Friday, December 27, 2013

Going Back to Cali

I did it.  I took my toddler on a cross-country flight, all by myself.  I'm not sure I would've done it if I'd known we were going to add 3 hours to the flight so we could "refuel in Salt Lake City due to the strong headwinds," - an excuse I still don't believe, given I've flown this route a million times since 1992 and never encountered that issue.  But luckily we had an absolutely charming 10 year old boy sitting behind us who was willing to copy every noise J made for hours on end.  This was her feet through most of the flight, trying to scale the back of her seat as she air kissed, spit and squealed at her new friend.

The red-eye return trip kind of sucked since (as I learned later) my girl had mild pneumonia, water in her lungs and a double ear infection.  If there's a prize for observant mothering, I apparently am not winning it!

But the point of the trip was to see some of my west coast family for a pre-Christmas Christmas because none of us wants to travel during the real week.  It's nice: you get a tree together, play Christmas music, open presents and pretend it's the real thing. And I took pictures of none of these things since I was for once living in the moment and forgetting to record it!

Which gets me to the MADE part of the post.  You may remember I made this lovely wallet for myself earlier this year.

It's a great pattern from Blush Bunny that you can get here - and though time consuming (some hand work), totally worth it and not that hard since the instructions are so detailed.  I'm going to say it's about a five-hour project from ironing to final thread clip.  Seven if you're making two!

This time around I made the credit card slots a quarter of an inch narrower (my cards fall out sometimes because the slots are a touch too wide) and I used a medium-weight interfacing, which gave it a more structured feel than mine has.  For my sister I used this really pretty muted fabric with maroon accents.  In case you hadn't noticed, that pink/lavender color is my favorite right now.

For my mom, who like me does not fear the bright, I went with this fabric.

A little modern, but one of my favorite color combinations.

I was practically finishing them on the way to the airport so I didn't get any photos prior to wrapping.  When I grabbed them a few hours later to take pictures, they had both already been filled by their respective recipients.  I'm taking that as a compliment.

Hint for next year: start the Made gifts in November.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Let's Hear It For New York

Sometimes you have to take a little break from creating to fill the inspiration well - and there's no better place for that than NYC.  I went to school there and have been back many times, but you can only visit the old haunts so many times before it gets repetitive.  The key to keeping it new, we've found, is to have a project in mind.  We've dedicated past trips to baking supply stores, specialized spices (Kalustyan's!) and Christmas windows.  What always gets me about New York is how all-out it goes on everything.

With Windsor Button shutting down in Boston this year, there is just no good shop for ribbons and notions in my neck of the woods.  Sure, every fabric store carries the basics, but sadly the largest selection you'll ever find here is at Joann's.  So this weekend, the hunt was on for buttons and ribbons.  We started with some basic fabric shopping, but in the garment district it's just too overwhelming.


Wool suiting.  Almost makes me want to be a lawyer again.

Then we hit the notions stores.  M&J Trimming was my favorite and had the best conversations to eavesdrop on ("What are you thinking? It's for a tweed coat, not a caftan!").
One of many button walls

The grosgrain ribbon wall.  Take that, Michael's!

Aha, where Carrie must have shopped on SITC

The fabulous rotating wedding cake display

I also loved B&J's around the corner - so many feathers and fake flowers it made me consider millinery.  Another sweet shop, with less selection and an older feel was Tender Buttons.  A long, narrow, hallway of a store with excellent selection and antique buttons on display:

After all the fabric and button shopping, Mr. Responsibility got his day at a REAL museum and we checked out the new Islamic Gallery at the Met.  We both like Islamic art, but I've always been more attracted to the swoops of the calligraphy than to the geometrics:
Tughra (official signature) of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificen 
The mother of all chevrons
Soaking in this exhibit it hit me for the first time how easily the geometric patterns could transfer to quilting, and I developed a new appreciation/obsession.

It was a lovely weekend - but the best part was being able to order appetizers and meals and dessert and coffee, knowing there was no toddler getting antsy in her booster seat.  I ate a pound of gruyere in one sitting in honor of J's Grandma, the frenchy cook.

Showing respect
It was a great weekend - now back to the drawing board.