Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Big 4 0

I want to do something for my birthday this year. This is a BIG one. I want to do something that makes me feel like I can change the trajectory of my life from flat-lining to an uptick. I have no connection to this age I'm about to just doesn't feel real to me.

The age doesn't compute to all the things I still have yet to do in my life that I thought would have at least been attempted by now. I'm in arrested development and if it was 30, 10 years younger, THEN it would feel right.

I wish I could ask my friends to go along with a deception and pretend that I'm turning 30 next week. But the reason I like them is that they do not live in fantasy worlds. Damn them! Damn their responsible souls!

So, my birthday snuck up on me. Or I've been trying not to think about it, maybe? I have no plans. I wanted to get a lot of unfinished stuff from last year (2008= ick, pooey, ick!) done. But there's no way that will all be completed in a few days.

I am thinking of holding a brunch next weekend in my apartment so my friends could bring their partners and their kids; therefore, allowing more people to come than could come to a nighttime dinner out someplace. But I'll have to rearrange my crowded living room in order for this to happen. I would also like my place to look more adult cohesive and less college student smorgasbord too. I'll be writing about getting my place together on SHELTER this next week so check me out over there.

Oh, if you have any quick and cheap brunch recipes, feel free to send those my way. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Knock Knock, who's there?

I bought one of these Knock Knock Personal Library Kits years ago when they first came out. Remember that plan to lend more books to friends? Well, the first one I lent out I didn't even have a card in it becuse I had used up the last stickers and cards a while ago. I went to Knock Knock to see if I could order a pack. Well, they are no longer manufacturing this kit. Though, if you want one, you can try to grab one at Fred Flare before they run out.
I left them an email asking if they were going to bring the product back and I received excellent costumer service with a lightning-quick answer. Unfortunately, it just wasn't the answer that I wanted. I was told that they are no longer making this particular kit but were looking at recreating something similar. I'm really curious as to what that means.

However, in the mean time, I need more cards and pockets for my books! I did find some instructions in the archives of Craftlog that I might adapt.

I mean, come on, how can I let that adorable miniature date stamp and ink pad go to waste?!

Image: Fred Flare

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Drafting a wardrobe story

I hope you can open this Anthropologie link*...because I adore this series. Not only do I like the swatches of fabrics used in the backdrops but I want almost every piece pictured; especially the accessories, like the shoes and these two necklaces:

 Unbloomed Bulb necklace, $218 (!)

Gentleman Juggler necklace, $98

*If it takes you nowhere...from the main page click on Clothes, then Outfits. You should see one model and six different ensembles.

Monday, January 26, 2009

How could I have not told you this?!

I just realized that even though I earlier revealed by Daniel Craig crush and the fact that I don't like UK actors having to hide their accents on US television, I have never spoken about my long life as a Anglophile or the fact that I adore illustration and animation. So with this post, that all will change from now on.

The video I showed last week (that has me in a thrall) for Winter Song just happened to be designed by a British firm, Crush Design and Art Direction.

A true treat for you is that a higher resolution version can be seen here, (found via Cartoon Brew)

Also welcome Ward-O-Matic and Orange You Lucky to my blog roll. Ward has a great blogroll of illustrators and animators you should check out.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The ruffles have a reason

I am not a big fan of ruffles.
I am not a big fan of pink.

However, there must be a reason I keep seeing pink ruffled dresses everywhere...and loving them!

First there was this confection on my fave, Thandie Newton.

Dress by Matthew Williamson

Now, this was a pink I could live with and it was just dreamy.

Then there was this, as part of the J.Crew wedding collection. I loved it and thought it would make a much better wedding dress than the one it was pictured with.

Eliza J

Later, I found and sent this Eliza J dress to EmilyStyle as a suggestion for her wedding reception dress.

Simplicity 7715

Some time later I found this gem of a pattern on Woof Nanny's Flickr stream of vintage patterns! At first I didn't notice the similarities. Not until I left a comment for the picture saying how it would make a great modern wedding dress. And that was when I had my AHA! moment... 'I had thought this before.'

Now, of course, it's really just the last two dresses that look alike but to me they are all a departure from what I would normally gravitate to. So I think it was all a needed progression so I could fall in love with this last one.

Which, come on, wouldn't mean the same to me if it was a modern pattern. Of course, it had to be vintage, right?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I watched the inauguration from work on a large TV with a less-than stellar picture. But that didn't matter because my eyes were cloudy already with tears. I don't know what to write here because I'm still discombobulated. But it's a good feeling of wackiness. A great feeling, in fact.

Something I never really thought would happen (well, at least not until I was old) did in fact happen. In addition, it was achieved by someone just a few years older than me. So even though I'm a bit wacked right now, I had to write something so I could look back on this later and retrieve this feeling of awe that anything IS possible even if you only half-believed that it could be.

So let us go out and find something seemingly impossible to believe in now. Like world peace.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Does anyone have this book? Love to Knit Socks: 35 Fun and Fashionable Socks, Legwarmers and Booties to Knit by Bronwyn Lowenthal?

I just need the instruction for one project seen on Bluelines, for the padded gardening thigh-highs. I want to make these for a friend. I don't knit and I finally found the perfect thigh-highs but I'm afraid of frankenstein-ing the patches onto them and them not working; ie: staying up once she stands up. I want to know about how they attached the patches and what seems to be extra cushioning.

Does anyone have it, and if so, can you copy the pages for me? Please let me know, thanks! I'll send you a handmade gift that's already been seen on one of my blogs, ok?

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Winter Song to You...

I can't stop listening to this song; sad but beautiful.

Winter Song* - Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson

Many of you have probably discovered this by yourself months ago, but I just did and I am truly in LOVE with the video!

This is from the album, The Hotel Cafe presents Winter Songs. It may be a bit late to enjoy over the holidays, but I think with the weather many of us are enjoying/loathing, it still warrants a listen. Also the purchase or download of this album benefits the Susan G. Koman for the Cure. So please enjoy and Happy New Year!

* In my opinion, the answer is: YES!

Well, well, well...

Remember this?
Sweater by Moth at Anthropologie, $98

And the sketch I drew of it in the dressing room of my local Anthropologie?

Well, in the latest issue of Threads magazine I saw the sketch for this jacket, Kwik Sew 3624,

that was similar to my sketch of the Moth sweater. I have to admit I would never have looked at the jacket twice if not for the sketch. The Kwik Sew version uses a lot more fabric and details; gathered pockets, drawstring bottom, and fuller sleeves. However, I'm sure a simpler version could easily be made.

Close up for better detail of the two layers.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Not My Cup of Tea...

I am really looking forward to next Tuesday, but I'm glad I no longer live in Northern VA. There would be pressure to attend the festivities in DC since I lived only 4 miles out in Arlington. However, it would have only happened if someone with a real strong personality talked me into it. Because I rode the Metrorail system into work everyday for over four years, I know how these people can get in tight, crowded situations. It seems everyone in Washington knows too.

Check out this quote from the Senate Inaugural Committee's website*:

"D.C.’s subway system is expecting “crush-level” crowds. Be prepared to stand in close proximity to several thousand people for long periods of time."

Yeah, that sounds like loads of fun, doesn't it? You can't say you weren't warned.

* The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.
* Shepard Fairey poster available at official Presidential Inauguration store.

Monday, January 12, 2009

What I have now

While I don't have the clothes, the armchair, a roaring fire, or a good book at the moment, I am drinking the hot tea.

I received a sample a month ago with my usual Mint Green tea. It's from Celestial Seasonings and is a new type of tea and flavor; Madagascar Vanilla Red Rooibos herb tea.

First off, it smells heavenly, doesn't need any sugar (but then, I never use any in tea or coffee), is caffeine free, and most importantly, makes me feel comfortable and pampered. Like Martha would say, 'that's a good thing.'

How I Want To Dress:

A.P.C. Jacket, You Must Create Top, Whyred Jeans, Isabel Marant Boots

You Must Create Gingham Placket Shirt

Can you see how cool that shirt is? It's not a button-down, it's not even a Henley. It is actually a collared pullover shirt with a deep fold in the center which is then buttoned to fit, creating a deep pleat in the bottom half. So, now, how cool is that?

Isabel Marant Scarf, A.P.C. Cardigan, Top, and Boots, Junya Wantanabe Skirt

Yes, it is the same outfit in both of those pictures. I love that convertible skirt. I want one. How do you think they did that?

These designers and clothes like these are available online at Impulse boutique in Seattle and online at Totokaelo (TOH-toh-KYE-oh). They have a great eye for clothing and I am now a fan of most of the designers they feature. There are a lot of more innovative and intricately interesting outfits on their site but right now I just want to feel comfortable in my skin and in my clothes, kind of nurture myself for a while and not bring a lot of attention to myself. These things would be just right. There is a smooth casual air to these clothes, a "there's nothing to stress about" vibe. They make me feel like I want to curl up in an armchair, drinking tea and reading a book, with my legs hanging over the arm. Maybe, in front of a fire? Oh, yeah. Good times.

In fact, I used to dress like this in college, though my comfy oversize cardigans and v-neck sweaters were mostly poly-cotton (or "pure" poly) and in male sizes from the local thrift store. My oversize collared shirts were awesome never-worn brushed
gabardine men's shirts that felt like "buttah." I have no idea why they don't make those anymore. Men would love dress shirts again if they felt like those, I guarantee. I also wore men's blazers over everything; one was a great green and brown sharkskin that I wish I had kept a swatch of when it finally bit the dust.
Along with the designers above, please also check out:

Rachel Comey
United Bamboo
Mayle Whyred

All Images:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dear Wendy Mullin,

Built By Wendy Herring Handkerchief Top

I have a suggestion for you. How about offering a variation of this design as one of your next Simplicity patterns. I love the look of this top! I can see a pattern offering this version as View A; View B could be with a collar finished with bias-binding instead, View C could be B extended to a tunic-length dress. In addition, you could offer a slim pencil skirt pattern to go with the tops and to wear under the tunic. What do you think?

If you do end up manufacturing this pattern, all I ask is that I receive a free pattern and perhaps, if you feel like calling it something, that maybe you will consider calling it the "Lisa" top, OK? Thank you.



If anyone agrees with me about this being a great pattern, please express your support in the comments. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Plans and dreams for the future...

not necessarily resolutions. This post sort of goes along with this one. My focus changed a bit after I put together that mosaic.

In the future, I want:
to bring more color into my home. (pics 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12)

to alter my store-bought clothing or adapt store-bought patterns for my own designs (pic. 3, 10, 11, 15)

to one day take both a draping and pattern-making class.

to piece together and finish a quilt. (pic 8)

to use my imagination more.

to enjoy taking a class again. I miss the pure joy of learning.

to see my friends more in casual "hanging-out" settings. I would love to invite people over for meals, board games, and Chex Mix. (pic 9 &14)

to feel comfortable and motivated in my home again, instead of becoming a couch-potato as soon as I hit the sofa. (pic 2)

to exchange books with friends (which means I want to read more AND get to share and discuss books with OTHER people)

to learn at least one song on the piano.

one day to sing a song on a stage. There are a few I wouldn't sound bad doing.

to fall in love. (pics 13 & 16)

Monday, January 05, 2009

How did I spend New Year's Eve?

Well...I slept through it. Not on purpose, mind you.

I got off of work, did a few errands, (in fact returned college textbooks and made $59!) Then I chased restaurant closing times around town looking for a place to have a late lunch. When I got home, I turned up the heat, had soup and toast, and laid down for a short nap.

I woke to see on the clock 8:20 PM, vowed to get up but the next thing I saw was 3:20AM on the clock! Oh well...

I sure hope this doesn't mean I'm doomed to sleep through 2009, because I already did that for 2007 and 2008. This year, I want to be fully awake and fully engaged. That's my biggest goal for the new year right there.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

My New Year's Resolutions...

1. MIFFY, 2. Blue House Front Sept 08, 3. Circle Applique Skirt, 4. Alabama Chanin Skirt, 5. Small. Happy. Home., 6. Untitled, 7. LR 64 -domino, 8. quilt top: done!, 9. Dinner Party, 10. some green leaves, 11. finished product, 12. Farm-fresh table., 13. ntf002, 14. my 70's lamp, 15. Vintage Dress Pattern, 1968, 16. Wedding

To be continued...

End of the year meme

When I first saw that new meme here and here, I became discouraged. I was so sure I would come up short. However, it wasn't as bad as I thought. Instead of listing all 99 things in the meme, I'm only listing the ones I've done (in bold type) and the ones that I want to do.

1. Started your own blog- TWO!

12. Visited Paris - Can I substitute Italy, which I have a better chance of seeing soon?

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch - knitting and sewing.

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill - Doesn't everyone for their my mental health?

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
35. Seen an Amish community

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied - for two short months, then I lost my job!

41. Sung karaoke – I'm sure I have but can't remember the details. I guess that could be a good thing?

47. Had your portrait painted - I had my portrait photographed twice; once for work and once as a birthday gift.

52. Kissed in the rain - will get on this as soon as I find a willing participant!

53. Played in the mud - When a child, I made many a mud pie.

55. Been in a movie

57. Started a business - one day

60. Served at a soup kitchen - want to do this so bad, 2009 will be the year!

63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma – once, the one time in my life I wasn't anemic or borderline anemic. Must work on that

67. Bounced a check - Luckily always with bank protection - so only my bank knows.

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy - Many have been saved and all are at my dad's house still.

71. Eaten Caviar – not a fan.

72. Pieced a quilt - WANT TO DO SO BAD!

75. Been fired from a job - Yes, but then they gave me a going-away party at my favorite restaurant and a $200 gift certificate to IKEA. Confused? Me too. Still.

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle – with a sadistic friend who liked to see me scared.

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person - when I was fourteen in 111 degree temperature (but it was a dry heat)

84. Had your picture in the newspaper - Twice: in seventh grade as part of an after school program and when I was 28 as a new hire in the Business section.

90. Sat on a jury - many times, including two murder trials.

91. Met someone famous - Bill Irwin, Leonard Maltin, Tony Curtis, Amy Van Dyken, Jo Dee Messina, Vince Gill, and even a contestant* from the debut season of The Bachelorette (Yes, all but the first one were job-related.)

93. Lost a loved one - many, and there are many ways to lose someone besides death.

98. Owned a cell phone.

Twenty-one out of ninety-nine items on the list means that I have a lot more to accomplish in the year(s) to come.

*Charlie Maher