Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Past President gets in touch...

I recently heard from Barbara Levy, a former SAGA National Board member and Past President (1987-88) who wrote as she had read my article ‘A Special Day Trip’ in the latest issue of SAGANews (Volume 35 #2).

Barbara says:

“I recently brought my copy of SAGANews to my Jersey shore home in anticipation of a mid-July visit from some long time SAGA friends.  As I started to flip through the magazine, it fell open to your above mentioned article and I delighted at the picture of Nellie, Sarah and Mimi.  I was excited!  I was lucky enough to visit the Lacis museum in May, specifically so I could see the exhibit.  My daughter lives about an hour from Berkeley, so I knew this was a no brainer for me.  I called the museum on Thursday, the day before my planned visit, to check on the hours of the exhibit.  I was told it was open from noon to four.  So with friend and sister-in-law in tow, we drove to Berkeley.”

Unfortunately Barbara had been given misinformation and the exhibit was not open, but after some name dropping (she knows Nellie, Sarah and Mimi) shop owner Jules was called and returned to open the exhibit and give the tour.

Nellie Durrand, Sarah Douglas, Jules Kliot and Mimi Ahern

Barbara continues:

“Every other customer in the shop came upstairs and Jules was in his glory.  Of course, I could have told way more about the exhibit, but after the fracas, I decided to be polite and excited.  I loved it!!  It was so much nostalgia for me and I was awe struck by the smocked art.  I was just wishing that I could have been there when the three ladies were present.  Jules reported that they were so excited to see each other.

At any rate, I took many photos.  I plan to share them with my SAGA friends when I see them in July.  The ladies coming to frolic in the Atlantic Ocean are Bonnie Patton from outside Milwaukee, another national past president, Cary Jenkins from Birmingham, Alabama, a national treasurer and region representative and Regina Stewart from Long Island, New York, also a past president.  SAGA has such a way of keeping friendships going.  We may not speak for months at a time, may not see each other for a couple of years and the conversation just picks up where we left off.  I know the exhibit will be an animated source of conversation.

We have not attended convention in a while, (and some of us really no longer smock) but our continued bonds have SAGA written all over them.”
Thank you for this piece, Barbara and how true that the common bond of smocking makes wonderful, long lasting friendships.
I hope that many more of you have had the chance or are planning a visit to the Lacis Museum and double check the opening times before you go!!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

SAGA Sewcation Raffle Baskets!

Okay, so the SAGA Sewcation in Orlando, Florida is still three months away, but that time will pass very quickly especially as it is now summer and many of you are now spending time with the children who are off from school, but I thought I would mention one of the wonderful things that happens at convention each year- the raffle!

The raffle takes place at the banquet and is something that every attendee looks forward to. Every day during the convention new baskets have arrived, been set out and admired and tickets placed into the boxes with the hope that at least one winning ticket will have your name on it (Note: remember to bring name labels with you to save time not having to write on each and every ticket).

Carefully choosing that special one!
So where do all these baskets come from? Baskets are donated by chapters; individuals; businesses and groups of friends. They come in all shapes and sizes from gift certificates (great to win especially if you are flying home) to whole doll wardrobes which include the wardrobe! There are sewing supplies; scissors (who can’t use more scissors); fabric (yes, your stash does need more fabric); kits and often a basket with items from Australia and another with items from the UK (no not from me- but that’s the one I want to win!).

Many of the baskets arrive carried by someone attending the convention, but many are also shipped as the chapter or donor is not attending.  Donating a basket is a way to give a little back to SAGA as the proceeds from the ticket sales go to the education fund that provides the SAGA Grants for chapter workshops.  

Baskets and Ticket Boxes
Does your chapter have a theme for its raffle basket? Mine does. We try to come up with something each year that is a little different. Of course, we could make it easy on ourselves and use the theme of the convention as our inspiration, but then several other chapters will most likely have done that. Not that that is a bad thing as every basket, even with the same theme is different, but my chapter like to think a little outside of the event.  Our basket this year is going to be a great one and the theme is… well, it’s to do with sewing, that’s all I am going to tell you!

A Lucky Winner!
So I hope your chapter, or your business or you are thinking of donating a basket this year and I hope that I get to win it as I know it contains something I just must have!

Now here is the important information:

Baskets can be shipped to:
Christine Klingsten

Her contact information will be in the next issue of SAGANews and also posted on the SAGA website (
Baskets should be shipped to arrive no later than Friday, September 12, 2014.
Raffle tickets will be on sale in Hospitality- $1 each or six for $5.

Bring name labels to use to save time writing on all of your tickets (or I can give you some of mine!).

You do not need to be present to win, but it is fun to hear your name called- ask Joan Messinger*!

*Joan is a longtime SAGA member and she always seems to win a basket even if she isn’t actually attending convention and has asked someone to purchase tickets on her behalf!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Rock and Roll !!!!!

A few weeks ago I happened to be in Cleveland, Ohio for a couple of days (spent at a convention for another organization I belong to). Now Cleveland has never been a place I thought I would visit, but after a trolley bus tour I was thinking it had some interesting history and places. Of course, the main place of interest is the Roll and Roll Hall of Fame, which was a short walk from my hotel. Saturday afternoon found the meetings over and with time before I needed to clean up and dress for the banquet, I strolled over, with a couple of friends, to visit the museum.

I am not going to go into the details of how great the museum actually is (and it is great) but the reason for my post is to show a couple if interesting items I saw on my very quick tour. Of course, we all know that performers costumes are all over-the-top, as you need to make a statement when up on the stage (and some continue that of stage), but have you ever had the chance to look at some of these costumes up close and personal? I was fascinated by the fact that I could see some heirloom sewing techniques, hand embroidery and even smocking on some of the garments!

This dress was worn by Diana Ross in 1971 and designed by Elizabeth Courtney and features smocking with diamante added, at the sleeve cuff and neckline. What an interesting way to have a very full sleeve, but control the fabric at the cuff.

This dress was worn by British singer Petula Clark
and has a trapuntro design on the front, with the outlines beaded. It looks like the fabric was painted first, then padded and beaded. It was made by a company called HARU.

The last items is a jacket (and very remiss of me I did not note who wore it, but it featured several heirloom techniques- puffing sleeve detail); lace (dyed on left top front); applique and even patchwork!

So, you just never know when or where you might find smocking and heirloom sewing techniques-sometimes it is where you least expect it and it may just make you think again about how you might take these techniques and go a little outside of that box.........