29 March 2007

cards and a spot of sun

What's up?! Friday's what's up, friends, and thank goodness for that. I have been trying to get these cards in the shop all week long. [because poor poor me, I had to go see a fantastic movie one evening, and go shopping, and get sucked into a great novel another evening. anyhoo...] These thank you cards were inspired by an old pyrex bowl. Love those dots. The registration on these cards was a bit challenging. Sometimes I forget to think through how I'm actually going to achieve a design before jumping in and starting. After a bit of quiet cursing, I got them all lined up and now I'm quite happy with how they turned out.

I designed these lady doll cards a couple weeks ago, intending to make more and sell them as sets, but I never got around to doing that. Maybe I will make more in the future? Dunno. I am really quite attached to these little dolls. Here are my original illustrations:

I'd originally drawn sixteen of them and I had so much fun giving them different outfits. You can laugh, but this is good good times for me. I think I could draw these things all day long.

And for all my whining and complaining about the cold weather last week, we have had two absolutely gorgeous spring days this week. Sunny and warm and heavenly. During my lunch break I wandered over to the flower district and the shops had filled up all the sidewalks with flowers. It reminded me of the opening scene of My Fair Lady. Well, I guess it wasn't that spectacular, but it was pretty darn nice. I rarely go over there even though it's only a few blocks from my office. That's a strange thing about NYC--it's so jam-packed that to go just one neighborhood over seems an unnecessary trek. We complain at my office that "there's no good food in our neighborhood." But what we really mean is that there is no good food within a 1-block radius. Because heaven forbid we have to walk more than 2 minutes to get exactly the food we are craving.

And if I walk in the opposite direction from the flower district, I'm smack-dab in the middle of the garment district where I am seized with a sudden and all-consuming need for crocheted lace. For a new shirt. wait for it. Twin thought I was crazy to buy the bobble fringe. It just looked so Easter-y to me I couldn't resist it.

Happy Friday!!!

25 March 2007

check it out

Twin has posted the funniest movie starring the Wee Wonderful dolls I made. We had so much fun yesterday making it. (FYI in bookish circles, your "TBR" is your "to be read" pile. Twin has a mountain of books in her TBR. My Wee dolls generally sit atop this mountain. So that's how it all started...) check it out.

24 March 2007

not quite sprung

Sometimes living in the city, it's hard to know what nature is doing beyond the concrete expanses where we pass most of our days. I was just sure that spring had sprung, and if I went to prospect park I would find ample evidence of it. You know, flowers. buds. bright green growth. As it turns out, not so much. Still brown and bare and wintry. Which has a beauty all its own, but I'm pretty much over it. When Twin and I spied the wee little honeysuckle flowers in the picture above, we stopped our walk, crowded around it, and just about gave it a standing ovation. Brave little flowers. (At least I think it's honeysuckle. Sure smelled like honeysuckle, though that is a smell I associate with a languid Virginia August, not a chilly New York March.)

People always say we wouldn't appreciate spring and summer as much if we didn't have winter to compare it to. I think that's a bunch of hooey. I think I could appreciate a perfect 80degree day every single day of the year.

Biscuits and creamed chicken should soothe my disappointment just about right, though. There's not much that biscuits and creamed chicken can't fix.

happy saturday friends.

21 March 2007

poofy shirt

Simplicity 3887. This pattern is suh-weet. Amy made one. Mary made one. I made mine with a crazy Amy Butler print on the collar. I think this is my favorite way to use Amy Butler prints. A little Amy Butler goes a long way, is my thinking. I'm not so sure about these elastic-gathered sleeves. It's a little...ummm...poofy. I'm hoping when I wash it the gray cotton will relax a little. [no, i do not pre-wash my fabrics. I definitely should. One day it's going to bite me in the ass. Once that happens, I will probably begin pre-washing. Or once I get a washer/dryer in the house. Whichever comes first.]

Tonight a friend and I went to a talk given by a group of NYC photobloggers. Sartorialist was there looking extremely dapper. Also a couple new-to-me bloggers. Raul Gutierrez's photography is breathtaking. Matthew Powell of MDPNY gave a really inspiring presentation about his photography. He takes candid street shots mostly around Times Square and he talked about how he first began photographing the area as a way to overcome his dislike for all the noise and bustle, which I definitely sympathize with. He captures some amazing moments, from the intimate to the absurd. I love how his photography feels so alive with people. Really really great.

And now I feel all inspired to continue with the project I started last fall in which I was going to use my camera to get chummy with NYC. You know, that project that petered out after one installment. sigh. It got cold? That is a lame excuse. But it will, at least in theory, be getting warm in NYC sometime soon, so I am resolving to recommence with the getting chummy. Wait for it.

Thanks for all the nice comments about the book cover, yall know how to make a girl feel all warm inside. Wishing you equal warmth, both literally and figuratively. Oh and happy spring equinox!

17 March 2007

very important literature

Twin loves to read. She gobbles up novels at an incredible rate. She reads all sorts of books, but mostly romance novels. Because sometimes you need a happy ending, if only in your reading. We always laugh, though, at some of the heinously ugly covers that come on romance novels. Fabio man-titty and wind-swept heroines bulging out of their corsets and all that. No matter how much you love reading romance, there are some covers that are just a little embarrassing to whip out on the subway. Thus the "very important literature" on her book cover.

Bright and cheerful lining. I actually do love this cover for The Windflower. Classic, huh?

This was really easy to make. I just made a simple panel lined with a heavy canvas, then stitched the two flaps in toward the center. I'd sewn up a bookmark in fabric to match the lining, but then forgot to sew it in. Oopsy. i blindstitched it on later. Jennie's going to test-drive this and see what other features it needs. I think she needs a set of bookcovers to choose from.

And oh, lookie, lookie. I had clipped this jacket out of the anthro catalogue and jennie must have seen me sighing and gazing wistfully at it one too many times, because she brought it home for me last night. She's been doing a lot of freelance work and since I generally cook for her when she's buried in paperwork, she gave it to me as a thank you. How nice was that?! Maude is going to wear the jacket until warmer weather arrives and I can wear it. That way I can gaze at it anytime I like.

Might be waiting a little while for that warm weather, though. At least March snow melts very quickly. Slushy and drippy. mmmm, fun.

12 March 2007

linen bags

When Twin models for me she tells me very specifically not to get her face in the frame. Mwahahaha. I don't pay the least bit of attention to that. She looks very pensive, doesn't she? The bag is a gift for my etsy customer numero uno, aka the woman who birthed me. She ordered some cards about two weeks ago, but I didn't mail them, intending to make a little something extra for her to stick in the package. And the weeks tick by and she wonders if maybe I forgot to mail her order. eeeep. But it's in the mail now! Promise! And see what you get for your patience. A somewhat oddly tall tote bag. Lined in a bright lime green and appliqued with some leafy spring goodness. The handles are also somewhat oddly long. Good thing you are so tall, mama.

And more linen bags. Little lunch sacks. For sale in the etsy shop. I think perhaps I am channeling my inner Japanese Craft Book. Too cute! Toooooo cuuuuuuute!

I am doing my laundry tonight. It had gotten to the point where I was wearing dress slacks every day and the socks with the holes. The socks that thought they had retired, gone to laze the rest of their days at the very bottom of the drawer. But they've been pressed into service this week, along with the underoos that really should only be rags. The laundromat is just around the corner, but I have this thing about only making one trip. So I use this huge backpack that is (quite literally) as tall as me. Then I carry an equally enormous fabric carryall over one shoulder. In this way, I am able to shuffle slowly and awkwardly to the laundromat with four loads of laundry in tow. I could get a granny cart if I weren't so stubborn. Because then I would be a real New Yorker, and I don't think I'm ready for that.

And now that I have told you in exhaustive detail all about my laundry (which you find immensely interesting, I'm sure), I have to go back to the laundromat, fill up my bags, and shuffle back to the house. But at least I'll have fresh sheets to sleep on, and my little toes will be properly clad tomorrow.

10 March 2007

a few favorite new resources

My mom is an eBay-er extraordinaire. Packages mysteriously appear on my doorstep with the most awesome goodies inside. This week I received Lippincott's Clothing for Women. This edition was published in 1929 and is part of a whole series of Lippincott's Home Manuals. Other volumes include Housewifery, Successful Canning and Preserving, Social Problems of the Family, and Household Arithmetic, among others. I am so excited about this book. It has instructions for drafting and altering patterns, construction techniques, basics of seam finishes, and decorative stitches. The details about hand sewing techniques are great (obviously, having been published in 1929, I would not recommend this as a beginning sewing primer. Unless you happen to have a treadle machine). My favorite part of the book is the "Suggested Detailed Clothing Spending Plan." In 1929, if your income was $1500/year, they suggest spending $270/year on grooming and clothing. And you should buy your winter coat during the January sales, spending $60 every third year.

Chemise and drawers combined. A couple more pictures on flickr if you want to see more. I'm dying to do some hand smocking. Sounds like just my cup of tea.

A couple other resources I'm loving:
1. Mom's Patterns. Vintage patterns. She also has an eBay store. Really great inventory of patterns and you can search by size or pattern brand. The owner is also really nice and is very meticulous about her goods. I've been really happy with the patterns I've gotten from her. Also check out her great page of links.

2. Google Notebook. Do you have a Google Notebook? It's like a digital notepad. Right-click an image or block of text that you find on the internet and save it to your notebook. The items you clip are saved along with the URL where you found them, so you can go back to the item's original location on the web. You can also set up multiple notebooks--I have a "clothes sewing inspiration," a "cards/patterns inspiration," and of course a "gimme gimme wishlist" notebook. It's great, I love it, you should get one.

And after a week of bitterly cold weather, there is a hint of spring in the air here. h o o r a y.
wishing you mild skies and a happy saturday!

07 March 2007

on twin and twin-ness

Late nights at work and freezing temperatures have put a halt to the crafting around here. Not that cold weather technically precludes crafting, but it certainly doesn't put me in the mood for much besides snuggling in front of the tv with a few good movies. So instead I bring you gratuitous twin cuteness. Because the only thing cuter than baby pictures is baby pictures in stereo.

A few frequently asked twin questions:

Did your parents dress you alike when you were little?
Yes. It scarred me for life. No, just kidding. Mom generally just bought 2 of everything for the sake of simplicity. Occasionally, perhaps on laundry day, she might get us both in the same outfits. But then one of us would upchuck on our outfit and require new togs, thus destroying the cute matchiness. Special holidays, of course, did involve special matching outfits.

Which of you is older?
Twin. By 45 minutes. (Yes, here you can insert a groan of sympathy for the suffering of our dear mother.) Family legend has it that after kicking Twin out of the womb, I enjoyed the spaciousness so much that I was in no hurry to follow her. I can be pretty stubborn sometimes.

Do you feel each other's pain?

Can you read each other's thoughts?

What's it like to be a twin?
I never know how to answer that question. It's like having a sister. Who happens to look a lot like you. But I've always wondered what it would be like to be a triplet.

Are you very similar?
Yes and no. I guess in broad terms, we are very alike. Quiet and introverted. Resistant to change. Slow to process thoughts and feelings. But in the details, we can be very different, even opposites. Twin loves red and bold colors; I love neutrals and browns. Twin doesn't like it when the foods on her plate touch each other; I enjoy mixing it all up (partly because I like it that way, partly for the fun of watching her squirm).

Did you ever switch places just to confuse people?
Not very often. We could never fool the people who know us best. And generally when we meet new people, we are trying to help them see the differences between us, rather than trick them into confusing us. Though we did once switch language classes for a day in high school. I went to Twin's Latin class, and she went to my French class. Not an overly brilliant choice, as I spoke not a word of Latin, and she knew maybe 2 words of French. Luckily my high school French teacher was the most delightfully scatter-brained woman. She didn't notice a thing.

Do you look exactly alike?
No. I'm prettier.

Do you like being a twin?
Yes. I highly recommend it. Support, love, companionship, tolerance--all built in from birth. If you or someone you love finds out you are having twins, DO NOT PANIC. It's a good thing. Trust me.

Happy hump day. See you on the other side.

04 March 2007

linen tunic smocky dress thing

Or maybe you can just call it a muu-muu (moo-moo? mumu? moooooooooo. mooooooooooo.) A couple weeks ago, I absolutely fell in love with this dress that Fanja of le train fantôme made. It's just gorgeous. (As is her blog.) She used a vintage pattern but I said to myself "oh, I don't need a pattern. I'll just figure it out as I go along; it can't be too difficult." Erm, vaulting ambition o'erleaping itself and all that. My first version, which I had luckily decided to make out of muslin, had armholes so small I couldn't fit my arms through. That will never do.

I eventually got it to look like I wanted, and Twin had the nice idea to use the inverted pleat instead of gathering to make it look a little less moo-moo-y.

The linen I got thanks to the tip from Liesl about Grayline Linens. The store is just nine blocks from my office! EEE! I went at lunch on Friday and I was just giddy. I think the fellow cutting my fabric got the wrong impression because I had this big goofy grin on my face. No, I am not salivating over your bulging pectorals, young man, I am salivating over this linen. (ok, I guess I did notice his fine physique, but I was MUCH more interested in the linen.)

I thought the selvage was so beautiful I used it instead of a regular hem.

And here's the rest of my haul. I am always drawn to the neutral, brown-y tones but I have such a hard time wearing them because I am so fair-skinned. I was happy to find the beautiful blue, which does not make me look like the walking dead. Quite the reverse.

And now I leave you with a peep. PEEP!!