Hanging It In The Sun | Valentina Cirasola | Author & Designer

Growing up in Italy in my Italian family, I had to learn to do things in a certain way. We were respectful of the environment due to lack of space and lack of technology, hence we reused and recycled many items, other than using our hands to do the work of appliances and machines we didn’t have. We also learned to use our hands to make things, clothes, food, and items for the house. Depleting the environment was not a common notion back then and I am not talking about the Dark Ages either, it was just the way of life.

The building I lived as a child was a circular shape, with an atrium open to the sky as the main entrance to the building, closed with a heavy iron door that needed 2 people to close it and a terrace on the top of the building. People leaving there used the atrium to socialize, eat together especially on Sundays, gossip, playing cards, help each other in case of necessity, kids played safely indoor and breathed fresh air. It felt almost like the film “Rear Window” with James Stewart and Grace Kelly. The terrace was the place for hanging laundry, for drying food or making preserved food and sauces to keep for the winter.

 

Laundry

Laundry

Laundry time was really fun for the kids, a lot less for women doing the laundry. Did you know that in the ’60s when in America women already used the washing machine in the comfort of their laundry room, in Italy part of the country was still washing clothes with the ashes from burned wood? The process of ashes filtration happened through a simple white cloth with the aid of boiling water to extract the sodium carbonates present in the ash. This operation was practiced up to the ’60s to wash and whiten the laundry, also to peel legumes. It was hard work for the women who did it at least once a week.

Kids didn’t have the chore of the laundry, we watched the juicy romance that was taking place between the sheets hanging in the sun. In Italy love is everywhere, it’s just the air of the country that makes anyone fall in love. We played kids’ game on the terrace, but when the laundry was up drying, we mostly enjoyed watching grown-up lovers and teenagers at their first love experience making out between the sheets hanging in the sun. They used them as a shield to hide, smooch, kiss and talk romance. Sometimes we received a few cents to keep an eye at the door of the terrace and prevent anyone unwanted from coming in. The memory of the terrace is still grant. Some of us girls got the first kiss between the sheets on the terrace.

Laundry

Laundry

Today, I have a washing machine, I always had one, and no, I have not washed my laundry with ashes, but I never had a dryer in my entire life. I like my laundry to smell fresh as nature without the chemical of softener. Drying laundry in the air is bucolic and saves electricity. I keep it away from direct sunlight to avoid discoloration and not to get it as dry as Norwegian stockfish. However, I am a big believer in recycling or reusing and I teach others to do the same. One cannot possibly understand how much I recycle. Yes, I do have time to do manual things, it’s all about priority and how one organizes life.

Picture the plastic bags we get free at a grocery shop to put our vegetables in. I wash and reuse them.
I use soap and loofah for bath and shower, no bubble bath in plastic bottles.
To clean bath and kitchen fixtures, I use a lot of lemons from my tree, vinegar and newspaper to clean windows.
In my studio, I reuse the other side of the paper already written on one side.
I use a limited amount of home cleaning agents, one for the floor, one for the dishes and one for the clothes.
Never buy food in cardboard boxes or canned, nor drinks in plastic bottles.
I don’t eat or drink in plastic vessels. I use ceramic and glass, when they break, I use them as decorative items in the garden.
This list is only the beginning of things I don’t do. It is part of my cultural heritage and beliefs I grew up with that followed me everywhere I went in the world.
Being environmentally clean is my goal in my life and in my designs.

If you want to become an environmentally conscious person start in your home, there are a lot of opportunities to start a clean life. I can help as well if you need it. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Valentina Cirasola is a storyteller by nature. Stories are very important to her design career to convey ideas because making someone’s home or personal images is not only about building around shapes, lines, forms, and colors. It is about the story one can create around their spaces and how they want to appear to others. She is the author of four books, all available on

Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w
The latest book just published is The Road To Top Of The World – https://tinyurl.com/y7tuyfh8

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Second Time Around | Valentina Cirasola | Designer

In this climate of saving the environment and recycling, every opportunity is a good opportunity to give something a second chance that would otherwise end up in land fill.
We buy an awful amount of clothes that we wear perhaps for one season, or only one time and discard them as soon as we get tired. The fashion industry is a big influencer, if it says they are no longer acceptable, we promptly get rid of them.

Have you ever thought that all those items we literally throw away, sometimes even with a price tag on, are all workable into new items? With a little creativity, it is possible to enlarge a garment with a new and different fabric or color; it is possible to pair a vintage fabric with a new one; it is possible to upgrade the look of a skirt by using the fabric of another skirt that will add interesting details and profiles. These are a few of the things we can do give a garment a second chance and to make it into something original.

My mom and her sisters, all teenagers during World War II, remade clothes due to shortage of fabrics. My grandmothers, who lived two great wars, did it before my mom. They taught me not to throw away anything and to use my imagination when time comes to give something a second chance. Remaking clothes into something new is amusing and rewarding.
(Click on each photo to view it larger).

I made this original black jacket (above) using a folk Romanian fabrics purchased in one of my travels. If I had made the jacket with only a black fabric, it would have looked like a common black jacket. Using a colorful folk print, front and back and only on one side of the jacket, not only I created an unusual look, but the colors brought life the black side. Closure was off-center with clay buttons I created and painted myself. Lining it with golden-yellow was a great idea, it added an interesting view when the jacket was open.
I sold it big time and I made a few people unhappy along the way. Due to the limited fabric, I could not produce more than one piece.

I want to remake the sun jacket  above with animal print fabric at the bottom edge.
How do you know when two fabrics look perfect together, you might ask?
Your eyes are the first judge of that. If it looks good in your eyes, it means it is right.
Colors are common denominators. Find one color in the existent garment to match with the new fabric.
Prints go well with solids and geometry makes playful matches.

In the case of my sun jacket, the animal print has black in it and the uneven shapes of the animal design pairs well with the uneven shapes of the sun designs. What I like the most about this match is the lighter weight of the fabric I am using for the edge and the undulating movement it will create when I walk.


The velvet military style jacket (above) has been revived with a new velvet front panel, Renaissance style. Now, it lends itself to a new look, perhaps a Bohemian long skirt with boot, or a pair of pants in one of the bright colors in the panel.

I know that remaking clothes using old and new is a novel idea for a throw away society and some people are catching on,  but if we want to be conscious of saving the environment, let’s start in our closet saving our clothes. Ciao,
Valentina
https://valentinadesigns.com/services#fashion-services

 

Copyright © 2018 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Valentina Cirasola is a trained Fashion and Interior Designer, born in Italy in a family of artists. Style surrounded her since the beginning of her life. Her many years of experience led her to offer consultations in both specializations and now she can remodel homes as well as personal images. She is passionate about colors and encourages her clients to express their individual style in their homes and with the clothes they wear.
To better help people all over the world she offers consultations online. She is the author of three books. Get your copy of Valentina’s book on colors: ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors on
Barnes&Nobles: https://goo.gl/Xme8Hn
Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB

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