beach and so, so quiet.

Here are views of the canals and their bridges. I especially enjoy the variety of homes spanning the past hundred years.
Venice Canals, Venice Beach CA

A few detail shots. Look at the wavy panes in the windows. And the balcony railing would be a good quilt border. Most of the homes had a small yard in front that included a dining room. How lovely to eat al fresco daily. There must not be many mosquitos; no screens.

Details of the Venice Canals

There's a charming fountain in the lower right photo. Loved the casual design with upside down flower pot base and copper spigot mouth. It made such a relaxing sound, too.

History of the Venice Canals can be found on this website.

Sorry this post makes the area appear pristine and perfect. Venice is about 20 miles from Malibu where lives and property have been lost in the Woolsey Fire. The worst fire in California is the Camp fire near Paradise. So many people have lost everything. Photos of the devastation frighten me more than hurricanes. Absolutely nothing left.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Bordering the Square Deal and the Grand Canyon

Liking the microdot inner sashing, I was ready to sew the center together but decided to make a Churn Dash of the innermost triangles. The first attempt included very narrow pink rectangles {no photo} but quickly grew to squares for more presence. The extra pink balances the weight of the Square Deal.

The Square Deal quilt in progress: working on the borders

With that part looking good I sewed on the mermaid inner border before going to bed.

In the morning the quilt appears too dark and/or heavy with four black crossroad blocks in each corner. Reducing that to two made it much better but there's another, larger problem.

Where did the blue blocks go? The yellow, green and pink blocks in the outer border make a decent contrast with the red ones but have little relationship with the center strips and HSTs. Looking back at my original layouts, the darker border adds needed presence while the light blues make the center sing.

The Square Deal quilt in progress:
working on the outer border

So now I'm reworking the outer border.  I'm not done but it looks better.

On to the Grand Canyon

Despite a lifetime in geology, I'd never been to the Grand Canyon. So glad I made it last week, especially because it was off season {meaning the North Rim was closed.}

My visit started at the Desert View Watchtower. It highlights the Painted Desert  to the east and the beginning of the Canyon. Inspired by native art, the watchtower incorporated Pueblo designs and styles including native artwork on different levels.

The further west along the South Rim trail, the deeper the canyon and the more complex the carved channels. Eventually that appears to be all one can see. I never knew it was this size: 277 miles long, 1 mile deep, 3 miles wide.

Desert View Watchtower

Grand Canyon from Yavapai Point

Elk posed all over the park. While leaving a calf was casually nursing along the road but I couldn't get a photo. (S)he was so tall I doubt mom will allow that much longer. Two more cow elk from a harem of five grazed near the parking lot. The bull elk rested in the trees nearby.

Cow elk grazing near the
Grand Canyon Visitor Center parking lot

We're already planning our next trip. So much more to see.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Sashing the Square Deal

Once the center {minus one block that kept falling down} was arranged, I started laying out a border. The darker border seemed to make more contrast but a single round lacks weight. A second round on the right creates better proportions.

Starting a border around the Square Deal block

With that start in hand, it was time to think about the sashing and inner border. The inner and outer blocks are different sizes. About six inches is required to get them to fit together. Black was too dark {forgot to photograph}. I next tried some narrow strips of Chinese Coins. {Surely you didn't think the last baby quilt used up all those skinnies.} Now there's no contrast; this is not the solution. Finally I realized the white design wall was trying to tell me something. I cut some mermaids printed on white. All the strips are the same width {and a bit larger than necessary} while I consider whether they should be the same or different widths.

Testing sashing and border fabrics

Making borders and sashing of the same fabric doesn't thrill me either so a different white print was cut. It has blue microdots although it reads white here. After trying it as a border, I decided it looks better as the sashing between the four quarters of this block.

Then I added Crossroads blocks on three sides.

Laying out sashing and borders on the Square Deal

The quilt must be repositioned on the design wall to finish the fourth side.

In the meanwhile, my family and I attended the State Fair of Texas. We went every year while my children were growing so it was fun to introduce a new generation to the Fair. Events have changed. We still enjoy the trained animals, the milking contests, and the beautiful jewel-like jelly competition. We watched pig races and performing rescue animals.

Pig races at the State Fair of Texas
The murals dating from the Great Depression were restored a few years ago - ready for a new generation to enjoy.

Mural from the
Hall of Varied Industries,
State Fair of Texas

These umbrellas shading a lunch site are new. Colorful day and night!

Umbrellas shade a lunch area
at the State Fair of Texas

VOTE! It's election day in the US. I wonder how different our lives would be if everyone was required to vote like Australians. Much more emphasis on the center; much less from the fringes. It sounds good to me.

Enjoy the day, Ann