Friday, December 31, 2010

Beach, Bags, Reflections, and Sunsets

Robb and I spent Christmas in Southern California with my was a longer trip than was expected, but that turned out to be just fine. Robb was supposed to head back to Brooklyn on Sunday and wound up having to stay until Wednesday...poor guy, stuck with the crazy inlaws, right? To make our delay a little more fun, I declared that Monday should be spent doing something insanely Californian. So we woke up, drove Las Virgenes Highway down to the beach, ate some seafood from a shack while heating up in the sun, then drove down to Leo Carrillo to look at the tide pools (which we couldn't find due to high tide), watch surfers, skip stones, feel the cold water wash over our feet and suck our heels deeper into the sand. As the sun set, we drove through Topanga Canyon, stopped at thrift shops, and bought Robb a brand new pair of cowboy boots from the Boot Barn in Canoga Park. That night, we ate Wood Ranch Barbeque. Not too shabby, SoCal!

On the way to the airport the next day (another failed attempt at getting back to Brooklyn), we stopped at the beach again and took photos of my new batch of HeyAllday bags! You can check them out in my Etsy shop. I know I know...I'm a terrible business person. Where were these bags during the Christmas rush? Well...I didn't quite get around to photographing them. Sorry! But you know what? I'm not gonna beat myself up about it too much. In 2010 I accomplished two creative things I've always wanted to do but have been too overwhelmed to begin: I started a blog and I started an Etsy shop. At some point in the process, it became clear to me that neither of these ventures are about money or fame. They are about me sitting down to write a couple times a week; photographing anything and everything that I find beautiful (or hilarious); putting together a collection and noticing what I am drawn to; reaching out to friends and family to show them what I've done, and sometimes even showing the world what they've done. So I missed the Christmas's the least of my worries. For now, I'm daydreaming of spring and the kerchief headbands that I want to create and the people I want to meet and more In God We Trust backyard bazaars and a trip to Mexico that will likely influence my preferred color palette for the next year. A lot to look forward to, my friends. Thanks for following along this much more to come!

And finally, a sunset snap from the 23 Freeway in Thousand Oaks. The silhouette of this landscape is so familiar. I could probably draw its lines with my eyes closed.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cranberry Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

If you've ever hosted Thanksgiving, then you know that cranberry sauce is something that absolutely, no excuses, must be present on the table. However, even the greatest cranberry sauce enthusiasts only need a mere spoonful to go with their turkey. Hence, most people wind up with a disproportionatley large amount of cranberry sauce left over after T-Day dinner. If your sauce was splooged out of a can, then no love lost...straight into the trash it goes. But if your sauce was hand-crafted by your dear friend (as was the case with Julie's scrumptious cranberry sauce this year), you think twice before you toss it in the bin. And in our case, you get creative.

About two weeks after Thanksgiving, I spotted the tupperware in the back of the fridge holding said sauce, and the idea came to me in a flash: ICE CREAM! We pulled out the ice cream maker, ran to the store for heavy cream, and whipped up one of the most delectable ice cream flavors you've never had. The orange notes really came through, and the berries became like little sour cherries. Best of all, in each bite are those wintry spices like cloves and nutmeg, making this a true winter ice cream.

Since all of the Thanksgiving pies were long gone, instead we made cookies to go with the ice cream: oatmeal chocolate chip. We baked them just a minute longer than you should so they'd be nice and crispy, then piled some softened ice cream on top. Put another cookie on top, smoosh it down, and you've got yourself a mighty fine high-calorie holiday snack.

OMG, try this at home, people. For serious. And Julie, get your butt over here so I can make you one of these ASAP!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Craft Fair Debut

So I participated in a holiday bazaar! And I WON! Okay okay, there were no "winners." But the point is, I did not at the end of the day feel like a big loser. And that is a really good thing.

The bazaar took place in the back-room studio of my friend Shana's Greenpoint shop, In God We Trust. She is such a fireball of energy and awesomeness and great taste. The epically tall walls of the studio are covered in artwork and other curious decorations, which passerbys would admire with a museum-crawl slow walk as they perused the booths. My booth was planted right next to the booth for Shana's home shop (of which I wanted to buy 90% of the inventory, including a jadeite juicer and a horse head hook, which I DID buy). I asked the guy manning the booth if Shana has minions running around the Connecticut countryside buying up all of the cool antiques for her shops, and he tells me that she pretty much does all of it herself. At around noon, I watched Shana--all 100 pounds of her--lift a table and drag it across the courtyard with a cigarette dangling out of her mouth. And then my friend Morgan tells me about the drywall she pretty much single-handedly installed in their studio when they lived together. Basically, she is a force to be reckoned with, and I was honored to be part of her energy and her clique of crafters.

I brought in my fresh-from-the-printer HeyAllday Handmade business cards, and displayed them on the cross-stitched tablecloth that Aunt Ginny and Uncle Chuck gave me and Robb as a wedding gift. We were so terrified about people spilling mulled wine on the tablecloth, however, that we just used it as a runner and gave people dirty looks if they even thought about putting down their glass.

Here was the girl serving up said mulled wine--one of my besties and the greatest bar wench of all time, Morgan. Don't you want to drink glogg served by this girl?

And here are the little grocery-list notebooks that I made at the very last minute. Never have I made something so freaking adorable and yet so poorly constructed. Basically, these are made from cardstock that I covered in glue, then smoothed fabric over. I even went to my new favorite website--This to That--so that I could find out exactly what kind of glue I should use to glue paper to fabric. And then I went home and precisely did not follow those directions. I learned the hard way that wood glue makes light fabrics turn yellow and makes fabric feel downright sharp. The notebooks became free giveaways...given with a wink and an apology. Note to self: perfect by spring.

Speaking of spring, I believe that will be the time for my tote bags to shine. Look at the palette, people! This is clearly a springtime collection. Amazingly, despite the Easter colors, I sold about half of my stock. YAY! The reception was super positive, and overall it was SUCH a fun day. The people were lovely, the offerings were incredible, and I'm now basically addicted to craft fairs.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Bazaar Time!

Tomorrow is a big day kids: I'll be setting up camp at the In God We Trust Holiday Bazaar, selling my HeyAllday Handmade wares. We've got a plethora of tote bags, all of which have attached stuff bags so you can cram them down to size and stick them in your purse. Plus, in a moment of absolute crazed crafting last night, I even made a bunch of mini "grocery list" fabric-covered journals. May you never forget to buy the toilet paper ever again!

There will be 12 other vendors of handmade and vintage goodness, food from Roberta's, and FREE cocktails poured by my dear friend Morgan. If you're in Brooklyn, stop on by, won't you?

Saturday, December 11th
12 thru 6pm
In God We Trust
70-72 Greenpoint Ave
(near the corner of Franklin)
Brooklyn, NY 11222

(I am, officially, a bag lady.)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Manly Man Knits

Most men I've known in my life are fairly ambivalent about knits...particularly the handknit variety. Like if you make them a hat, that's pretty cool. If you don't, that's fine too. Beyond that, most knitwear for men can really walk the line of being weird/inappropriate/oddly feminine/itchy/hot/ugly. So sometimes it's best to avoid knitting for the men we love. Which is usually fine by the knitter's standards (more time to knit cool stuff for ME!). This is clearly a mutually beneficial arrangement.

But not so with Robb! Since the very beginning, this man has loved my knitting. He begs me to knit him things. I swear to you that he counts the projects I'm making and references how long it's been since I made something for him. ("But your last four projects have been for you...when do I get a sweater??") He is a very odd, very sweet duck. Due to his love of knits, it was no problem at all to get him to put on every knitted thing I've ever made for him at the same time so that I could take a photo and write about it.

The skinny brown scarf is pure cashmere.This is what got him hooked on the knits (he has excellent taste.) Next came the Blue Sky Alpacas chunky scarf, which is probably the most impractical thing I've ever knit for a man. Something like seven skeins later, we realized that it's so chunky he can't even ride a bike while wearing it (it limits his mobility) and it sheds all over his black pea coat like a mo-fo.

The hat came next--from Veronik Avery's Knitting Classic Style--and it is my pride and joy. I don't think I've ever made something for someone that is a better fit for their style and their head. We've nearly lost it several times, including in a wayward shopping cart at Home Depot, but two years later it's still with us, going strong.

The argyle socks (on his hands) are also from Knitting Classic Style. These are gorgeous specimens, though they may be as impractical as the Blue Sky Alpacas's best to handwash the socks so as not to ruin the duplicate-stitch argyle, but who in the world is ever going to handwash socks? Not Robb. And not me. They are "special occasion" socks.
So what's next? Well, last week was Robb's birthday. And we went shopping at Purl Soho. Finally, at last (now that we're married), Robb gets his sweater. He wants a cardigan with raglan sleeves and a zipper, and (gulp) I'll need to make the sweater up from scratch. Terrifying! Fun! Will I keep you updated on this adventure? You betcha.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In Defiance of Hat Mockery! my previous post I mentioned the If-Annie-Hall-Shopped-at-Anthropologie hat, perfectly aware that this is a pretty darn grandiose claim. As luck would have it, today in New York City it was raining a gross rainy rain. I pulled on my muck boots, a sweater and some jeans, and on my way out the door grabbed the If-Annie-Hall-Shopped-at-Anthropologie hat. I had a "go get 'em" attitude and a bright red umbrella. Rain could suck it.

On my way home, I stopped off at Robb's bar to surprise him with a quick hello. He and his cousin Tara were the only ones there, and as I crossed the street, I could see them squinting through the window and then erupt into laughter as they realized it was me. I figured they were just happy to see me, but it turns out, they were laughing at the hat. The first words, in fact, that came out of their mouths were "that hat looks FUNNY on you," which I could only sort of hear through muted laughter.

So, my friends, I'm afraid that my Annie Hall hat isn't as cool as I thought it was. BUT, since I promised, I had to show it to you anyway. I like to think that Annie herself had to endure the giggles of her peers and loved ones as she donned a tie and men's trousers for the first time. (Never mind that Annie Hall is a fictional character...don't ruin this for me!) That said, my theme for today is bravery in fashion, silliness, and a love for some things that others don't understand (but that they absolutely under no circumstances can take away).

I also like the hat when it's folded down like this, too. Makes me want a filterless cigarette and a stiff martini.