Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Color Me Happy

My very best friend from college and her family were visiting from Philly, and I decided it would be nice to make her children a gift for when they arrive. (In reality, I was just trying to buy their affection ... I was afraid they wouldn't like me!!)

Anyway ... I went to the fabric store and picked out some happy Amy Butler and Kaffe Fassett fabrics (and some others that I don't remember the name of), and set to work ...

Don't the colors in these fabrics just make you happy??

I decided to keep it simple and make the same thing for all three children.
Again ... I wanted them to like me. And, how could they like me if they were disapponted that their brother or sister got a cooler gift than they did?
(Of course, I didn't consider the possibility that they might all three dislike their gifts ...)

Have you guessed what they are yet??

Crayon Rolls!!!
Suzanne let me borrow a quilting magazine that had the directions,
and I tweaked them a little bit to fit what I was wanting to do.
Pay no attention to how sad my crayons look ... I didn't have time to run to the store and buy brand new pointy crayons for the photo shoot. Just consider them well-loved and much-used!
Mary's children love to draw in their nature books, so I thought they might each appreciate having their own portable crayon holder to carry with them.

This one reminds me of ice cream. Yum.

This is the one I made for their son ... I figured it was boyish enough.
(at least I hope it is!)

And, the best part of the whole project ...
I personalized them!
They each have their names appliqued on the back!
I always LOVED having things with my name on them when I was growing up, and I thought it would make for a more special gift.

I'll let you know how they liked them after their visit!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Big Apple ... Part Deux

OK, so where was I in my NYC story? Oh yes ... we had just finished having breakfast with my super-cool french parents. After that ... let's see ... oh, of course ... this will be no surprise to you, given my previous confessions of my addiction ... but you know, no trip to Manahattan would be complete without the obligatory frappucino in Times Square. Now, I must tell you that it was cold in Manhattan that day ... I think the high might have been 38. Being from the south, this is indeed very cold. But, as any of my good friends will tell you, it is never too cold for a frappucino. I gladly sipped my frappucino while walked through Manhattan decked out in my wool coat, warm scarf, and red mittens.

This was the perfect occasion to induct Joy into the coffee cozy club.

After our caffeine-infusion, we headed down (via subway) to Soho to take in the boutiques and - we hoped - some star sightings. We hopped into a few shops, including one for designer Catherine Malandrino, whose clothes - I must say - are exquisite. The detail is incredible. If I were wealthy, I would definitely shop there. We also made the obligatory stop at the MAC store (not to be confused with the Apple Store), where we saw their new line of Hello Kitty cosmetics. Yes ... that's right. I said Hello Kitty cosmetics. Who would have ever known??

It was necessary to take a picture of Ann with the gigantic Hello Kitty head in the window.

On the way out of Soho, while we were lamenting the fact that we had not seen any celebrities during our brief jaunt there, our luck changed when, to our surprise, our new BFF Mikhail Baryshnikov passed us on the sidewalk. He looked directly at both me and Joy, as if he were daring us to recognize him. I knew him immediately ... not because I am a ballet fanatic, or even because he once played the golf course I work at, but - sadly - because I had seen him while (in a moment of weakness) watching Sex in the City reruns on TBS. Yes ... I admit it. I have watched that show. And, I kinda liked it ... mostly for the fashion (particularly the shoes). And, I must say that my brush with fame in NYC was on a much bigger (albeit older) scale than my recent brush with fame in Charleston.

After Soho, we made it up to the Upper West Side, to roam around some other boutique-y places and eat a Gray's Papaya Hot Dog. Apparently they are famous. Who knew?? Ann & Joy informed me that the specific Gray's Papaya Hot Dog joint that we visited was the very one in You've Got Mail (you know ... where Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan go to grab a bite to eat before he reveals to her that he loves her). There's nothing more romantic than eating a hotdog and then confessing your love for someone. I mean, really. So ... the whole hot-dog-eating thing can be chalked up (once again) to my whole out-of-the-box in 2009 resolution. I never eat hotdogs, but I ate one for the whole experience, and it wasn't all that bad - not that I'm going to start eating them every week or anything, though!

This sign cracked me up ... the Big Bad Recession even affects hot dog prices!!!
Oh ... and since when do we put the words "gourmet" and "hot dog" in the same sentence??

After our hot dog dinner, we made our way (again, via subway) back to Times Square to pick up our car and head out of the city for Dover, Delaware, to see Ann's brother and his wife. I snapped this photo in the subway ... there was this band playing incredible music for tips. It so much reminded me of the Metro in Paris, where you could always count on seeing talented artists trying to make a living. I could have stood there listening for hours ...

That pretty much sums up our whole adventure in The Big Apple ... I intentionally left out the part about the man who was yelling obscenities while being pinned to the floor by the police in the subway, and the part about the high-speed police chase we witnessed on the New Jersey Turnpike ... oh and also the part about how we realized how bad mapquest directions are after having crossed the same bridge three times within a span of 10 minutes while trying to get out of the city. No need to mention these unpleasant parts of the trip ... let's just remember it for what it was - a super-fun out-of-the-box adventure that I will never regret!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Red, My French Parents, and The Big Apple

Two weeks ago, I was presented with an opportunity to take a quick trip to New York City on Valentine's weekend, to see the parents of the family I lived with when I was studying in Paris. Ordinarily, my everything-needs-to-be-planned-months-in-advance self would have shuddered at the thought of throwing caution to the wind and buying a plane ticket a week in advance without knowing where I would stay, how I would get around, or what I would do when I was there. But, I have deemed 2009 to be the year when I live OUTSIDE of my box ... and so far I have to say that I have not regretted it.

SO ... last Friday, I hopped a plane to Washington, DC and met up with my dear friend Ann and her friend Joy, who were my traveling buddies on our adventure to Manahattan. Because of the Big Bad Recession, we tried to do this trip on-the-cheap. So, we set off in the car for West Point, NY, about an hour outside the Big Apple, where Joy had a good friend who would let us stay overnight. Despite the rush hour traffic in Washington and the crazy toll booths on the New Jersey Turnpike, it was a really fun drive, and a great time to catch up with Ann & Joy. We were exhausted by the time we pulled into West Point, so it was good to have a warm bed to sleep in ... and even better that it was decked out in red and white polka dotted sheets.

Yes, I took pictures.

I - needless to say - felt right at home in my room.

I mean ... look at these pillows. Have you ever seen happier pillows???
Whew ... it's a good thing I didn't leave my new checkbook cover on the bed ... It might have gotten lost in the polka dots!!!

OK ... enough about my love for obsession with the color red.

We woke up early Saturday morning and drove into Manahattan to see my french parents. It was a fun drive ... there is nothing like driving right through Times Square to get you excited about being back in New York. Seriously ... nothing like it. I mean ... just look at it!!

These pictures were taken later in the day (probably more like evening-time).
I love that there is no want of things to grab your attention in Times Square.
It's overwhelming!
I mean ... let's face it. I grew up on an island. Times Square is unreal to me.

Anyway ... back to my story. So, Virginie & Daniel didn't have much free time in their schedule, so we met them at their hotel and had a lovely breakfast together. They are just as warm and friendly as they always were, and it seemed like we picked right back up where we left off the last time I saw them (four years ago, when I was in Paris for the Paris Marathon). They are the kind of people that you want to introduce all your friends to, because you just can't stand that someone you care about doesn't know them. You know what I mean? Do you know people like that? I do ... and it was SO good to see them again.

Here we are after breakfast.
Maybe I should work on getting out of my black-clothing box in 2009 ...

There's more to the NYC trip than just this, but this post is getting pretty long, so I think I'll end with one thought, and continue with the rest in another post ... As much as I would love to be married and have children right now, I will say that the freedom afforded by singleness is really quite nice. Many of my married friends have often reminded me that I should take full advantage of my single years, since they are only for a season, and with the blessing of marriage comes responsibility and commitment and a surrendering of one's own needs & desires for the benefit of others. So, as much as I plead with the Lord for a husband and a family of my own, I am thankful to Him in my singleness for providing this opportunity to take off for the weekend and see dear friends on an adventure in NYC! Yay! More to come ...

Friday, February 6, 2009

I Love Red!

This Wednesday ... on my day off ... while I was battling a cold ... I decided to try something new in my studio ...

I am a sucker for red ... and linen ... and cute polka dot fabric.

Have you guessed what it is, yet?

Yep ... a checkbook cover
... for my new checkbook
... for my new business!
More on that later.

I put a little pocket for business cards, too,
because you know I'll be handing them out! ;o)

This project really came together just exactly as I had envisioned it ...
and it wasn't too hard, either!
I am already thinking of a few variations,
and I could imagine it in all sorts of fun colors and fabrics
... and personalized with initials.

What do you think ... would YOU use one of these?

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's Official ... I am a Procrastinator

OK ... so remember way back in September, when I posted about this really fun fabric and the plans that I had for it? And remember also when I posted a sneak peek of the almost-finished final product like a month later?

Well ... I am here to tell you that today - 4 months later - I'm done. I would be lying if I told you that it took me every bit of those 4 months to put the finishing touches on ... in reality, it just took some searching for the right kind of clasps and about 5 minutes of sewing. I got the clasps well over a month ago, and I finally sat down for the 5-minute sewing session this weekend. I think it's safe to say that I have a procrastination problem ... that, or a time-management problem. Either one is disturbing.

Ann ... if you are reading this, I plan to put your laptop case in the mail this week! Finally! Hope you like it!!

Here it is!
It has two short handles and a detachable shoulder strap (thus my need to find clasps!).
Besides the big, roomy zipper-compartment for the laptop, it also has a pocket for papers on the outside and another zip pocket for cords, etc...
Oh, and the little ribbon bow is detachable. Just a fun little girly addition.

A close-up of the inside. Polka dots everywhere!
You can't really tell, but I definitely finished ALL the seams, so that there are no raw edges showing. It took a LOT of sewing to do this, but I think it was worth it.

Here's a close-up of the outside pocket and zip pouch.
Don't you just LOVE this fabric?