Sunday, June 29, 2008

You put your left foot in...

I had a really stressful and busy week at work last week (huge project, plus juggling multiple little projects, Kelly the fab assistant out with lyme disease, insane condo board meeting, and no time to post or to catch up on reading all your fabulous posts), and this video cheered me a little. Except for the part about how I can't dance like that.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Rainy Home Companion

I grew up listening to Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion every Saturday night. I loved the familiar notes of the opening song,* the goofy commercials for duct tape, rhubarb pie and Powdermilk Biscuits, the guy who makes all the sound effects, and the folksy News From Lake Wobegon. Although the show is taped live at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul each week, the majority of the audience is via radio. From time to time they take the show on the road; I've seen it live once at Radio City Music Hall many, many moons ago, and each summer it comes to Tanglewood for one show.

The BF and I were going to drive up to Tanglewood to see tonight's live broadcast, but alas, this is the forecast: thunderstorms, followed by scattered thunderstorms. Not conducive to sitting outside on the lovely Tanglewood lawn or under their metal and wood Music Shed filled with electrical equipment.

Sigh. Oh well, there's always next year...

*Well look who's comin'
Through that door
I think we've met somewhere before
Hello Love
Hello Love
Now where in the world
You've been so long?
I've missed you so since you've been gone
Hello Love...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

New bird on the block No. 22

{Another Sweet Bird Tassel, by NestingPlace and available in her Etsy shop}

This may be the bird that breaks the camel's back, so to speak. When I first started these New Bird posts, it was a way that I could covet and enjoy all the little birdie things that catch my eye, without depleting my bank account. But this Sweet Bird Tassel, by Nesting Place, is divine, and may have to come and feather my nest. Nesting Place uses high end fringes, ribbons and trims to make "the prettiest things you'll never need." I love tassels and pipings and trims, they take your basic pillows, drapes, etc. to the next level. You can glam up the most humble Ikea linen curtains with ribbon trim or mini-tassels and an hour or so of straight sewing on the old Singer. And a tassel on a knob dresses up a door, dresser or sideboard nicely, while providing hours of enjoyment for the cat!

Many thanks to Julia at Hooked on Houses for leading me to The Nester's blog and subsequently her Etsy shop. If I buy all her tassels, I can blame Julia!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cigars and Ice Cream

I have this amusing (to me) habit of editing people's grocery lists. If I'm at their house and their grocery list is on the fridge or counter, I will secretly add two items, "cigars" and "ice cream". I will try to copy their handwriting as much as possible. I do not stick around to see if they notice. I have been caught only once.

Diana's post at Please Sir yesterday sends you to {this is glamorous} which in turn sends you to artist Frances Trombly, who has recreated everyday objects out of fabric and yarn, including a Publix grocery receipt. This reminded me (a) I love the internet and (b) of this book Milk Eggs Vodka, which I once stood laughing over in Borders for way too long (without buying, sorry Bill Keaggy). Bill has collected hundreds of discarded shopping lists and assembled them into a
sometimes sad ("if enough money, buy chips"), often humorous ("squirt gun, hot peppers, bee trap, pie pans") but always fascinating snapshot of how random our collective needs are (and how bad our collective spelling is). The more incongruous the list of items, the more you have to wonder about who was buying them and why. He even wrote a Short Story About Life Based on Other People's Grocery Lists (note, you have to hover your mouse over the lists to get the advance arrows). Here are a few of the many lists he features in the book:

{My grandma used to recycle old envelopes and reuse them for phone messages and shopping lists. To my knowledge she never used the credit card payment form though. You know, the one with the credit card account number on it and your full address? Not too bright Mr. Coffee and Beer...}

{Note the second line "if you buy more rice I'll punch you!" I'm thinking one spouse writes the list and the other spouse is bad shopper...}

{I've been there sister.}

Since he is still collecting lists, there are hundreds more on his website, but so far none of them say "cigars" and "ice cream". Yet.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

{Dad on his 65th, photo by Chris Adams}

My Dad's been an off-and-on bicyclist for as long as I can remember, but he really took to it with fervor when he retired two years ago. He rides probably 30 to 40 miles a day as long as it is not snowing. Neither rain, nor cold, nor heat shall keep him from his appointed rounds! Here he is at Lighthouse Point in New Haven on his 65th birthday, April 3, 2007. He'd had a goal of riding a metric century (100 km, or 62 miles) for his birthday, and since it was such a nice day out, he and his biking buddy did 65 miles, one for each of his years.
He is also an avid kiter, making his own kites and leading kite-making workshops. He's always on the lookout for some nifty materials for making kite templates or for indoor mini-kites. If you give him a gift wrapped in mylar or that gauzy tissuepaper that resembles colored dryer sheets, he squirrels the wrapping paper away for later use the way my grandmothers did. Only they would use it to wrap another gift; he will use it in some kite-making scheme.

{The Master at work at a kite-making workshop, photo by Mantaray. Note, Dad's sewing machine is nicer than mine or my Mom's.}

{The finished product, photo by Postman1107. This kite is actually 8 connected kites. I love the tails!}

{Up and away, photo by Postman110.}

I love you Daddy, Happy Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Peonies, redux

{Prom Dress and Peonies, original painting by Fifi Flowers}

Interweb, behold the fabulousness. Very late Saturday night I posted a photo of some peonies I picked in my mom's garden. In the wee hours of Sunday morning, the lovely and talented Fifi Flowers was the first comment (it wasn't quite as late on the west coast) saying she'd like to paint them. Of course I said yes!

Sunday morning I woke up, put the kettle on, and fire up the laptop, and there in my inbox is a mysterious email from Fifi: If you want to be surprised don't open this until Wednesday Morning... I love surprises but am terribly nosy and nosiness won out. Ta da! It was the painting above. She whipped it up that quickly! Note the drapes which are inspired by my prom dress, and the pillow on the settee, which was New Bird No. 2, from one of my first posts. Here is something uncanny - in my living room I have french doors that open onto a wrought iron balcony. But Fifi does not know that... or won't until she reads this post.

Thank you Fifi for making my day, and for preserving my lovely flowers in paint. The real ones are spent, and have exploded in that way that peonies do when their time is up.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Peonies from Mumsie's garden

{pink peonies, originally uploaded by robinsegg0523}

Thursday, June 5, 2008

You know you are old when your prom dress is "vintage"

{Vintage '80s Gunne Sax taffeta dress, photo from Midnight Glamour}

When I think "Vintage Prom Dress", I imagine a spiffy little number from the 40s, a Dior "New Look" full-skirted, wasp-waist frock from the 50s, or a something mod or Jackie-esque from the 60s. So I am a little disturbed today to learn that my prom dress is considered "vintage". I sported the lovely black & white number above to my high school prom, only 24 years ago. While everyone else was wearing pastel prairie dresses and lace, I was pushing the ol' fashion envelope. Well, as much as one could push it, back then in the 80's, when it was already pushed pretty far. We had our prom at a very grown-up catering hall. Our theme was the power ballad of the decade, "Heaven" by Bryan Adams. The DJ used a turntable, and played records (I was tempted to link that to a wikipedia entry for all you young'uns).

Midnight Glamour sold the above dress (and no I did not buy it) for $135, pretty close to what Mumsie shelled out in 1984 at the Jordan Marsh Department Store. But let me tell you, we sure got her money's worth:

  1. Wore it to my Junior Prom in 1984.
  2. Update (June 7) Wore it to emcee "Mr. Advocate" high school pageant*
  3. Wore it to someone else's Junior Prom in 1985.
  4. Had my grandmother (a seamstress) shorten it to "tea length" and wore it to some guy's college formal at SUNY Maritime in 1986.
  5. Had grandma deconstruct it and sew the knee-length skirt to a drop waist black taffeta bodice with big puffy sleeves (please try to remember this was the 80s, people) and wore it to a formal at my college in 1987 with some guy from SUNY Maritime.
  6. Wore it to yet some other guy's college formal at SUNY Maritime in 1987 (what can I say, I liked a man in uniform).

Stopped short of a Molly Ringwald/Pretty in Pink New Wave redesign of the dress. I think it went to Goodwill after that. Adding in the cost of the additional fabric (but not for labor -- for that was priceless) and dry cleaning, the average cost per wear was about $29. Not bad, eh?

I almost wish I still had it in its original incarnation, because I still think it is pretty cute. I have no idea where the heck I would wear it though!

*The Advocate was our HS newspaper and every year we did a "pageant" as a fundraiser. The contestants were all boys. It was a lot of fun, especially the big opening dance number. We had some good sports at our school.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

New bird on the blah-blah-block No. 21

I love this chatty bird, he reminds me of ME! I am always talking. I remember getting in trouble as early as kindergarten for too much talking (sorry Mrs. Massaro!). All my grammar school report cards said "Excellent work, talks too much in class".

You can buy a print of this birdy or some of his friends in Corid's Etsy shop. Thanks to Suzanne for introducing me to Corid via her blog S.HOPtalk.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I love my DVR, and Sarah Richardson

I have been battling The Mother of All Colds since Tuesday night, hence the lack of posts. Between fits of coughing and being in a coma sleeping, I have been learning how to program my new DVR (yes, I am late to the game). Now that I have this newfangled toy, I can catch all the design shows that I can never remember when they are on, including one of my favorite Canadian designers, Sarah Richardson. I had my own mini-marathon of her yesterday. I love her style, her sass (in the episode with the LR/DR combo (pics below) she kept replaying the tape of the client saying "I defer to you" every time the client disagreed!) and that she is not afraid to show her clients used furniture that can be reupholstered vs the "all new all the time" approach that others have.

{client kitchen before}

{client kitchen after}

{client living/dining room before}

{and after. ALL photos from Fine Living Network site}

I also like that she shows the sometimes tedious and non-glamorous side of the all the details and time that go into a design project. Things like having furniture delivered, taken away, redelivered, etc. so the client can see it in the space. Or waiting around for the client to meet them on the shopping trip, or going to ten different shops to find the right sofa, or finding out that because of one delay, the whole project is on hold until the carpenter is available again. Too many design shows, in an effort to keep up with the pacing and presto-chango that viewers expect after seeing "reality" design shows like While You Were Out, Trading Spaces and the completely unrealistic Extreme Makeover, make it seem like the Magic Decor Fairies come in and do everything overnight.

A-M over at The House that A-M Built, is chronicling the long process of having a house built from the ground up, and the millions of tiny decisions that go along with it. She started on April 1 when they acquired the land. The first hole wasn't dug until May 28. Where are those magic overnight fairies when you need them?