Thursday, June 24, 2010

Teach Yourself to Sew: How to Sew a Bias-strip Scarf - Threads

Teach Yourself to Sew: How to Sew a Bias-strip Scarf - Threads

| CG Is At Work | - Magical SMH Isadora

Ms Kay is currently at work.. so what am I doing today?

I was shocked that Jakel and Gulati's weren't of similar ownership. Daaa... I didn't know. Really. I was dumb founded when i learnt that a few weeks ago. 

Previously, I bought many of my raw material for Simply Me Hijab exclusively from Jakel.. (my fav is Jakel jln Bunus) Only recently, I bought it from Gulatis. 

It is all in the secret of bargaining..  Thank you for a very good offer.. I'm definately coming back for more!

Recent development...
My husband was shocked that all my pieces (in-making) are booked and sold. He was shocked that before I could upload my collection - Simply Me Hijab [SMH] is officially sold-out! (Too bad dear...)

I'm about to cut my latest pattern of SMH - Isadora... I just finished designing them.. Isadora comes in bright vibrant colors.. basic color but bright. Dedicated in plain chiffon silk. I designed Isadora with princess and simplicity in mind. Yet the embellishment chosen for Isadora is of high quality... mixture of swarovski crystal beads and Japanese high quality beads. Some of the materials are such as follows:

| swarovski crystal chart |

| cute bedazzled beads |

| japanese beads |

| high quality rayon embroidery thread |

| plain chiffon silk |

some of the color SMH Isadora carries are as depicted below
Isadora is designed and stitched to a polyester chiffon underneath to conceal and to reflects modesty.

Ms Kay completes the scarves aka hijab with a rolled end stitch. 

Neat and Simple. 

Just nice to be accompanied by the 'right' rhinestones.

 | well, designing is not that bad |


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

| Site I Miss About Paris - Parisian - Francois |

I miss Paris! I miss every bit of experience Paris has given me... I miss it for all the good reason. It was a place that has open up my eyes and given me a totally different opinion about life and happiness... how much I've learnt from you - Paris, France.

| the wind - the wide blue sky - the green wide field |

Bonjour me amis... | Pont Alexander III |

arghhhhh miss the ambience... | Galleria Lafayatte |

| Monmarte | Remember Moulan Rouge? 

Miss the site of breads.. danishes.. ├ęclair...where is the Baguette?

memories.. memories... excellent life experience.

How Tidy and How Interesting

Lately, since I'm getting older, I found many of my gurly friends have ventured into English home deorating frenzy. It is really fascinating.. even a friend of mine has opened a Home Deco Shop in Pahang (she is 'Datin' Ku Asmah - she has fine collection for those in love with English home decoration! Do visit her okay!)

Anyway, I've been studying harder about the concept and getting involved with the terminology and the business of English art and decor. Of course my passion in entirely on to the VICTORIAN Era. However, this might help somehow in my learning.. So, what have I learned today?

I found out that, I can keep my collectibles in fascinating tidy order... away with clutter! These pictures are credits to their respective owners.. Owners who have invested their time to sharing and educating people who are beginner like me understand the art of English Decor....

NEAT and in rhythm..... red transfer wares i presume?

really neat... tureen or transfer wares? which one?

I'm mad for cups and saucers and side plates... interesting!

This one in particular is something I've seen commonly in many houses I've visited in KL... (friends.. forgive me but I kinda think of it as common but not yet there?)

I saw something like this at SSF Sg Buloh a few months back.. hmmm... interesting too

Dedicated for optimization of space - corner shelve.. I like this! Fabulous order :)

order.. order... but yet behind closed door.. your beauty need to be disclosed!

How's that? Nice?

Looks like this one need another new closet?

Neat but.. could it have been better?

nice and neat.. no beauty can be denied such evidence...

Well, i have plenty more.. but I'm gonna pen-off here because I got to start cutting my hijab design pola now.. I got over 40 new pieces to cut and sew :)

My Die-hard Hobby is Back for real!

Once upon a time, I was beginning to like my 'weird' interest in collecting vintage European items.. especially the Faberge egg and the princesses' collectible glass slippers.

"Today, Faberge eggs are priceless masterpieces but their history began in 1885 with Tsar Alexander III, who commissioned Peter Carl Faberge to make an egg for his wife."
The Blue Serpent, 1895

The Twelve Monogram

But lately, my undying passion creeping back slowly energetically - insisting me to look into my 'love for antiques' once again. I wouldn't call it antique actually - because that would mean I'm going to spend a lot of money on buying stuff to be shelved.

Where is the meaning and pleasure of having something with usage than? Hmm.. probably, I'm really getting old..

Collecting Faberge and Glass Slippers is not feasible looking at my 'slowness' in travelling these days. So, I've declared that I'm gonna fulfill my passion in Victorian Pottery, China and Arts to my fullest potential. Hence all my design for Simply Me Hijab does come in variety of colors within the era... very subtle and vintage as well.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Victorian Daily Life - an insight!


During the Victorian era, the precise cut, material and color of a garment revealed the social class of the wearer. With the growing prosperity of the day, fashions for women of the higher classes became increasingly complex. Dresses were composed of several layers of different shades, cloths and trimmings, and intended to be worn with both under-dresses and over-dresses. Properly dressed ladies accessorized with gloves and bonnets. Bustlines rose, as Victorian modesty gained widespread adherence; and waistlines fell as designers revived the popularity of formal dresses reminiscent of Georgian France. In the first quarter-century, puffy "mutton-leg" sleeves became all the rage, but these were later replaced by fitted sleeves and eventually bell sleeves. Victorians considered the "hourglass" shape to best flatter the female form, and women wore restrictive corsets to achieve this ideal. The Victorian era also saw the progression from crinoline skirts to hoop skirts and finally to bustled skirts. Finally, the invention of sewing machine revolutionized women's fashion on a practical level, as ladies devoted themselves to designing, customizing and making their own garments.

As for accessories of this era, the cameo became all the rage of the mid-19th century. Although Queen Elizabeth was known to favor cameos to complement her garments and Catherine the Great had an impressive collection as well, Queen Victoria revived the jewelry piece during her reign. Cameos during the Victorian era were often attached to a black velvet ribbon and worn as a choker. Jewelers during the nineteenth century used gemstones, stone, shell, lava, coral and manmade materials as mediums to carve cameos. Shell had been used by Italian carvers since 1805, and by the Victorian era, was the favorite material of cameo designers. Popular subjects for cameos included depictions of deities from Greek mythology (especially the Three Graces, the daughters of Zeus), the Biblical Rebecca at the well, and the Bacchante maidens adorned with grape leaves in their hair. The Victorians' appreciation for naturalism, especially their love of gardening, was also captured in cameos featuring flowers and trees. Finally, the Victorian woman of means often commissioned a cameo in her likeness, while other artists depicted an idealized woman with an upswept hairstyle and Romanesque features.

Men's fashions of the era were comparably more comfortable for the wearer. It was considered impolite society for a gentleman to appear in his shirt sleeves before a lady other than his wife, so Victorian men nearly always wore wore an informal "sack coat" during the day. The sack coat was a loose-fitting, single-breasted garment appropriate for travel or business, which was distinctive for its small collar, short lapels, a fastened top button close to the neck, moderately rounded hems, flap or welt pockets on the hips, a welt pocket on the chest and a slightly baggy appearance. Men's formal attire consisted of a top hat, dapper cutaway coat or frockcoat, waistcoat, cravat and trousers.


Food and Cooking

The Victorian era was a period of extravagant entertaining for the upper middle and high classes. Victorian meals consisted of as many as nine courses, although many dishes were light and petite-sized. Fine ingredients, such as exotic spices imported from distant countries, were used in lavishly prepared meals. Culinary schools were established for the first time in history, while popular recipe books by chefs such as Agnes B. Marshall and Isabella Beeton became all the rage in England. Detailed measurements and instructions were written down for the first time during this era. New kitchen gadgets such as the can-opener and Ball-Mason jars were introducted. In addition, Victorians began adopting a host of manners and customs surrounding mealtime, in accordance with Beeton's maxim: "A place for everything and everything in its place." Through her widely-read recipe books, Beeton also popularized such phrases as "Dine we must and we may as well dine elegantly as well as wholesomely."

The institution of afternoon tea became highly popular during the Victorian era. Afternoon tea was invented by Anna Duchess of Bedford (1783-1857), one of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting. During this time, the noble classes ate large breakfasts, small lunches and late suppers. Every afternoon, Anna reportedly experienced what she referred to as a "sinking feeling," so she requested that her servants bring her tea and petite-sized cakes to her boudoir. Many followed the Duchess' lead, and thus the ritual of afternoon tea was birthed. In fact, a culture of sorts emerged around the tradition of drinking tea. Fine hotels began to offer tea rooms, while tea shops opened for the general public. Tea dances also became popular social events at which Victorian ladies met potential husbands.


Sports, Games and Leisure

In addition to the ever popular afternoon tea, Victorian families enjoyed gathering together for games in the evenings. Many Victorian games were active and silly, and have since been resigned to only being played by young children. A whole range of 19th century games, in fact, consisted of trying not to laugh. For example, "Poor Pussy" involved one proper Victorian guest having to crawl on all fours amongst the seated company, meowing piteously, and crouching in front of someone who had to respond, "Poor Pussy!" with an absolutely straight face. If either Pussy or the speaker so much as smiled, the latter became the new pussy. If both maintained their composure, Poor Pussy was Poor Pussy indeed, condemned to crawl toward another human in hopes of being relieved of his task.

Slightly less humiliating was "The Laughing Game." One person began by saying, "Ha"; the next, "Ha-ha"; and so on around, while all tried not to actually laugh. Whoever succumbed was eliminated as the "Ha" repetitions continued to increase around. Other games entailed silly postures: "Statues," for example, where everyone had to suddenly freeze in some extreme position, and whoever laughed or broke the pose was eliminated; and "The Sculptor," in which one player arranged the others as peculiarly as possible, toward the same goal. What we called Simon Says was then named "O’Grady Says." A game known as "Change" involved various objects--large, small, heavy, light-- to equal the number of the participants. The players began by standing in a circle, each holding one item. Someone appointed to give commands said "Go," and players had to begin passing anything they held to their right, while also taking whatever was handed to them. When told "Change," they had to pass objects to the left. To add confusion, several items were deliberately, simultaneously routed in the opposite direction. Whoever dropped something or passed it the wrong way was "out"--but all objects remained, making them harder to pass along smoothly.

Still popular today, "Charades" was played by the Victorians. One player from each team of guests drew a card on which was written the name of an object, person, book, movie, etc. (to make the game more authentic, you can limit the names of people, books and objects to those that were popular during the 19th century). The player had to act out what was written on the card within a specified amount of time, while his or her team members made guesses. Points were awarded for the correct guesses, and each team rotated until all of the cards were drawn.

"Musical chairs" was another popular game, which began with chairs placed in a row, with one chair missing. The guests were asked to walk around the room while the hostess played a short piece on the piano-forte. When the music stopped, the guests scrambled to find a seat. The guest without a seat was "out" of the game, another chair removed, and the game continued until the last guest seated was named the winner.

"Blind Man's Bluff" was an especially popular parlour game, although it in fact originated during the Middle Ages. The game is mentioned in period novels such as Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and was reportedly played by members of Queen Victoria's court. One guest was blindfolded, and spun around five times. While spinning, all the other players ran around looking for a good spot to hide. When the searcher finished the fifth spin, he or she yelled, "Stop," and all the other players froze in place. The player then searched for the other players by yelling "blind man's..." All other players yelled "bluff," disguising their voices. Even distinguished guests in proper attire were required to stumble around, attempting to track down the other players.

"Hot Boiled Beans" was another game in which one guest was sent out and an object hidden. When he returned, the guests shouted, "Hot boiled beans and bacon for supper." Guided by other players saying this meal was becoming cold, hot, even perhaps burned (if he was very near it), he searched for the article. In "Hunt the Thimble," a small item was hidden in plain view while all guests were out of the room. Upon returning, each guests was to sit down silently as soon as she spotted the item. The last person left searching had to pay a forfeit. Other old games such as "Hare and Hound" and "The Wolf and the Lambs" gave players license to chase or grab each other as they broke out of more controlled rows or circles.

The Victorians were known for their love of word games. In an 1856 almanac, one author wrote in a section entitled "Evening Pasttime": "Among the innocent recreations of the fireside, there are few more commendable and practicable than those afforded by what are severally termed Anagrams, Charades, Conundrums, Enigmas, Riddles, Puzzles, Rebuses, Riddles, Transpositions, &c." Victorians excelled at riddles that relied upon double meanings and the sounds of the words themselves. In addition, a whole range of guessing games expected losers to pay a forfeit meant to mildly embarrass, to provide a good laugh for all. Forfeits described in Patrick Beaver's Victorian Parlour Games included having to answer yes or no to three questions without knowing what questions had been selected, or standing on a chair and posing however the company demanded. For single guests, forfeits might include having to kiss another member of the opposite sex, or having a male and a female player be blindfolded and then dance together.

"Twenty Questions" was a popular guessing game that could end in forfeits, as was "Crambo," perhaps best described as Twenty Questions played in rhyme. The movie version of "A Christmas Carol" starring George C. Scott included a holiday party scene at the home of Ebenezer Scrooge's nephew. The game portrayed involved guests having to fill in common word associations, e.g., "poor as a... churchmouse." Alphabet and counting games generally dispensed with forfeits; players unable to supply an answer dropped out, and whoever lasted the longest won.

One of the oldest word games is "Grandmother's Trunk," where one guest began: "My Grandmother keeps (a word beginning with 'a') in her trunk." The next player continued: "My Grandmother keeps (the 'a' word) and (another with 'b') in her trunk," and so on, the list growing as the sentence continued around, making it a memory as well as alphabet game. There were also many round games substituting a sound or phrase for some recurring number or letter. Players had to anticipate the approach of the designated letter or (harder) multiples of the number -- and, the faster the game was played, the easier it was to fumble... and forfeit.

Credit to: Era of Elegance

A little bit about Victorian Era - My fav era :)


The Victorian era corresponds with the reign of Queen Victoria in England from 1837 to 1901. The period is beloved for its attention to high morals, modesty and proper decorum, as inspired by the Queen and her husband, Prince Albert. The Victorian era was also an optimistic time in which scientific and industrial invention thrived. Developments in printing produced a proliferation of Victorian scrap art, cards, and magazines. The importance placed on civic conscience and social responsibility engendered notable developments toward gender and racial equality, such as the legal abolishment of slavery in America. In addition, humanitarian and religious organizations such as the Salvation Army reflected the Victorian concern for the poor and needy of the period.

Elsewhere around the globe, the Regency era saw the independence of several South American countries including Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela and Chile. Spain experienced a revolution, resulting in the reinstatement of the Constitution of 1812. In 1829, the Peace of Adrianople ended the Russo-Turk War and Turkey acknowledged Greek independence.

In America, the Victorian era is captured in the gun-slinging, trail-blazing culture of the "Wild West", especially during the gold rush of the late 1840s. The period was also marked by tragedies such as the forced relocation of the Native American peoples along the Trail of Tears in 1838 and the war with Mexico over the Western frontier during the 1840s. Perhaps the most devastating event of the era was the American Civil War that nearly ravaged an entire nation in the 1860s. Prompted by the abolitionist efforts of Frederick Douglass (pictured at left), Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman, and John Brown, the Northern Union and South Confederacy launched battle at Fort Sumter in 1861. For nearly four years, the North and South engaged in a war that claimed the lives of over half a million Americans. The war finally ended in 1865, with the surrender of the Confederacy and the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery.

At home in the United States, race relations of a different kind led to internal conflict in the West. The Chinese were the first Asians to arrive in large numbers to the United States in the nineteenth century. By 1849, tens of thousands had left China from Hong Kong to migrate to countries throughout the world, including the sugar plantations of Hawaii and to the Pacific Northwest for the Gold Rush. Others came to America to labor on the railroads, farms, lumber mills, hop fields, coal mines, and salmon canneries. Thousands of Chinese "coolies", as they were called, were recruited especially to help build the Northern Pacific Railroad which spanned the United States. However, the white settlers in the West soon began to despise and resent the Asian newcomers. In the South, the Delta Chinese arrived in the years immediately after the Civil War to work on the cotton plantations and then opened groceries. Being neither black nor white in the Jim Crow South, the Chinese navigated a confusing, sometimes inconsistent set of racism, exclusion, segregated schools, laws and social mores. The Chinese were denied equal education and minimal wages, were banned from testifying in court, were forced to live in ethnic enclaves away from the rest of society, and were victims of riots and anti-Asian violence, including the Chinese Massacre of Los Angeles in 1871. Hatred against the Chinese reached such a boiling point that in 1882, Congress passed The Chinese Exclusion Act, which prohibited all immigration of admission of unskilled Chinese laborers for ten years, alongside a ban against "lunatics, idiots, convicts, persons likely to become public charges." The Act was renewed in 1892 and the ban made "permanent" in 1902.

Antebellum reform birthed the Women's Suffrage Movement. Women such as Sarah and Angelina Grimke, Abby Kelly, Lucretia Mott, Lucy Stone and Sojourner Truth began campaigning for women to participate equally with men in the great reform movements of the day, including anti-slavery and temperance. The early feminists demanded a wide range of change in the social, moral, legal, educational, and economic status of women. The right to vote became the central focus after the Seneca Falls Convention, through the efforts of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. After seven decades of struggle over the issue, the right to vote was finally granted to women by constitutional amendment in 1920.

Across the ocean, China experienced the Opium War, the dramatic rise of nationalism, and the Boxer Rebellion. Ireland suffered a devastating five-year famine, which claimed over one million souls. European nations also engaged in the Crimean War, the Franco-Prussian War, and numerous revolutions at home. Relentless domination by British, French, and German colonists in Africa, known as the Scramble for Africa, culminated in such events as the Boer Wars, Jameson Raid, and the Berlin Conference.


Painting, Sculpture and the Graphic Arts

Art movements of the Victorian era include Classicism, Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism. Classicism and Neoclassicism, were based on the artistic principles of Greek and Roman antiquity. Classicism was viewed as the opposite of Romanticism, a style popularized in the late 18th century through mid-19th century, which focused on spontaneous expression of emotion over reason. Paintings of the Romantic school often depicted dramatic events in brilliant color, as epitomized in Eugene Delacroix's renowned Liberty Leading the People. Impressionism, a school of painting that developed in the late 19th century, was characterized by transitory visual expressions that focused on the changing effects of light and color. Impressionist painters include Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pisarro. Reacting to the limitations of Impressionism, painters such as Paul Cezanne, Vincent Van Gogh, and Paul Gauguin developed a style which was later categorized as Post-Impressionism.

In the midst of these artistic movements, painters Dante Rossetti and William Holman Hunt formed the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. The avant-garde artists banded together with the common vision of recapturing the style of painting that preceded Raphael, famed artist of the Italian Renaissance. The brotherhood rejected the conventions of industrialized England, especially the creative principles of art instruction at the Royal Academy. Rather, the artists focused on painting directly from nature, thereby producing colorful, detailed, and almost photographic representations. The painters sought to transform Realism with typological symbolism, by drawing on the poetry and literature of William Shakespeare and their own contemporaries. John William Waterhouse was among the most prominent pre-Raphaelite artists.


Literature and Poetry

The Victorian era ushered in great literary and poetic works from writers such as George Eliot, Joseph Conrad, William Butler Yeats, Emily and Charlotte Bronte, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Lewis Carroll, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, Christina Rossetti, Alfred Lord Tennyson and Henry James in England. At the same time, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, and Mark Twain published their masterpieces in the Americas. Aestheticism, a movement emphasizing artistic values over social or moral themes and popularized by Oscar Wilde and Charles Baudelaire, became a notable force in literature of the time. Baudelaire's work also exemplified the Decadence Movement in France, which focused on the autonomy of art, the rejection of middle-class values, and unconventional and morbid experiences.



The "music hall" in Victorian England had its origins in entertainment provided in saloons of public houses in the 1830s. These venues replaced earlier semi-rural amusements provided at traditional fairs and suburban pleasure gardens such as Vauxhall Gardens and the Cremorne Gardens. These latter became squeezed out by urban development and lost their former popularity. The saloon was a room where for an admission fee or a higher price at the bar, singing, dancing, drama or comedy was performed. By the middle years of the 19th century, the first purpose-built music halls were being built in London. The halls created a demand for new and catchy popular songs that could no longer be met from the traditional folk song repertoire. Professional songwriters were enlisted to fill the gap.

The musical forms most associated with music hall evolved from traditional folk song, becoming by the 1850s a distinct musical style. Subject matter became more contemporary and humorous, and accompaniment was provided by larger house-orchestras as increasing affluence gave the lower classes more access to commercial entertainment and to a wider range of musical instruments, including the piano. The consequent change in musical taste from traditional to more professional forms of entertainment arose in response to the rapid industrialisation and urbanisation of previously rural populations during the industrial revolution. The newly created urban communities, cut off from their cultural roots, required new and readily accessible forms of entertainment.

The emergence of a distinct music hall style can be credited to a fusion of musical influences. Music hall songs needed to gain and hold the attention of an often jaded and unruly urban audience. In America from the 1840s, Stephen Foster had reinvigorated folk song with the admixture of Negro spiritual to produce a new and vibrant form of popular song. Songs like "Golden Slippers" and "The Old Folks at Home" spread round the globe, taking with them the idiom and appurtenances of the minstrel song. Other influences on the rapidly-developing music hall idiom were Irish and European music, particularly the jig, polka, and waltz. By the 1870s the songs had cut themselves free from their folk music roots, and particular songs also started to become associated with particular singers, often with exclusive contracts with the songwriter, just as many pop songs are today

Credit to: Era of Elegance

My Reading Lists (Senarai Bacaan Ms Kay)

  • Twilight Eclipse
  • The Quick & Easy Way To Effective Speaking by Dale Carnegie