July 27, 2007

People are strange … the Mokuba (bad) experience

Filed under: Coarse straw braid preshaped hat,daily life,Millinery suppliers — Cristina de Prada @ 11:37 pm


Mokuba Barcelona shop window


There you have it, the Mokuba Barcelona shop window. What you might be surprised to find out is that, not only I was not allowed to take pictures inside (apparently it didn’t matter if I spoke to the Pope himself, nobody was going to approve my taking pictures), but when I said that I would take pictures of the window from the outside, I was told NO, I could not take pictures from the street, and was told that I could be sued by the company because that is private property. The lady did not care that I wanted to say good things about Mokuba in my blog, probably didn’t know what a blog is, who knows!

So I ask… WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH PEOPLE?! I just wanted to write a nice article about Mokuba, tell you guys what a nice place it is and what beautiful ribbons they have, but instead here I am, letting you know how upset I am about their silly (and honestly counterproductive) attitude.

I was unfazed by all that silliness and decided to take a couple of pictures from the outside. Unfortunately nobody inside saw me, but I will make sure to send them a link to the blog. So if you don’t hear from me for a while it’s because the police have come for me.Mokuba purchase of grosgrain ribbon

Oh, and I did buy some grosgrain for the sweatband of my straw hat (that was before I asked if I could take pictures otherwise I would have bought nothing). It’s a nice golden color. As you can see they pack it really nice with a heart shaped lollypop. The logo of the shop is a rocking horse, not surprising since Mokuba means rocking horse in Japanese.

The price, 5.49 euros for 65 centimeters of grosgrain… very steep! But of course, if you buy a full spool then it becomes much more reasonable.

P.S. I just found a Spanish blogger that went to Mokuba early this month and was allowed by friendly employees to take pictures (inside and out) for her blog! See the posting here.

July 26, 2007

Tomorrow I will pay a visit to MOKUBA for some ribbons

Filed under: daily life,Millinery suppliers — Cristina de Prada @ 10:16 pm

Mokuba ribbon color 9, type 8000My straw hat is blocked and sitting on my table waiting to be finished off. The green veil I was talking about is quite damaged, so perhaps I will just put it around the crown, but not use it as a proper veil. But underneath I would like to put a nice headband, so that’s why I will be visiting Mokuba. Mokuba is a japanese ribbon maker, unfortunately as far as I know they have no website, but this japanese site has the colour cards scanned, check this beautiful grosgrain ribbon in solid colors. I know what you will say, it’s polyester!, I know, it’s polyester, but it’s ribbed so it curves beautifully to adapt to the inside of the hat and feels really nice, so I have no problems using it for the sweatband… although I admit, cotton must be better at absorbing sweat, but I just love the colors and I will stick to it. And we are very happy to have our very own Mokuba shop in Barcelona.

I hope to take some pictures (if they let me) of the shop so you can drule at home!

P.S. If you google it (Mokuba I mean) you will find a lot of rocking horses, because that’s precisely what Mokuba means in Japanese!

July 21, 2007

A summer veiled hat – or that’s the idea

Filed under: daily life — Cristina de Prada @ 10:47 pm

Plan of my wonderful cabinet - click to enlargeMy straw sewing machine is still in the closet because I need to clear my workroom/guestroom before moving it there. There are still a lot of boxes from when we remodelled our living room. It was a major disruption because we basically turned the living room around and put the sofa where the shelves and TV used to be, and a new cabinet where the sofa used to be. It’s much nicer now, and we owe it to flat screen TV technology, because we have a column in the middle of the room and this new arrangement would not have been possible with a regular TV.

Before we had the sofa split at either side of the column (two sofas I guess), but now we have the column cleverly (if I may say so) hidden inside of the cabinet. I’m very proud of the cabinet because I spent so many hours trying to figure it out, drawing it up, measuring, and we even did a real size mock up. To see it turned into reality (thanks to a very good carpenter, mind you), it just feels extremely good.

But back to the hats. The boxes in the workroom will take some time to get sorted, and in the meantime, well, I have to make something else otherwise I will have nothing to post!

I took a look at the summer material I have, and found a preshaped straw braid body (does look like a finished hat actually) that I bought at KOPKA (a German supplier of straw and felt hat bodies, that I highly recommend!), and that might just work nicely with a piece of vintage green veil. I will tell you more about it tomorrow!

July 18, 2007

Florine Stettheimer – Spring Sale at Bendel’s

Filed under: daily life,Millinery trivia and events — Cristina de Prada @ 8:17 pm

Spring Sale at Bendel's - partial view - click to enlarge

I have some new friends hanging on the wall. They’re on a poster from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a reproduction of Florine Stettheimer’s oil painting “Spring sale at Bendel’s”. I have never seen the original, but when I saw the reproduction I decided I had to buy it. There’s so much going on, so much movement, that the eye just flows from one character (friend) to the other, really fun and beautiful.

Funny to think that when Florine Stettheimer died in 1944 she asked that all her paintings be destroyed. Fortunately her sister (executor of the estate) refused to do it.


July 15, 2007

Arroz con leche

Filed under: Cooking,daily life,Other things I love — Cristina de Prada @ 9:22 pm

Arroz con leche

Arroz con leche is a traditional Spanish dessert, and it’s my mother’s favorite. It’s an easy dessert to make but very often it’s done badly in restaurants and at home. Done right it’s just heaven and it brings me back to my childhood.

These are the ingredients (you can halve the ingredients if you want to make less):

  • 3 liters of fresh whole milk
  • 230 grams of round rice (washed twice under the tap and drained)
  • 250 grams of caster (white) sugar
  • 2 sticks (aprox. 10 cm each) of cinnamon
  • Strips of lemon peel from one lemon (use a tomato peeler to make thin strips)
  • 50 grams of butter diced
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten and dissolved with 4 tablespoons of cold milk
  • powdered cinnamon for serving


July 12, 2007

New dinner service!!!!!!

Filed under: daily life — Cristina de Prada @ 9:23 pm


Picture of the new dinner service

Today our new dinner service arrived. This is going to be for everyday use (a bit over the top I agree, but life is too short to eat from a cheap service if it can be avoided), and so I’ve disposed of my 10 year old service (a cheapo one, half of the plates had broken anyway) and I’ve welcomed home the new one. A lot of washing up to do and arranging in the cupboard but it was well worth it.

Serving bowlI’ve wanted a new service for ages but it was impossible to find one on which Peter and I would agree. Although it’s true that this one (Wedgwood Nature) has been around for ages (actually since 2000), it was during our visit to London’s Wedgwood store that it caught Peter’s eye (it had caught mine a long time ago). 

Funny enough Peter remarked that the serving bowl actually looks like a hat upside down, and it does! We all think in “hat” terms these days!

The beautiful placemat is from Le Jacquard Français. I bought it at the factory store in the french town of Gérardmer (in the Vosges region) where we spent a few days of holiday last year.

July 10, 2007

Liberty fabric remnants from the summer sale

Filed under: daily life — Cristina de Prada @ 9:32 pm

Liberty fabric remnants

Here they are for you too see… I could not believe that on the 28th of July when I stepped into Liberty (London) it turned out to be the first day of the summer sale, just my lucky day. The first thing I thought about was looking for remnants and so I did. The prices were steep as you can see, but if you buy these by the meter the price is much much higher. The shop attendant said that in a couple of days it all would be gone and I believed him. I don’t regret buying it although I don’t know what I’ll use it for! As you can see three of the patterns are very Liberty. I had to buy the red berries one because I remembered the pattern from something my mother had. The one with the trees and birds was so cute I could not resist, and the one with the circles has such lovely bold colors that I decided to bring it home with me. You can imagine my relief when my suitcase (lost for 3 days) showed up at home with my precious Liberty fabric in it!

July 9, 2007

Hat in a shop window, London

Filed under: daily life,Other Millinery people — Cristina de Prada @ 11:16 pm

Hat at Jaegers shop window I was in London the week before last. It’s funny because I had not been in london for years (possibly a decade) and in the last three months I’ve been there twice!… not that I’m complaining.

I saw this hat in the window of Jaeger’s and took a picture with my cell phone. It’s made of horsehair braid all draped around the crown and it looks really cool. The idea was to go back and try it on, but after that I was not able to find the shop again… duh!

I also saw a beautiful Stephen Jones hat in the Liberty’s sale. It was a little top hat made out of black leather embossed with a liberty design. It had a little black veil… really cool! But still too expensive for my pocket.

But I did buy some pieces of Liberty fabric that were on sale (in pieces of 1, 2 or 3 meters, but mostly only 2 and 3 meters were left and I was there -by pure chance- on the first day of the sale!).

July 8, 2007

New look

Filed under: daily life — Cristina de Prada @ 3:31 pm

I hope you all like the new header of the blog.

The blog is a work in progress. I had been thinking about a change for a while and this is the first step. I didn’t want to use somebody elses artwork, so I gathered courage, took out the watercolors and this is the result. I`m happy because it’s something I’ve done myself.

I would love to learn to paint watercolor properly, it goes on my list of things to do/learn!

Thank you to my dear Peter for making the changes on the blog and for saying such nice things to me about the drawing!

June 22, 2007

They had to let me go… so I went, not sure yet in which direction

Filed under: daily life — Cristina de Prada @ 8:40 pm

He añadido una traducción al castellano porque algunas amigas de mi madre querían leerlo! (está debajo de la versión en inglés).

I’ve added a translation to Spanish, since some friends of my Mom wanted to be able to read it!

I went to work, it was the 29th of May. We were told there was a meeting at 13:30 so we went out and ate our lunch as fast as we could… only to be called in along with 4 other colleagues and told “I’m sorry but we have to let you go”. A funny expression that one, “letting me go”, nice of them to let me go and I hope I will go someplace nicer. Well, it wasn’t that bad a job and I had been there busting my chops for 6 years, but I guess it was time for a change (I had been thinking it was time for a change for a while), and that time is now, whether I like it or not.

So far I’m just trying to catch up with everyday things that were on the “to do ” list but I had not gotten around to doing them.

My mom and dad in 1956I’m also helping my mom with her new book project. I know. I didn’t tell you. But she wrote a wonderful book. It’s a beautiful book, full of memories, pictures and anecdotes. It’s a love story in a way, the love story, the romance, of my parents when they first met in 1956 and up to the day they got married. People don’t write about love any more, seems to be out of fashion, but what are we without love?

The dreadful thing is, after the book was published, the two surviving brothers of my dad (my dad died in 1991) decided to sue my mother about the book. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE??? I sincerely doubt they will win the lawsuit, as I said this is a book that is oozing love out of every page… but I suspect it’s not about winning it’s about hurting my mom. Lovely family, isn’t it? But hey, that’s another story altogether, I don’t know why I went into this.

Back to my newly found freedom, I must say there is a scary side to freedom. I can do what I want, the world is at my feet, but… what do I want? am I worth anything? what can I do? should I go back to a boooooooooring desk job? am I wasting my life away if I do that? (possibly). I need to give it some thought. So far I’ve decided to post pone job hunting until September, after all the summer is here. During these months I will make more hats, help my mom, get curtains for the living room, or who knows, perhaps I will collapse on the sofa unable to move a finger.

Will keep you posted.

Me dejaron ir… así que me fuí, no se bien en que dirección

Fuí a trabajar, era el 29 de Mayo. Nos dijeron que había reunión a la una y media así que salimos y comimos a toda velocidad… y eso para que me llamaran al despacho junto con otros cuatro compañeros y me dijeran “lo siento pero te tenemos que dejar ir”. Una expresión curiosa esa, “dejarme ir” (“let me go” en inglés), muy amable de su parte el dejarme ir, y espero ir a un lugar mejor. En fin, no era un mal trabajo y ya llevaba 6 años rompiendome los cuernos allí, pero supongo que ya tocaba un cambio (yo ya llevaba un tiempo pensando en un cambio), y el cambio toca ya, me guste o no.

De momento estoy intentando ponerme al día con las cosas que tenía en mi lista de “cosas por hacer” pero que por el trabajo no había podido hacer.

También estoy ayudando a mi madre con su nuevo proyecto de escribir un libro. No se si os lo he dicho. Ha escrito un maravilloso libro: “Joaquín y Loli. Un encuentro de cine”. Es un libro bonito, lleno de memorias, fotos y anécdotas. De alguna manera es una historia de amor, la historia de amor, romántica, de mis padres cuando se conocieron en 1956 hasta el día en que se casaron. La gente ya no escribe sobre el amor, parece que está pasado de moda, pero que sería de nosotros sin amor?

Lo terrible es que, después de que se publicara el libro, los dos hermanos de mi padre que todavía viven (mi padre murió en 1991) decidieron ponerle un pleito a mi madre por el tema del libro. QUE LE PASA A LA GENTE???? Sinceramente dudo que vayan a ganar el pleito, como os he dicho el libro destila amor en todas sus páginas… pero sospecho que no se trata de ganar sino de hacer daño a mi madre. Fantástica familia no os parece? Pero oye, esa es otra historia, y no se porque he empezado a contárosla.

Volviendo al tema de mi recien encontrada libertad, he de decir que la libertad tiene un lado que da miedo. Puedo hacer lo que quiera, el mundo está a mis pies, pero… que quiero? debería volver a un trabajo aburiiiiiiido de despacho? estaré desperdiciando mi vida si hago eso? (posiblemente). Tengo que pensarlo. De momento he decidido postponer la búsqueda de trabajo hasta Septiembre, despues de todo el verano está a la vuelta de la esquina.

Durante estos meses haré más sombreros, ayudaré a mi madre, pondré cortinas en el salón, o quien sabe? a lo mejor me dejaré caer en el sofá incapaz de mover un dedo.

Os mantendré informados.

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