February 15, 2008


Filed under: daily life — Cristina de Prada @ 11:30 am

This post is both in Spanish and English… scroll down for the English version (if you so wish)!

My mom and I looking wonderful together in our hats!

El miércoles 13 de febrero fue el cumpleaños de mi madre y como todavía no he podido verla quiero aprovechar el blog para felicitarla (¡¡FELICIDADES!!) y decirle que la quiero mucho. Tenemos la gran suerte de que a las dos nos gustan las mismas cosas y nos encanta salir juntas. 

Estoy muy orgullosa de mi madre entre otras cosas porque ha escrito un libro precioso en el que habla de una época difícil pero llena de ilusiones. Habla de la época en que conoció a mi padre, empezando en el día en que lo conoció y terminando en el día en que se casaron (de 1956 a 1959). Yo la ayudé (transcribiendo al ordenador) durante el proceso de escribir el libro y no deja de maravillarme el gran talento que tiene para escribir. El libro también habla del mundo del cine (en el que estaba involucrado mi padre) y está lleno de fotografías maravillosas y trozos de cartas de la época.

Hoy en día, en que el mundo sufre una plaga de separaciones y divorcios, resulta reconfortante leer acerca de un amor verdadero y sin fronteras. Un amor que todavía perdura. Aquí podeis ver la portada del libro (ISBN 9788481962505) y si le dais a este link podreis ver fotos del interior del libro:

Cover of my mom's book

Un cancer traicionero se llevó a mi padre en 1991. Si mi padre todavía viviera el libro no existiría porque no habría habido necesidad de escribirlo, porque todavía se tendrían el uno al otro y mi madre no habría necesitado revisitar el pasado y revivirlo a través de los cientos de cartas que intercambiaron durante aquella época. Pero no pudo ser así, y yo quiero dar las gracias a mi madre por escribir este libro, por hacerme conocer a Loli y a Joaquín, porque yo, hasta ahora, solo conocía a mi madre y a mi padre en ese papel, el de padres, pero no en el de inidividuos, gente joven empezando, llena de ilusiones.

My mon during the signing of her book - Sant Jordi 2007

Lo que se escribe, lo que se cuenta, perdura. Tenemos una obligación, todos, a contar lo vivido, a compartir con los demás aquellas experiencias extraordinarias (o ordinarias) que hemos vivido. Porque, si no lo hacemos, esas memorias morirán con nosotros el día que nos vayamos de este mundo. Todo lo que hemos visto, la gente que hemos conocido (que a lo mejor ya solo viven en nuestra memoria), todo eso se evaporará, dejará de existir, no dejará rastro. Tenemos una obligación de compartirlo con los demás, o así lo veo yo.

Pero me estoy yendo por las ramas cuando todo lo que quería decir era FELICIDADES. TE QUIERO MAMÁ.

 English text follows…

On Wednesday 13th was my Mom’s birthday and since I haven’t had the chance yet to see her and tell her in person I want to take advantage of this blog to congratulate her (CONGRATULATIONS!!) and to tell her that I love her very much. We have the great fortune of enjoying the same things and we love to go out together.

I’m very proud of my mother, among other things because she has written a wonderful book in which she talks about a period of her life that was difficult yet filled with dreams and hopes. The book talks about the period in which she met my dad, beginning with the day they met and ending with the day they married (from 1956 to 1959). I helped her a lot during the process of writing the book (typing her writings on the computer) and it doesn’t cease to amaze me the great talent she has for writing. The book also talks about the world of cinema (in which my father was involved) and is filled with wonderful pictures and excerpts from period letters. You can see pictures of the book if you click on this link.

In this day and age in which we suffer a plague of separations and divorces it is comforting to read about true love that knows no barriers. A love that still lasts.

A treacherous cancer took away my father in 1991. If my dad were still alive this book would not exist because there would have been no need to write it, because they would still have one another and my mother would have had no need to revisit the past and relieve it through the hundreds of letters that they exchanged during that period. It could not be that way and I want to thank my mother for writing this book and for letting me meet Loli and Joaquín, because I, until then, only knew them as my mother and father, in their parenting role, but not as individuals, young people starting, full of hopes.

What gets written, what gets told, lives on. We have an obligation, all of us, to tell about what we’ve lived, to share with others those extraordinary (or not) experiences that we have lived. Because, it we don’t, they will die with us the day that we leave this earth. All we have seen, the people we have known (and that perhaps now only lives in our memory), all that will vanish, cease to exists leaving no trace. We have an obligation to share it with the world, or so I believe.

But I’m digressing when all I wanted to say is HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I LOVE YOU MOM.

January 8, 2008

I made an apron with my new sewing machine!

Filed under: Beautiful things,daily life,Other things I love — Cristina de Prada @ 12:11 am

Helena showing off her new apronI’ve been learning how to use my sewing machine (I’m really happy with it!).

For those who know how to sew it must seem ridiculous that I’m so excited about making a simple apron, but I’m awfully proud. To avoid complications I have made a simple thing without using a pattern, just a rectangle of brown corduroy, pink rick-rack edge and then pockets and tie made out of a thick cotton/linen fabric that I had stashed away.

Yesterday was “three wise men” day. In Spain that is the day when children (and adults) get their Christmas gifts. The three wise men come from the orient in ther camels loaded with gifts. My apron was a gift for Helena, my brother Jose Manuel’s girlfriend, and she liked it a lot and inmediately tried it on. My mom, said that she wanted one herself, so I’m working on that now (the Homburg, almost finished, is not forgotten!).

Detail of the apron

November 29, 2007

Thinking of getting myself a sewing machine

Filed under: daily life,Millinery suppliers — Cristina de Prada @ 10:53 am

I know it might be hard to believe, but I do not have a sewing machine. What I know about sewing by hand I’ve taught myself, and my mom taught me to sew on her mom’s (my grandmother’s) pedal Singer. I love that machine and if one day it makes it’s way to me I will cherish it, but the fact will remain that it can only do a straight stitch.

So, I was thinking on getting myself a brand new sewing machine.

I know what I do not want:

1. I don’t want a machine with a plastic body. No, no, no… I hate those (and that immediately rules many brands)

2. I do not want a fancy electronic embroidery machine. I want it simple, basic.

3. I do not want a second hand one and I don’t want a bargain that will break on day two.

These self imposed restrictions have led me to the following machine (that unfortunately does not sell in Spain), a Janome 419s. It’s a Japanese brand, and this particular model has an all metal body and can do 18 stitches and a one step button hole. It also has a free arm and the feed can be dropped.

Picture of Janome 419s

It looks like a strong machine that will be able to sew through felt and whatnot. This french website has lots of pictures of the little details.

The strange thing is that, if I buy this machine in Holland (I’m going there soon for a few days) it will cost me 399 Euros. If I buy it in the UK it will cost me 232 Euros (including shipping to Spain) and they even drop in a set of scissors worth 65 Euros. It’s a no brainer really, but I’m amazed there can be such a huge difference in price. The official Janome price is simply half in the UK…

Well, this is it. I’ve kind of made up my mind, but I will try to test one while I’m in Amsterdam, to get a feel for the machine.

 So… if any one has any objection against this machine or brand, please speak now (soon) or forever hold your peace… 🙂

October 19, 2007

Pictures of the finished purple hat

Filed under: daily life,Millinery projects,Purple hat from vintage block — Cristina de Prada @ 5:34 pm

Here are the promised pictures!

First of all, here’s a picture taken yesterday night at Loewe‘s fashion show where we tagged along with my mother. Loewe is a Spanish fashion brand who makes marvelous handbags, but also clothes.

Maria Jose, myself and Laure-Amelie

Here are pictures of the hat taken at home…

click to enlarge!

click to enlarge

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Hope you like it!

October 17, 2007

Costume jewelry collection on the Antiques Roadshow uk

Filed under: Costume Jewelry,daily life,Other things I love — Cristina de Prada @ 12:35 pm

Expert Geoffrey Munn pointing at one of the brooches

Before I forget. If you are curious about my costume jewelry brooch collection you can get a glimpse at it next Sunday 21 October on BBC1. And shame on me… I’m not wearing a hat!

October 16, 2007

Night out at the Barcelona Opera House (Liceu)

Filed under: daily life — Cristina de Prada @ 10:43 pm

Montse Dalmau in the middle, Maria Jose on the right, me on the leftYesterday night there was a gala to celebrate the 160 anniversary of Barcelona’s opera house, known as Liceu.

I happened upon two tickets and went along with Maria Jose (aka my cousin). She arrived thirty seconds before me and called immediately to say that we were severely under dressed. Well, we were dressed elegantly but the level there was something else (and we didn’t know!). All the high class ladies of Barcelona with their long gowns and their big rocks where there, many with what my cousin calls a “wind tunnel effect” on their faces, too many liftings leaving them unrecognizable.

Turned out that Infanta Cristina (daughter of the King of Spain) was attending too! Funny enough the press only talks about the fact that she “recicled” her gown (she had worn the same gown recently to another event), and personally I think it’s great that she does that!

I asked Nina to lend me her Sea Anemone hat that I truly adore. Upon returning home I realized that I had perched it on the wrong side of the head, as it is customary to lean hats to the right side of ones head. I’m not really sure why it has to be on the right side, but perhaps it’s because it would allow you to dance cheek-to-cheek with your partner, and that seems to be good enough reason.

You can see my cousin and esteemed friend Montse (that we met by pure chance”) on the picture taken right after the show. The show was really nice, with a sample of what is usually played at the Liceu: choral music, opera and ballet. I particularly liked the ballet because it was my first experience watching Angel Corella who is the first dancer of the American Ballet (he is originally from Madrid, Spain’s capital). Along with three ballerinas they danced some numbers of the ballet “Who Care’s”, choreographed by Ballanchine to Gershwins music. Angel Corella danced spectacularly.
Finally I just want to give my thanks to Nina, the hat was much praised!

We ended up the night with a Chai Latte and headed home.

Today I’ve made a new hat, taken pictures and hope to post it all by tomorrow morning!

September 20, 2007

Health and safety hazard?… but boy the hat is glamourous!

Filed under: daily life,Millinery trivia and events — Cristina de Prada @ 4:20 pm

Picture taken from the film Easter ParadeFirst things first, I want to say THANK YOU for your support. This last week my mother has been in the hospital and she will probably go home tomorrow as she is feeling better. As you can imagine she has been my priority and I’ve been spending my days there, and also some nights.

To the left is a TV snapshot from the TV film “Easter Parade” (the musical number of the magazine covers).

While I think the woman looks gorgeous (although my mom thinks it doesn’t look like a hat at all…) I think the hat should be sold with a disclaimer.

Disclaimer: The milliner accepts no liability whatsoever for any personal or material damage that might arise from the use of this hat, including but not limited to traffic accidents, getting run over by a truck, getting married to the wrong guy, spilling coffee over the person standing to the right, not to say neck pain from having to turn to the right everytime someone talks to you from that side.

Let’s keep on smiling!

August 21, 2007

Beautiful french beauty winking at me from the corner

Filed under: daily life — Cristina de Prada @ 11:09 pm

French mannequin - click to enlarge During our stay in Normandy, everytime we passed a big “brocante” (big warehouse selling old stuff) I felt the urge to stop and take a look. Wouldn’t it have been great to find a ton of hat blocks, or hat stands, or a vintage mannequin head? Hey, dreaming is for free! But in the end we only had the opportunity to stop at one. It was a huge warehouse full of big furniture, some old some not so old, and there, in the last room, in a corner, was this beauty. The cell phone picture does not do her justice, but it’s better than nothing. A missing hand and arm (which were lying at her feet) do not detract from her sofisticated beauty and chic hairdo.

Unfortunately she did not fit in our suitcase or in our home… but I hope someone will fall in love with her, take her away from all the junk, and treat her just right.

She deserves to be loved…

August 2, 2007

Kate’s visit to Barcelona, my straw hat and more things…

Filed under: Coarse straw braid preshaped hat,daily life,Millinery projects — Cristina de Prada @ 9:59 pm

Finished look of the straw hatYou will have noticed that I have not posted for a few days. It has been a few busy and fun days because Kate has been in Barcelona and I’ve been showing her around. She’s been the one with the camera so I suggest you try her blog because soon she will be posting about her time here, and I think she’s had a good time (and so have we!).

For those curious on how it went with the straw hat, you can see the picture on the left. I still have to sew the grosgrain headband but I have been wearing it nevertheless. I think that sewing the band will be difficult because of the coarseness of the straw, but I will let you know how it goes.

Instead of buying expensive ribbon for the trimming at Mokuba (I didn’t find anything nice), I found this sating scarf at the Promod sales. Promod is a clothes store, but they also sell accessories. It cost only 3 euros, and I gives a happy look to the hat. When I’m wearing it with my big sunglasses I feel just like screen star on a summer holiday at Capri (I am not deluding my self, I said I “feel like”, I’m miles away from looking like one, although the hat looks the part!).

Back to Kate’s visit, we met my friend Nina and visited her workshop. Kate took a lot of pictures there, so be sure to check it out!

Ah, another thing. Today my CD “Hats at Royal Ascot 2007 as seen by The HAT magazine” has arrived. I haven’t had a chance to look at it but it looks promising. For those not already subscribed to The HAT magazine I must tell you to subscribe NOW. It’s just great in every possible way, a must have, if you love hats it’s the magazine for you (it comes out 4 times a year). I have every single issue that exists and I treasure them. Back issues sell out quickly so be quick to get those too. I will do a proper review on the magazine soon!A hat makes you feel good about yourself!

Finally, the hat ebooks at how2hats have a 50% sale on all their ebooks during the month of August. I for one will be taking advantage of that and will let you know about the ones I buy!

July 29, 2007

1900’s Poster Exhibition at the MNAC

Filed under: daily life — Cristina de Prada @ 10:56 pm

We (Peter, my brother and I) have been today to visit an Exhibiton at the National Art Museum of Catalunya. It was a spectacular collection of the first modern posters. Two Catalan collectors from the beginning of the XX century amassed a great amount of beautiful Art Nouveau posters (most of them publicity posters). It’s a perishable art, since posters once the event or the season has passed they are simply discarded and not considered as works of art at the moment they were issued.

The images are stunning, there was even a small poster for a German hat factory! The Alphonse Mucha posters are the ones best known. Those wavy hair sensual women are hard to forget, but local artists like Ramon Casas also produced some beautiful work. We were stunned by the Casas poster for a Siphilis clinic, it’s the image of a skinny sick woman (a prostitute we assume… there you go, women are always the ones to get the blame)… it’s beautiful and sad at the same time. You can see it on the website of the link above, if you scroll down on the right hand side.

The posters of a tea called RAJAH, with an oriental dressed lady sipping away her steamy tea left me with the urge to get a taste of it, but unfortunately it’s long gone and I will never get a sip. Same thing usually happens with perfumes, those old ones with very evocative names… what did they smell off? A few years ago I bought myself a bottle of the re-issued Shocking perfume of Schiaparelli, the nostalgy of glamorous times and the connection of Schiaparelli with hats was just too much to resist. It smells exotic, but it’s a bit to heady for my taste… I believe it requires one to be dressed accordingly, not a perfume to be worn with a t-shirt.

Well that’s all for now. If you come to Barcelona, be sure to go to this exhibition. It will be open until the 30th of September 2007.

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