Friday, January 29, 2010

PR: "It Belongs in a MUSEUM" "So do YOU!"

I've made it pretty clear I can't stand team challenges. I do, however, like museum challenges. So, I watched the first part of this show and kept it on mute during the usual teams-blowing-up-at-each-other part. Then I flicked it back on for fashion. That seemed to be a reasonable compromise. On the whole, I wasn't super impressed with this week. I saw some creative things, but not much that made me feel compelled to comment. Thus, I apologize that my input isn't as scintillating as it normally is.

Amy (high fashion): I kind of liked this garment. It wasn't my favorite, but showed Amy's customary thought for the challenge. It was at least intriguing.
Anna (high fashion): The dress was simple, but I thought it fit really well. I liked the browny-black lacy bodice and the shortness of it, even though I usually hate high-waisted garments. I'm concerned about this season seeing so much black and gray again so early, though.
Anthony (high fashion): I liked the shape of this gown. The feathers really confused me. At first I thought it was black tulle, which kind of made sense if it had been worked differently. Then I realized it was basically glued on feathers, and it lost its appeal.
Ben (everyday): Drab. The jacket in particular was unattractive, and the dress plain and slouchy. I was disappointed in this effort.
Emilio (everyday): Reasonably cute and saleable dress, but basically the same shape as his first one, with the one shoulder and flared skirt.
Janeane (high fashion?): Black black black. When I looked at the picture, I originally labeled it everyday. Oops. I suppose the folds or pleats or whatever in the jacket are nice, but this look really didn't translate as a $500 look.
Jay (everyday): The judges kind of raved about this, but I didn't think it fit very well. The top, with its weird flare around the hips, was really unflattering and looked kind of like a mistake.
Jesse (everyday): Plain and black. Again. This reminded me of a cheaper version of an Audrey Hepburn dress.
Jesus (everyday): I hate this kind of pant. Period. It's not flattering and reminds me of Hammer pants. Who wants to wear silk hammer pants? With an elastic waistband? Yuck.
Jonathan (everyday): One black feather on the boob. Really? The dress was a cute shape, but that feather was ill conceived to the nth power.
Maya (high fashion): This look was my winner of the week. I thought it was sculptural and beautiful, and also very soft. It blended its elements really successfully. On this dress, the "growth" effect was a good thing; it was well handled. I thought for sure this would win, especially since the judges liked their everyday look, too.
Mila (high fashion): This won because it was separates. Period. I was disturbed that a few looks were panned for being stuck in the past, and this is clearly a shout-out to the 80s. It is NOT modern! Someone commented on the rate the runway in this way: "It is dramatic and impeccably constructed. But it is also ulgy."
Ping (high fashion): And....done. You know those classical paintings with shepherdesses or goddesses in togas with oversweeping fabric shawls? This kind of reminded me of that for the noir lady. That being said, if you looked at the back where everything is inexplicably attached, you knew disaster was ahead for Ping.
Seth Aaron (everyday): From the front, I didn't think this dress looked bad. Then I saw the back. The shape of the top was basically a racerback. Sports bras and cocktail dresses should ne'er be mixed.

Friday, January 22, 2010

PR: Sacked!

I was actually quite pleased with the challenge and the outcomes this week, and I was actually excited to post a blog about it. Things seemed to come together, and a lot of innovation took place with a minimum of whining.
The one thing I hated was the judging of the losing designer. Did anyone else out there have a total slack-jawed, huh-what expression like mine? It undermined the credibility of the judging in a way that previous seasons have done repeatedly. I am hoping this doesn't become "a thing."
This week, we'll do the rundown this way, alphabetically by category...
Above the line:
Amy. Love. Love what she did with the painted petaling of the bottom layer of the dress. I thought her garment was edgy without melodrama, and was inherently wearable. Her model didn't look like an idiot or like she was trying too hard; the design had a sort of tongue-in-cheek appeal that I enjoyed.
Anna. Liked the printing idea, which no one else had. The dress was a little drab, unlike the warmth of Amy's dress, but it was certainly wearable. Like the pleats in the skirt.
Anthony. Great color, nice draping, too short. Why do designers think the possibility of butt cheeks is edgy? That being said, I really liked the way the top of this dress was put together.
Ben. I also liked the color of this garment, as well as the fit and construction of the top. I thought this look was lovely on the mannequin, but the skirt didn't work out right on the model. It ended up too bunchy, which was distracting. That being said, I liked the difference of this look.
Jay. The dress was cute, and I give it props for looking sassy and being well trimmed. This for me was not a winner, based partly on fit of the top. There was actually a gape issue particularly on the right side that trapped my eyes and distracted me. It looked like a messy construction issue rather than a contributor to his deconstructed, frayed look. Aside from this, it was a wearable dress.
Mila. I appreciate the idea of making the garment combine past and future. I thought the top was a little too wide (thank goodness her model had a small chest), and there was some fit trouble with the top, front and back. That being said, it was a unique dress, and well styled.
Seth Aaron. While I worry, as I know at least one of you does, that SA might be pigeonholing himself as the punk/goth youth-look creator, you have to admire his ability to put a style together. I do worry that this look might in turn pigeonhole the girl too much, give her too definite of a personality, but the garment seemed well made and complete, and was a punk and youthful way.
Between the lines:
Janeane. I'm undecided about Janeane's look. Liked the color choices, the gunmetal with the burgundy ribbon. The fit didn't come together for me. It didn't seem as though the lines were as clean as they should be. Like Jonathan's look, it had merits and demerits that placed it smack in the middle of the pack.
Jonathan. On the whole, I don't think this look went far enough. It was burlap trimmed with black lace. It fit the model well, but it was a bit humdrum. It didn't stand up to the more innovative looks, for sure, but it certainly wasn't an ugly dress, either.
Below the line:
Emilio. This look makes my eyes hurt. It seemed well constructed, but the red and black against the matte tan is unattractive, and the halter strap at the top was a questionnable choice. It seemed kind of bland against the bright color choice of the trim.
Jesse. Really? An ill-fitting vest with jodhpur pants? Which made the models hips look large? Sure, you made pants, but the look as a whole was ill-proportioned and not really attractive.
Jesus. I cry foul. He didn't keep to the spirit of the challenge. His dress was not hideous, but it deserved to be in the bottom two...with Ping. Rules are rules for a reason!
Maya. This look also made my eyes hurt. Messy. Distracting. And crookedly seamed in the back. This look didn't appear well constructed, and seemed a little too...immature?
Pamela. Yes, Pamela's look ended up kind of disastrous. But to send her home over a bare bottom and a challenge cheat? Balderdash. They even liked Pamela's dye job. Was it a good, well fit garment? No. But it had merits that set it clearly above other challenge executions. Very disappointed this week with the outcome.
Ping. This was kind of like half a look--not just because the bottom was hanging out, but because even the front, which is the most finished part, does not look like an idea got fully executed. I could see the architecture that Ping wanted to create, but she Didn't. Innovation must be fulfilled by skill so that the innovation can actually be seen. The look was undone.

Friday, January 15, 2010

PR: Central Park Sprouts Fabric

Well, it's time! Project Runway is back in our lives.
First, some good news: Tim is blogging again. For those of us who are really not into video blogs or "extended workroom footage," since that is time consuming and frankly dull, this already makes the season better.
I also began this season with a little more optimism than last. It wasn't because the team was back in New York, but it all just somehow felt more like Project Runway, with more of the old PR spirit.
That being said, I'm not sure how I feel about what seems like increased award-winning and professional experience amongst the designers. There seems to be a huge disparity between people just starting out and the people who have dressed people for red carpets and won couture awards already. While this doesn't mean the results will be affected (witness the person who departed this week), I have trouble rooting for someone who is already in the loop. I like PR best when it is about plucking someone out of obscurity. Some of these people seem like ringers.
Also on the negative, my heart broke a little after the beginning of the challenge, seeing those leftover bolts of fabric on the wet, dirty park sidewalk. What a waste.

On to the fashions:
Amy (check skirt, white gauze corset top): Personally, I thought this was dreadful. Too short, the draping wasn't attractive, and the top was incomprehensible.
Anna (yellow dress): The hemming was questionnable here, but I actually thought this was a cute dress otherwise. I kind of liked the peach fabric better, though, than the gold. This was safe, but not a winner.
Anthony (green floral dress (it looks black, but Tim tells me it's green)): I'm really rarely a fan of the "growth" dress, a dress with something growing out of it. I didn't think this dress was right for this fabric. It made both design and fabric look cheaper than they were. It all looked a little too craft projecty.
Ben (cinnamon dress with sci-fi shoulders): There was also some questionnable hemming here, and puckering in the back. I didn't care for this dress. The fabric color was "hard," the neckline and sleeve length "sweet," and then we have the pointy shoulders. While I suppose in some world those elements could be unified, I didn't feel they were in this dress. It didn't make my eyes smile.
Christiane (blue and print one-shoulder dress): As this dress was on the runway, I kept trying to remember the designer from last season who had a similar affinity for print growths. Qristyl. That's all I could think about. I didn't think this dress was as bad as some others, but it wasn't a successful look nevertheless. Seriously, from the side it looks like she's wearing a print apron. I also hear the construction was horrendous, but that is difficult to see in the pictures due to the darkness of the fabric.
Emilio (print and purple one shoulder with print skirt): I really liked this dress and was glad it did well. I actually did not think it was going to win, even though it was my favorite. I really liked the fit of the top part especially, and the way the one shoulder was put together. Someone on the rate the runway commented on the shoe choice, which I agree was egregious, but the dress is super cute. I'd wear it, albeit with different styling. It's a comfortable looking dress, but one with uniqueness.
Janeane Marie (khaki skirt, black top): While Janeane's look was not very interesting, I think she came through on the "point of view" angle. The skirt is unattractive when you get right down to it, but if you saw this coming down in the middle of a person's runway show, it would be the "sleeper"--the look that doesn't strain you but sort of eases your palate in between show stoppers and makes you want to buy a piece because it looks realistic. I'm nervous for Janeane because she seems unsure of herself, but I do appreciate a good save.
Jay Nicolas (tweed skirt and green print corset): I file this under WTFudge? Again with the growths, including one right in the middle of the stomach. I really like the fabrics, and I like the idea of the pleating done with the top, but the pieces were too small in that way I hate, and that flower on the stomach was ridiculous. There is no occasion on which that look would be appropriate. I hate that flower on the stomach so much I would have sent this guy home for that.
Jesse (brown plaid jacket and skirt and red blouse): At first I hated this look, in fact I still dislike the "jacket," but I was in favor of the red blouse. I thought it was sassy and I'm still not sure how it stays up, which intrigues me. I liked that the designer was trying something different, though I'm not convinced it was successful.
Jesus (brown croc gown): "Nobody Fs with the Jesus!" That's a Big Lebowski shout out, because it's Friday and I'm a little random. I gotta be honest, I didn't think this look was ugly. Sure, it was a little cliche in certain circles, but you'd be able to find people to wear this, unlike other looks. Someone in the comments compared it to Thandie Newton in the Chronicles of Riddick, which is pretty fair. It is a little costumey, but that was okay with me. If the kid had been auf'd for this, I would have been pretty annoyed, especially considering shady Jay Nicolas's look.
Jonathan (black dress with belt and trim): I didn't get a good look at this dress; I think it was first, and I wasn't ready. I thought the top of the dress was like tree branches, with the black silhouetted on the white, but I see now that's not so. I wish it were, because I would have liked that better. Examining the pictures, I see some construction issues with this garment. Going to have to keep an eye on this cat, though, because the dress was at least wearable and real.
Maya (gold sheath with "growth"): I looked at this dress and thought, I've seen this, and not only seen it, but seen it in the bottom. I could see, I think, what Maya wanted to do here, but the floof on the left was nicely understated while the floof on the right was too long, not quite the right shape, ending in a weird place. That being said, I quite liked the dress fabric, which was kind of brocadey. Y'all know how I love brocade.
Mila (grey skirt, brown print top, black and blue jacket, lined): This designer got way a lot done, no? I'm not a big fan of most of these prints (see my opinions on What Not to Wear on the subject of ugly prints), but I liked the shape of this look and particularly the jacket, which I'd almost wear. The look was almost runway ready, in a way, and well styled, I thought.
Pamela (shocking pink dress): I'm sure most of you can predict that I loved this dress. It's pink! I liked it almost as much as Emilio's, but the back kind of not so much. The website said something about this being reversible, and I'm not sure how, but I'm intrigued. I'll be anxious to see what else Pamela puts out.
Ping (red and green fabric): Hobo chic or Boho chic? You decide. I don't think I ever saw this garment to any sort of advantage that would make it Richie's favorite. Not only does it not have hanger appeal, but it also doesn't have TV appeal--I can't see it. I do know that I hated that suspender with a passion.
Seth Aaron (check dress with gingham trim): I thought this was going to win, not because it was my favorite but because it was very complete. It was a little reminiscent of Jeffrey's work (I hate comparing them this way, but it's what sprang to mind), and the shape was cute. The fabric was sort of punk lumberjack. Yes, that is my take on this garment--and that's very popular right now, according to girls' stores. Not a fan of the red zipper, which sort of ruined the experience for me. Maybe if it had been thinner. He also made spats for the shoes, which I respect, and trimmed them to match the dress. That was a better place for bright red zippers.

So, lots of people to watch in the coming weeks. I'm glad PR is back, and I hope I'm able to stay awake for it (I have been falling asleep during my favorite shows each week--I fell asleep three times during FRINGE, for heaven's sake!)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Non sequiturs

The school term has started and it seems like my students might be a pretty interesting bunch. I made it through my three classes Tuesday but was starving afterward so I need to revise my snack plan.

In an article on the Olympic hockey team, the man who picked the team said he thinks Ryan Miller is the best goalie in the NHL right now. That's my hometown boy! I mean, man.

I do not have an autoimmune disease, according to my most recent bloodwork. That's what we were testing, since I also have other symptoms like, evidently, Raynaud's disease, which I've always had but never knew could be a symptom of autoimmunes. So, we still don't know why I have gastroparesis and I'm waiting until I hear from my doctor to see what's next.

Also, fun fact: I read somewhere that autoimmunes are generally genetic, but that the heredity isn't disease-specific. Like, a parent could have thyroid disease while the child has lupus and a cousin has rheumatoid arthritis. I wish I remembered where I read that, but I wasn't taking notes because I didn't think I had one.

Haiti makes me sad. What a terrible state that country is in, and they just keep getting pounded by awfulness. And yet, mission trip people come back and say that they are so grateful for help and positive about God's role in their lives. We should be so thankful.

Book contests are expensive when you enter a lot of them.

I've been tearing it up reading, but I haven't really been reading in an elevated way. I've been reading James Herriot books, The Jaws Log, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and other such things that please me. I did read The Law and the Lady by Wilkie Collins, which is at least a classic, even though it is also a fun mystery novel (ps, Sister, I think you'd like this book). I am about to start The Hunger Games, which is contemporary but is also young adult literature, to continue my trend. I will also be reading Larissa Szporluk's Embryos & Idiots and some literary journals to balance things out (although since some of these literary journals are fairy-tale related, I'm still keeping to a theme).

Yesterday I wore some new pants I made--kind of a risk, wearing them on the first day of teaching. But I admitted to one class that I made them and the front-row girls were suitably impressed. They're gray with a white pinstripe, and they turned out really well. Now I need a new sewing project and by need I mean that I need to sort through the 100 or so that I have and decide on what to do next. The trouble is I prefer clothing sewing during the spring and summer, because most of the outfits I have are for then. Who wants to make a dress or a blousy top when it's 20 degrees outside?

I got really excited when I thought I'd found my computer still had all my old CD Windows Media Player files on it. The trouble is, none of them will play. This is a consequence of having protected the files when I put them on my old office computer, and they of course wouldn't transfer properly to the new computer. I think I have to delete them, carefully not deleting the files that are on my Shuffle through iTunes, and redo them. Terrible task.

Equally daunting is the degree to which I'm behind on my photo albums and photo printing. Like, over a year behind. I need to get a new backup and print CD together, but that will take days. Yikes. Actually, now I think of it I have some regular binders for my non-family pictures that I need to cover in interesting ways and fill with my photo pages. Perhaps that should be the next project.

My carbon monoxide detector started its low-battery beeping at me last night, necessitating that I move my grocery trip up by at least two days just so I can get 9-Volt batteries, so it will quit beeping loudly at me. (Yes, I'm sure it's the low battery beep, because it is digital and also flashes 'bat' at me.)

Ghosthunters International is on tonight. I have done my homework, so I get to watch TV. And make Tuna Helper for dinner, or perhaps rosemary chicken noodles, because the tuna cans will keep. Actually, I just found a can of crab that is out of date by 2 years. I have a can of clams that is unmarked. Opinions? I hate pitching food, but I'm wondering if it would be wisest.

I'm listening to Sharon, Lois, & Bram in the car right now. Don't judge me.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Peace be with you.

I've been kind of on blog hiatus for a while. When you don't feel well all that often, blogging cheerily about the things you're doing with your life really doesn't seem that appealing. Project Runway's new season is coming up, though, so I guessed I'd better get back in it.

Christmas has come and gone; I had it with my family back at the Michigan homestead, and let me tell you how grateful I was that everyone traveled safely: Very. To be honest, I had a rough time. Everyone was very understanding, but I feel guilty about how grouchy and unsmiley I was the whole time, and how much I had to bail and lie down. I tried my best to spent some time with niece and nephew and to have some chats with my family members, but I didn't do a very good job. Not as good as I wanted to do. I'm so consumed with protecting my stomach, and no one gets the attention they deserve from me. That goes for my friends, too. I'm just not a very nice person to be around right now. I feel grateful for all the love in my life, though, and for the warmth of home.
I really didn't do much for New Year's. And by much, I mean, I didn't do anything. I don't think I even got dressed. I might not have left my house. What was the point? There wasn't any mail and I think it was snowing. On the 1st, I treated myself to a little tiny bit of champagne while I watched the Winter Classic (go home team!) and finished a puzzle. Then, I got down to business and I sorted the giant cavalcade of receipts, bills, and miscellany that was piling up in my catch-all basket from three or four years. This I did while watching 2010 and a Pushing Daisies episode or two (because I now own the 2nd season...PD, you were over too soon. I miss you.).
I did finish a quilt, which was good news since it's 6 months overdue. (I also hit up the JoAnn Fabrics clearhouse and spent an unholy amount of money on fabric for even more projects. Fabric I am out of room to store unless I get very, very creative. Or very busy.) I want to make a pair of pants now, but somehow, given my current vacillations in size, it doesn't seem the best plan. Actually, I'm never that good at making pants anyway so perhaps it doesn't matter.
Tomorrow, I have an appointment with the gastroenterologist. I am hoping for more answers, and for more help. I want to stop guessing and start living my life again. I want to be able to take off for a shopping trip or the zoo or whatever and not feel uncertain or nervous or queasy. I want to be able to go to a party and stay for a while and sample the food with abandon. I want to be able to teach three classes in a row without having to sit down and be quiet. I want to be able to invest myself in a full, sweaty dance workout. I want to be able to stay up past midnight and rouse myself to do more than sit around. I want to take advantage of opportunities and concerts and events. I want to be able to get excited about things.

I've been thinking, as one does at this time, about resolutions. I am not making any this year. I was doing a pretty good job with my life up to October, and my goal is just to get back to that place!