Friday, September 29, 2006

this + that

With the Bazaar Bizarre lurking (you know it's going to be December before we know it), I've started planning my plan of attack for the next couple months. With the location practically right across the street from USC, I'd like to be able to offer a handfull of smaller priced items like these key chains. Last year I sold a lot of the smaller items - maybe people are shopping for stocking stuffers? I have so many pillows. Think I'll stop on the pillow production. Besides, it's fun to shift gears and focus on something new for a change.

Also recently purchased all the bright orange faux fur I'll need to sew my son's Halloween costume. The pattern is for a lion, but little trick-or-treater keeps changing his mind. One day he wants to be a lion, the next he wants to be a kitty cat. Thank God they're both feline. We'll call it whatever he wants - but I'm only sewing ONE costume!

Still struggling to find the energy to do practically anything these days. The little 1-pounder in my womb has been kicking like it's the World Cup! This is good news for the little 40-pounder running circles around me. He's going to want a little brother who can keep up with him.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Word of advice for those with babies (or a baby on the way): Don't wait until your child is nearly 3-years-old to begin a system of organizing outgrown clothes. What a task this was! Would have been so much easier to organize and sort as we went along. But...big sigh of is done. Organized by size, I'll now be able to easily find clothes for baby number 2. It's a little overwhelming, though. Where does the madness stop? If I continue to save all outgrown clothes, we'll need to rent a storage unit!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

a day of reminiscing

In honor of the fall return of my favorite TV shows, here's a picture of a sign I found at Home Depot last year and slapped up above the door to our "office". When I saw it, I couldn't resist it. (if you watch The Office, it makes sense)

Contrary to my pathetic worship of season premiers, I have vowed to have a tube-free Saturday. Husband and little Mr. Trouble Maker are out for the day, so I'm enjoying the time to catch up on all those monkeys on my back (laundry, dirty carpet tiles, mucky aquarium, bills, outgrown baby clothes to sort and organize). I've gotten into this awful habit of turning the TV on when I'm home alone - it could be a show I've seen a dozen times before - but I turn it on and inevitably find myself sitting down to watch...rather than having it on simply as background noise (which is always my initial intent). So no distractions today.

Something about puttering around the house today reminds me of my weekends while I was living alone in a studio apartment during graduate school. I only had a tiny TV with no cable, so if I had the tube on it tended to be an old movie on tape I'd seen a hundred times. I used to love driving home from my last class on Fridays. I'd hit the grocery store, maybe pick up a few movie rentals and then lock myself inside for the whole weekend. (it sounds pathetic, but believe me...I spent all week looking forward to complete isolation) I'd spend the time working on school projects, tending to my little garden on the balcony, cooking and baking, taking long bubble baths, spying on the other tenants as they came and went and writing letters to friends. This was before e-mail. Hard to even imagine a time without e-mail! Writing letters was my preferred method of correspondence. I've never been much of a phone gabber. Communication comes out much easier in written form for me. At night, if it was warm, I'd sit out on my tiny balcony (made even smaller by my potted garden - even a potted oak tree!) with a glass (okay...who am I kidding? with a bottle of) wine. Stars? Maybe a couple. Mostly there was just an orange glow in the L.A. sky with an occasional ghetto bird (or, helicopter, for those not lucky enough to have experienced the thrill of police helicopters hovering overhead) and the gentle buzz of the nearby freeway. Good times. Good times.

I think I've written about all this before. As it's coming out, it sounds very very familiar. I don't know why memories of that place come out the way they do, when they do. Funny. I listened to a lot of Lisa Loeb during that phase of my life. Play list today is all Lisa. Isn't it great how music can transport you to a different time and place like that?

Friday, September 22, 2006

pretty beads

Today was a very big day for us. The company my husband works for has reached a major milestone. Down at the office they've been drinking champagne all day and tonight is the party. To dress up my boring maternity top, I decided to make a necklace from felted beads.

Great tutorial Here.

It's so great to see the company get what it's worked so hard to achieve. I'm sure they'll continue to do great things. I'm sure the party will be great. Fortunately for my husband, he's got a designated driver...unfortunately for me. And with the tailspin my emotions have been in, I'm sure the CEO's address to the company of 250+ will bring tears to my eyes. Seems like just yesterday that he was sharing his dreams and goals to about 50 of us gathered in a small banquet room at the first company Christmas party 5 years ago. Now we get to party at a nice hotel. Woo hoo!

Cheers everyone!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

birthday delish

The cakes turned out well and the party was pleasant. A bit crowded for our small house - but call me crazy...I love the feeling of an over-crowded room with kids playing and adults enjoying good food. Something so warm about that. I made the cakes from angelfood cake that I cut into circles with a large biscuit cutter. Gave each cake a thin coat of white icing (for just a touch of sweet) and then lathered on the meringue. Cooked them in a warm oven for 10 minutes (just long enough to start to set the meringue) and then used a torch to brown the meringue peaks. They looked how I imagined them to look and tasted wonderful! As an afterthought, I served up the ice cream in tea cups since the small plates I served each cake on was too small to hold a scoop.

This is our Wedgwood china we picked out when we got married. I love love lOVE it - but still only have 8 sets. One of these days I'll save up some money to start buying more sets. I love using it. I'm not a "Monica" (those who watch Friends re-runs like I do know what I'm talking about) who thinks the china should stay packed away to be used only should the Queen come to dinner. I think some would actually shudder to see me using it for dessert like this...but, hey, I love it and I'm going to use it any chance I get!

One of the gifts I gave to Tom was an album filled with photos and articles I found on driving up to Big Sur. I mapped out a camping trip that would take us up the coast, ending at Big Sur where we could enjoy the breath-taking coast, the magnificent redwoods and local sights like the Henry Miller Library. The album is to be filled with photographs once the trip is completed. My gift to him is this - if he can find the time, I'll plan every little detail. I hope he can find the time soon. Might be nice to go before the baby is here. One final rendezvous for the Three Muskateers before baby makes four.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

flower power

Remember this wonderful fabric I talked about in a previous post? For the past couple weeks it's been clumsily draped over the curtains it was meant to replace. Since I'm having a small birthday party for my husband tonight, I had the perfect motivation to finally sew my new curtains.

Aren't they lovely?

I love it when a completed project gives me so much simple joy. I feel giddy each and every time I pass the Living Room to see my happy flowers. I think, yes, the fabric would have been too much in the shape of a slip cover. Besides, isn't this couch so much nicer? The chocolate brown leather matches the deep brown carpet squares.

And now I'm off for some shopping in prep for aforementioned birthday party. The picture I have in my head of the individual-size birthday cakes is so perfectly sweet - let's see if I can, as Tim Gunn of Project Runway says, "Make it work."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

a place for all those ideas

I've been struggling to find the energy to complete projects (or even start them!) lately. The other day Martha explained how you should always cut developing seed pods off of flowering bulbs because the bulb is weakened by all the energy it takes to create that seed pod - much like, as she explained, a woman's body when she's pregnant. Ah ha! Bingo! Yessir! I'm completely useless by around 3pm if I haven't had a nap. And who has time to nap when you're entertaining an almost-3-year-old? So, to deal with all my thoughts and ideas - thoughts and ideas that I now accept I won't be able to initiate until this little baby boy is outta my body - I've focussed on my system of organizing these ideas. Here is the notebook I've created for the house:

Each room/space has a tab behind which I paste pictures and articles from magazines and jot down project ideas. Since I'm spending a lot more time just sitting around the house imagining all I would do if I just had the energy, I'm seeing little details (like cracked tiles and missing pieces of trim) that need repair. Write it down, and one of these days when I'm looking for something to do, I'll have my list to refer to.

I think my next notebook should contain all the thoughts/ideas/sketches I have for building our own house. I've always loved the beginning of the movie "Indecent Proprosal" where Woody Harrelson, playing an architect, madly sketches out ideas for his dream house upon rolls of paper taped up to the wall. I'd love to build a completely stand-alone, green house that incorporates means of solar energy, grey water storage and passive heating/cooling in design conscious ways. It frustrates me to no end how our house is oriented parallel to the breezes that whip up the hill. Only one room captures that natural means of cooling. Had the house been rotated, we'd get constant natural airflow. Someday, I'd love to have the chance to think all these things through in designing my own house.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


A birthday present for my friend's daughter who is turning 1.

Yes, I'm the friend who brings handmade gifts. But this way I can guarantee that we don't bring the same gift as someone else. I woke up at 4:00 this morning and the idea of making this little bag stuffed with blocks occurred to me. As I lay there trying to go back to sleep, I couldn't remember how to make the felt bag. (Martha has a great pattern for these HERE - I love the fold at the bottom) I tossed and turned and finally just got up, looked up the pattern and began sewing. This often happens to me. When I'm restless, I'll picture myslef working on a project. This usually works. I'll be happily sewing-painting-whatever in my head and eventually I'll fall asleep. But sometimes I'll hit a snag - like not remembering the steps for sewing this felt bag - and I just can't let go of it. When I can't picture it in my head, I'm done for. Got to get up and go figure it out.

Looking forward to spending the next couple days up in L.A. Our to-do list?

Birthday Party
Santa Monica Pier
Travel Town
Drive around the old stomping ground
Farmer's Market
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Find some decent maternity clothes
Night at the Bonaventure

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

bored beyond belief

Because I hate making posts without's one of a wholesale order I shipped out last week:

Impatiently refeshing Lufthansa Airlines' arrivals page to check that my husband's plane is back safely on good ol' Ameereecan soil. "On Time" to "Final Approach" and....yes...there it is...."Flight Landed"! It's been an extremely boring week without him around. The evenings get very lonely. Used to be I'd drink a lot and watch old movies when he was out of town. This time, though, I turned to tonic and lime - tastes almost like a gin and tonic! Now why won't he answer his cell? Okay - take a chill pill - he JUST landed.

In two weeks I'll know if we'll be converting my son's bedroom into a boy-girl space or a completely boy space. I'm excited to turn the room into an entirely boggy experience - buzzing bog critters flying all over the walls, floor to ceiling bamboo patch murals, horsetail reed crib bumper, lilypad quilts and mobils hanging from every inch of the ceiling. Okay...that may be a slight exaggeration...but I do want to have fun with it. It'll be hard to paint over all the animals I hand painted on the wall before my son was born. It took me so long! But, onto something new.

Monday, September 04, 2006

project slip cover update

So! About Project Slip Cover...dead in the water. Laziness? Smart? Just got to thinking about the money it would cost for the fabric, the hours it would take to make it (and time is money!) and I finally came to the conclusion that it would not be worth it. Plus, my mom mentioned that fact that it is Labor Day Weekend and everyone is having a sale. (No sales tax! Woo hoo!!) So I bought a new couch instead. I'm gonna go with "smart" on this one. In two weeks we'll know if the baby is a boy or a girl and it will be all about Project Nursery. So, no use wasting all that time on a slip cover that may or may not work. But I did manage to complete the slip cover for my son's chair. Worked out nicely I think! Definitely an improvement. Although, I do notice that even though it is fitted - it still slips. I think I would have been extremely disappointed to spend all that time an money on something that doesn't work the way I wanted it to. At this small scale - I don't care...not like it's gonna drive me up the wall the way it would on a full sofa.

Friday, September 01, 2006

work in progress process

For awhile now there have been several things that just gnaw at me everytime I go into the living room. First of all, the slip cover on our couch always needs adjusting and tucking. Second, there is a hint of design focus, but it reads more like there was an effort, but not the will to see it through. And finally, the funky chair (that I believe has great potential) is still really nothing more than an eyesore badly in need of some love.

I love the interface flor carpet tiles we have. It's a lovely composition of green, orange and brown to compliment a color palette that I intended to consist of orange and green. Some of the walls are painted a very bright apple green. But things like the boring, beige, disfunctional sofa slipcover just throw the whole design effort out of whack.

On to my hopes and sew slip covers for the couch, for the chair and for the ottoman that really pull it all together. Earlier in the week, when I thought the fabric sale I mentioned earlier was already in effect, I simply thought of this project from a functional frame of mind. Boy am I glad I had to wait till the weekend for the sale to start - now that I've had time to think about it, I've got an entirely different objective. I'm loving this fabric (Liz Claiborne, Flaunt):

The it too much? I'm starting to think yes. One solution - use this for the chair and the curtains and stick with a solid rust for the sofa. The other delima...can I actually, really do this? To answer that question, I'm attempting to make a slip cover for my son's upholstered (and also sadly stained) chair. Before I fork out all this money on fabric, I'd better know I can actually put it to use.

Of course, this is starting to look more and more attractive by the second:

Ah...the Ikea trap. I'd like to think I'm past that stage in my life of filling up the house with cheap Ikea furniture...on the other hand, it's almost too cheap to pass up. What a quick fix.