Friday, January 29, 2010

Bloomer Mania

Catch it! Far from simply finishing the waistband on my first pair of bloomers, as planned, I started a second pair. And they seemed to be finished in moments. I love little projects like this. Minor commitment, adorable finished product. I think I'll make a third pair in my purple crown fabric and gift Erin a trio of purple bloomers.

Here's the completed first pair:

And pair number two:

All together now:

My bouncing baby brother is coming up this weekend, so it should be bloomer free. But one never knows.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Les Queues de Sardines

So it seems like these tights have been making the rounds online lately:

They're by Les Queues de Sardines (great name). And although I do agree that their work is very beautiful and cheeky. I think that the golden droplet tights may be a bit too cheeky for my taste. Thoughts?


I started a test version of the baby bloomers last night on a piece of scrap fabric, so that I could figure out my modifications before cutting into my hand printed stash. Here are some pictures of phase 1 (sans elastic):

I finished the elastic around the legs too late last night to get pictures. But I'll get you a finished product shot by tomorrow. I decided to go with elastic thread around the leg holes, as suggested by Ms. Heather Ross, because it seemed less restrictive for little baby legs. My only issue with it was that the elastic on one leg shrunk beautifully and on the other leg only shrunk a bit. So I'll have to hit it with the iron again tonight and hope for the best. Or find a baby with one fat leg.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Treated myself to a massage last night after realizing that my shoulders had been living up around my ears for the past few weeks. When I got home, I had no ambition at all and wound up watching the entirety of He Knew He Was Right.

It's basically a perfect case study of a BBC movie. The script is compelling, the performances are solid (and delivered by all of the usual suspects) and the niceties, like the title and end credits are hysterical. The title appears hovering over a static shot of red roses, dying. And the important words are capitalized, (He KNEW He Was RIGHT) so that the proper emphasis doesn't elude you.

Far be it from me to criticize BBC adaptations too harshly; I love them with my whole heart. But I do think it's funny and probably a bit telling that so much care is put into the story portion and the intro and outro are just slapped on. I like to picture two old men, in a cramped closet, whose job it is to paste on the introductions.

Man 1: What have we got here? (peers down spectacles) "He Knew He Was Right".

Man 2: What's it about.

Man 1: (inspecting the tape) Dunno. Strong title though. He knew he was right.

Man 2: Probably a fuss about a woman. They all are.

Man 1: So what do we do?

Man 2: (reviewing five shabby looking VHS tapes) Well, we've got footage of roses on a piano, withering roses, a country lane, a woman in a carriage or a lion pouncing on a gazelle.

Man 1: From the nature special, yeah?

Man 2: Right.

Man 1: Well I like the lion and gazelle one.

Man 2: Just used that in "Lion versus Gazelle".

Man 1: Then the country lane.

Man 2: Cranford.

Man 1: The woman in the carriage?

Man 2: Used that one quite a bit lately. Gives one a sense of unease and vulnerability. How'd you feel about the roses?

Man 1: Withery or piano?

Man 2: Withery. I was trying to save the piano ones for the ten years of Austin adaptations they've got in the works. The piano makes 'em seem more genteel.

Man 1: True, true... The piano's a genteel instrument, I've always said. Well, withery it is.

Man 2: Right. Tea then?

And that ladies and gentlemen, is how BBC opening credits get created.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Best Idea Ever

Seriously. Paper dolls that double as room decor. Brilliant.

Summer Dress Up

Spring Dress Up

Winter Dress Up

And a complete set

Hats off to the lovely ladies of lovemaestore. These are amazing!

The Grass Harp

I started reading The Grass Harp yesterday and it was exactly what my poor jangled nerves needed. It's such a small, gentle story, beautifully told.

I can already tell that this is a book I'll return to throughout my lifetime.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Now for Breakfast: Dessert

BB and I picked up this crazy, amazing babka from Hi-Rise yesterday.

It was so good that I had a slice for dessert and then a slice for breakfast this morning. How many foods can you do that with?

I May Be Losing My Mind

I'm applying towards an MFA program for the fall. I don't know what I'm thinking. Please send positive acceptance-type thoughts my way.

Friday, January 22, 2010

And What Have We Learned Today?

That bulldogs cannot swim. True story.

P.S. - I learned this from a woman with a bulldog, not via a tragic swimming bulldog incident.

Here's video of a rolly-polly bulldog.

It's been a long day.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Currently reading The Story of My Life by Giacomo Casanova.

I picked it up on our honeymoon. It was one of the only English translations that I could get my hands on that wasn't Dante. Its actually the abridged version, his actual biography is twelve volumes long. If I could find it, I would absolutely read the unabridged version. He's a fascinating narrator and the editors' clunky choices about what to abridge really smother his stories.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the BBC production of Casanova, based on the above work, and written by Russel T. Davies.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I walked out to the South End over lunch and picked up some beautiful napkins (on crazy sale) at Michelle Wiley. Then had the best jasmine tea I've ever had at the South End Buttery.

And on the way back, I dawdled at South End Formaggio and picked up an organic tempranillo and good bread for dinner.

It was such a treat to take a little quiet time to roam about in the sun. And did I mention the dogs? I must have passed at least 50. All ridiculously cute and well behaved. Oh, South End, you have the best dogs...


Last night while cooking dinner, I found that I was singing "Suzanne" (the Nina Simone version, natch). I looked up the wiki about the song and it's actually quite sad.

I don't know why, but Nina Simone's version always makes me think of marigolds.

Here's a little "Suzanne" for you:

And some marigolds:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Little House Cook Book

Great post over at the Kitchn about the Little House Cook Book.

I know! Why hadn't I hear of this before?!

Octopus Temptation

I saw this Octopus Rubber Stamp at Papersource yesterday and think it would make an adorable fabric for a child's room:

It's tough because I really want to create my own patterns for Erin's baby gifts, but this pre-made octopus is really tempting...

BB and I also went to Ittyo at Porter Exchange for lunch yesterday and they had octopus balls just like the ones in Osaka! Talk about octopus temptation...

Also, check out these Pewter Octopus Napkin Rings:

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Single Man

BB and I saw A Single Man today at the Coolidge Corner Theatre and I'm still trying to make up my mind about it.

It's a lot like a moving magazine spread. Which isn't a bad thing. (It's very beautiful. Very. Especially the water sequences.) But isn't really a good thing either. The script, although it does take a fair number of shortcuts, is solid and sweet and doesn't try to be any larger than the story demands. The performances are excellent. And I am still thinking about it several hours later. But I still don't think it's accurate to say I liked it. I'm going to pick up the book tomorrow. Take that for what it's worth.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bow Street Flowers

BB and I had a wonderful, slow day today; full of coffee, the library and a long, long walk through Cambridge/Somerville. On our way back from The Biscuit, we passed the Bow Street Flowers, which I'd never seen before. It's basically the florist shop of my dreams. (And I'm picky, I worked at a florists for years.) The flowers out in front of the counter were basically an exhibit of all of my favorites, fat pink peonies, elegant white anemones, cheerful tulips and cheeky ranunculus. They even had unripe berries to incorporate into their arrangements. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous...

And when BB bought me a peony, they wrapped it as if it was a Hermes scarf; in a sumptuous sheet of pressed paper and thick brown ribbon.

Plus, they have an in-store rabbit named Petal! I don't care how long a walk it is from my house, I'll be back to this shop within the week. Three cheers for Bow Street Flowers! I wish I knew about you before I got married. Our style feels very much in synch. (Although Petali did a really lovely job. They just have their own style going on and you have to dig it or your out of luck.)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Une Rose

I tried on Edition de Parfums Une Rose by Edouard Flechier yesterday, after trying unsuccessfully to find anyplace in Boston that carries Rose 31.

I'm not generally a rose person, but I'm really into this scent. I think I'd describe it as sophisticated vamp. It's definitely boudoir-y, but with a bit of irony. I can't believe I just described a perfume that way...

Anyway, I foresee a small bottle of this making its way into my life shortly.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I'm loving these new sandals at J. Crew:

Yes, I know it's way too early to be thinking about sandals.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I've been dreaming a lot about Venice lately. I think because I'm feeling so hungry for color. Here are some shots of our honeymoon hotel there:

I'd love to open those shutters every morning, then go downstairs to my cappuccino and pastry with nutella.

Sigh. The Boston winter is getting me down.

Brief Reviews of Things I've Seen Lately

Sherlock Homes - Meh

An Education - Lovely, but abruptly resolved

Gatz, Part 1 - Incredibly painful

Wristcutters, A Love Story - Unexpectedly charming

Return to Cranford, Part 1 - Lacking in plot and structure

Actually, I'd like to share a few more thoughts on Gatz. The actor playing Nick and narrating is arresting to behold. Everything else about the show is exhausting. It's a lot like babysitting. You're watching a bunch of kids trip over each other, vying for your attention and with seemingly no direction and you mostly just want to go home.

In seriousness, the performances (Nick excepted) would be tedious under the best of circumstances. But in this case the source material that they're abusing in their truly lazy attempts to catch your eye is one of the most lovely books in the American canon. It's hard to believe that anyone thought this was a good idea.

I've been told that the second part is significantly better, but am having a hard time mustering the energy to find out. The whole experience has put me back off theater for a bit. Has anyone out there seen Part 2?


So our friend Jeff and Caitlin own Beatles Rock Band and we've been playing it obsessively. I find myself strangely entranced by the arrow set they performed on when they played the Ed Sullivan Show. I'm thinking that my next fabric design will play with the idea of arrows within arrows. Is it strange that two out of three of my first fabric will be Beatles inspired?

I especially like the triple arrow action behind Ringo's platform.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Birthday Ball

Brooke over at inchmark has a great post about Santa Balls. I think that I might borrow the idea and make a Birthday Ball for Dave's little cousin Kayla. She'll be turning ten and I think the idea of unwrapping layer after layer of crepe paper to uncover hidden gifts will really appeal to her. It's exciting, but not babyish.

I'm wondering if it might be less time consuming to use streamers, rather than cutting tissue paper strips.


I've got the travel bug in the worst way. Our trip in October only made it worse.

Here's a shot of the Great Buddha at Hase from my last trip to Japan.

I wish I was there right now.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bookplate Identity Crisis

I almost forgot, I also finally took a picture of the bookplates that I picked up in Florence!

I just love them. They remind me a bit of Billy Hazelnuts.

My only issue is that I'm still not sure what name to write on them. I'm still having an identity crisis with regard to which last name to go by. And unfortunately, we still haven't received our certificate of marriage. So I'm actually starting to wonder if we're even legally married.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pink Prints and Chocolate

My painted screen worked! I'm still getting a feel for the consistent application of pressure, but I actually really like the variation that resulted.

I'm going to partially screen the edge of the fabric tonight and then heat set the whole thing. I think this is going to become a very simple dress for Erin's baby. And a throw pillow with whatever is left.

While I had the camera out, I thought I'd show you the adorable chocolate clogs that my Mom put in my Christmas stocking.

A friend of my Grandmother's, who they all called Tante, used to bring these to my Mom and her sister whenever she visited. They've become something of a family legend. My Mom always wanted to get they for my brother and I when we were young, but could never find them. So it was such a surprise to see them in my stocking! Mom and I each tried one and she swears they taste exactly like she remembered. Isn't it nice when that happens?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Non-Toxic Bonus

I just found out that Speedball Screen Drawing Fluid and Screen Filler (for fabric printing) are both non-toxic. Which means that my whole printing set up is actually non-toxic. Honestly, I just grabbed the two smallest bottles of these products available without knowing about their toxicity because I didn't think I would be doing much beyond stencil prints.

But now I find myself quite encouraged. Although I do feel a bit silly for wearing rubber gloves as I worked last night.

Hand Painted Screen

So what's this pretty thing?

Why just the screen that I made last night using drawing fluid and screen filler, thanks!

I had so much fun doing it. And even though I botched up initially and painted on the wrong side (against a piece of paper no less), it still turned out just fine. It really is like magic.

It had to dry overnight, so I couldn't print with it right away. But I'm going to tonight on a lovely lightweight linen. I'm thinking in pink for more baby gifts. But I think it would also look cool in something neutral like white or navy on linen, for a throw pillow or bag. I'll let you know how printing with a hand painted screen compares to printing with a stencil.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


At work today, one of my co-workers had a showing of his graduate film project. And it was such a thoughtful, well written, meditation on style and life that as soon as it ended, I wanted to tell my writing/life mentor, Betsy, about it. The difficulty is that Betsy passed away about three years ago. And, in addition to the much larger fact that the world is really lacking without Betsy in it, I think it's a shame that she didn't get to meet my co-worker. Because they would have gotten along like matches and tinder. I think that she would have seen the writer in him and nurtured it, like she did with me.

Not to be too meditative, but I can't help thinking about all of the people in the world who I would get on with well and will never meet. Which makes me especially grateful for the ones that I did meet. Like Betsy.


I finished the second and third printing passes on my fabric and heat set it all last night. Then I spent an hour scrubbing the ink out of my newly purple tub. And then I was too tired to go out and buy groceries, so I ate beans and toast for dinner. Beans and toast, people.

After dinner, I looked around the apartment and realized what a phenomenal mess it was. And rather than cleaning, I read home design blogs for half an hour, then went to bed.

I remember seeing a throw pillow that I really liked for the living room. But I didn't make a note of it. And for the life of me, I can't remember which site I saw it on.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Mark Bittman wrote a great piece for the Times today called Dal Five Ways, with five completely delicious looking recipes. I've embarrassed to admit that not only have I never tried dal (or dahl), but before today I didn't know what it was. And as I'm always on the lookout for versatile meatless recipes, I went into research mode and found even more dal recipes. Here are my top contenders:

Ginger and Spice Dahl

Yellow Split Pea Dahl Recipe with Potatoes and Coconut Milk

Thimble Dahl

I'm going to have to choose one of the eight contenders before I hit the grocery store this afternoon. The question is, how?

Print Session #1

I hunkered down to my first real screen printing last night, with decent fabric. And although I wouldn't call it an astonishing success, I would still call it a success.

I was listening to Abbey Road while I was sketching and the crown stencil was actually inspired by "Her Majesty". So I may need to send a swatch to Paul McCartney as a thank you.

Just kidding. This fabric is going to become bloomers for my friend's baby girl. Sorry, Paul.

The nice part about screening my own fabric is knowing that non-toxic ink has been used on it, so I can feel confident about making baby clothes out of it. The only frustration is having to wait until tomorrow to make a second printing pass. It's funny, knitting makes me unusually patient. But printing makes me want to go, go, go.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cardamom Pear Crisp

I just bumped into the Sunday Suppers recipe for Cardamom Pear Crisp and am really excited to try it out.

Cardamom isn't a spice that I've ever paid much attention to. But ever since I tried Crema Cafe's cardamom-currant cookies, I've been intrigued by it.


I feel like I should send a thank you note to Chelsea at frolic for writing about her new sponsor, Favor Jewelry.

Monika's work is absolutely gorgeous, in addition to being environmentally ethical and sustainable.

How fabulous would a big stack of these Golden Wafer Stacking Rings look?

Covet, covet covet. Now, if I only knew what size my right ring finger was.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Tilting at Winmill

There's a general lack of fabric stores in Boston and I just can't figure out why. We have a host of colleges with fashion or costume design courses. We seem to have the same percentage of crafters as any metropolitan area. But, so far as I can tell, we only have one T-accessible fabric store in Boston, Winmill Fabrics. It's an old school fabric shop in Chinatown, where you can buy the basics. I spent my lunch hour there picking up some cotton and linen for screen sprinting and playing with their awesome fat cat. I wish they had a website that I could direct you towards, but it's not that type of place. If you get a chance, swing by. I'd like them to stick around. They're at 111 Chauncy St.

Be warned, though, you're not going to find any Heather Ross or Kokka or Amy Butler. Oh, speaking of Heather Ross... They're using her mermaid design on a surfboard!


My New Year's Eve Gatsby post made me realize that I forgot to mention Gatz, a two-part reading (and more) of The Great Gatsby. The Nick character apparently does all of the reading. Lucky guy.

In the past, if I'd heard that the A.R.T. was attempting something like this, my eyes would have rolled so far back in my head that I may have been rendered permanently blind. But Diane Paulus has made me believe in good theater (and the A.R.T) again and I'm really excited to see it.

Printing in the New Year

The new year is off to a good start! I picked up a copy of Lena Corwin's wonderful Printing By Hand on Friday and spent the weekend playing with fabric printing. It's such a treat to just make the fabric that you want for a project, rather than seeking it out.

And the silkscreening! Did I mention the silkscreening? It's a lot like magic. I think I'm in love.