January 31, 2011

What I've Been Writing

I'm really sick. I couldn't even muster the energy to surf the Internet or return texts today. Scary. I got a stomach bug that Tessa had over the weekend. I guess that should have been expected since she literally puked all over me. The funny thing is I didn't even mind. I was just worried as hell. She is fine now. I'm the one who feels like death.

Anyway, here's a quickie little post with some links to stories I've written recently. Check them out if you have a minute. Hopefully I'll be back in the blog saddle tomorrow.

Loved doing this interview. Bonnie writes bunches of Katy Perry songs and told me that Katy Perry has the hottest body she's ever seen in person of any human being ever. And other such deep things...
Bonnie McKee: The Eternal Teenager

The story in which my fictional love affair with '60s era Dylan gets pretty much extinguished because, it turns out, consensus has it he was a cruel and heartless boyfriend...
5 Rainy Day Women: Bob Dylan's Muses

A fun how-to story for BMI's songwriters...
Heard But Not Seen: How Indie Songwriters Can Make It Big On-Screen

An interesting story that came together last minute with the help of my new-ish friend Robert Rodriguez, an authority on all things Beatles...
10 More Things You Might Not Know About John Lennon

Loved getting to exercise my crafty muscle in my freelance work and met a very cool chick -- Hannah Garrison from Wear Your Music -- in the process... 
No Strings Attached: How to Reuse Your Guitar Strings

And lots more news items and features for Gibson.com that you can check out here if you're interested.

January 29, 2011

Tessa and The Lion: Another Love Story

So I always think we've taken the best Tessa picture ever and then we take the actual best Tessa picture ever.

This one where she's biting her bottom lip, my favorite! (This week.) 

She loves this lion so much. It was a Craiglist find that was under the Christmas tree for her and it plays this jungle song that makes Nekos think of the Girls Gone Wild theme. I don't know how he'd know what that sounds like. 

I'm feeling under the weather but I am fighting the feeling. We're getting out of the house today to enjoy this weather! And then we're going to a dinner party at a friend's house. We'll have three babies there, each of which we're going to attempt to put to sleep so we adults can kick it in peace. Wish us luck.

January 28, 2011

Friday's Happy List

1) This plastic little kid plate. Good reminder. I need one myself. 
Source: Nutri Plate
 This one too! Less chiding and more fun, this one's called the Food Face Dinner Plate.

Source: PerpetualKid.com

These moccasin boots from Yuketen. Out of my price range, but they'd be pretty perfect with skinny jeans.

Source: Yuketen

This photo.

Source: Alexandrena Parker

This light. This tutorial on Design*Sponge shows how to make one yourself. I don't think I'm capable of that, but I've always loved big, cheesy light-up signs and dreamed of having one in our kitchen. Nekos needs to learn to operate a jigsaw. Although it was also pointed out to me that letter lights can be ordered from Urban Outfitters.

Source: Design*Sponge

Teen Vogue DIYs. This week I found some cool DIY fashion projects on the Teen Vogue website. These are my two favorite ...

The jewelry designer behind Lulu Frost posted this tutorial about how to string together several vintage necklaces and broaches to make something like this:

Source: Teen Vogue

The two designers behind The Veronica Beards offered this tutorial on sewing together a schoolboy blazer and a hoodie:
Source: Teen Vogue

This decanter set. I wish I drank whiskey or bourbon or something cool. But I'm really just a beer girl. If I did join Nekos in his love of Old Fashioneds, it would be pretty rad if the whiskey was poured from this decanter set by Love & Victory. P.S. This set is being offered as a giveaway from Miss James over at Bleubird Vintage.
Source: Love & Victory 
They also sell "7 Deadly Sins Glassware." Sort of gloomy and gothy but I dig.

Tess's new shoes. My friend Tara brought her little boy Sawyer over yesterday to play and he had on his new squeaker shoes. My heart leapt everytime he walked because it was so stinking cute. Tess has only two pairs of shoes that fit anyway so I went ahead and scooped up these two pairs of Wee Squeakers that were on sale at Zulily. Don't know about Zulily? You can use my invitation code here to check it out. 

Source: Wee Squeakers

Source: Wee Squeakers

The weather this weekend. Ready for this? 52 degrees tomorrow, 54 degrees on Sunday and 51 degrees on Monday! I am so psyched. We're planning to hit up Lake Radnor for a hike and to take Tess to the park for an inaugural swing in one of these puppies:

This engagement ring. I don't think it's technically an engagement ring but I want it to be. It's aquamarine with a rose gold bevel and for $458, it would be an affordable and gorgeously unique way to propose to a lady. I like the idea of getting engaged not costing a guy (or girl) three months salary. 

Source: Garnet Girl Designs

January 27, 2011

January, The Month in Which Ellen Hits Vintage Goldmine

So here's the thing. I love clothes. Always have, always will. And when I get my hands on stuff I really like, I want to write about it on my blog. But just laying out the clothes on a bed and taking pictures of the blobs of fabric ... that doesn't work. So that means I am trying on my new old clothes and taking photos in my backyard for something to blog about. It makes me feel ridiculous. I can't make eye contact with the camera. I don't know how so many women take pictures of their outfits everyday and post them online. But anyway, what I am meaning to say is: Please don't think I am vain or foolish. (Or I guess you're welcome to think that if you want to.) I just want you to see my pretty new clothes!

Handmade floral romper from '60s or '70s found at Pre to Post Modern in Nashville
Vintage clothes are call kinds of crazy when it comes to fit. I'm not a small lady. I'm 5'11" and a size 10 so I can't fit into most of the bellbottoms and maxi skirts that I'd like to. That's why I was so excited to find a dress and a romper from the '70s that both fit really well. They are both so cheerful and flower-power, I feel like I need to pack my bags for Woodstock. I mean, they're so spot-on retro that they almost look like costumes. I wore the dress today with a cardigan, but I can't really think of a way to style the romper that makes sense for wintertime so I'll just look forward to it for spring. Until then ... 

Vintage coat, found in Flagstaff, AZ

... there's this coat. I've talked about it a couple of times already. I found it waiting for me in a shop in Flagstaff, AZ. We'd underpacked and I was freezing cold and driving Nekos nuts griping about it. So this coat solved a problem and became my favorite coat. (It does look pretty similar to the fur coat I got late last year, but who's counting?)

Tessa's Not a Very Good Conversationalist

Even if she was, she would probably just say things like: These new baby wipes taste reallllll good! Would you like to watch me stuff one in my mouth?

A mom I know told me that her baby is her best friend. I thought, That sucks. My baby is not my friend. She's my kid. She's delightful, but she's my responsibility. And because I spend all day with her -- this poor conversationalist -- I need my friends more than ever.

I had coffee with my friend Joy yesterday. She's a new mom too, and while we drank our lattes we sat on the floor of the coffee shop and consoled the babies and entertained the babies and chased the babies. As we were leaving, she said, I always find myself longing for more time to chat, sans babies. That's the plight: We've spent our adulthood longing for babies, and we spend their babyhood longing for a moment to ourselves. Or a moment with our friends.

Getting out of the house is ridiculously important. Joy and I were talking about that too. And I told her that I feel silly even saying it. Like I'm some housewife who has gotten bored of making pies and diapering the children and I need some fresh air. There's not fresh air to be had in January though. It hit me like a ton of bricks this week: Tessa is old enough to put her in one of those swings at the park. One of those swings with the holes cut out for the legs! How friggin' fun would that be! But if I took her to the park and put her in one of those things today, it would be considered child abuse. It's 30 degrees out. So I'm looking into legal, inexpensive ways to entertain Tessa and me during the day.

For now, there are quick, distracted meet-ups in coffee shops and for those I am grateful. But mostly I am grateful that even though she is a terrible conversationalist, I have Tessa to talk to. She also happens to be my very favorite person to talk to (besides Nekos).

January 24, 2011

Tutorial: Free People-Inspired Embroidered Cardigan

Yay, my first DIY tutorial! Here goes ...

Yesterday I wore a Free People cardigan to lunch that I have literally had since I was 15. The reason I've hung onto it for so long, besides the fact that it's this cool light seafoam green color, is the pretty beading along the shoulder and up the abdomen.

I thought I could probably replicate the embroidery and beading, and so today I did. I'm a cardigan junkie and I especially love vintage beaded cardigans. Plus I had two plain black cardigans in my closet and didn't mind sacrificing one to a craft disaster. Fortunately, I really dig the way mine turned out; here's how I did it:

What You Need:

- A plain cardigan
- A skein of embroidery thread and a needle
- A handful of seed beads
- Tailor's chalk or fabric marker

1) Draw your pattern onto the cardigan. I used tailor's chalk and used freehand to copy the basic pattern of the embroidery on my Free People cardigan. You can barely see the marks in the photo below because they were very light and not meant to be really precise. It just gave me a basic outline to follow.

2) Use four threads of your embroidery floss to back stitch the "stem" part of the pattern. It's OK if the stitches are a little uneven because you can fill in the gaps with the leaves and beading later on.

3) Use a chain stitch to add "leaves" at random. You can use these leaves to mask any imperfections or gaps in the back stitching you used to create the stems.

4) Add beads. I had to swap my needle for a smaller one that would fit through the bead. I used small pearls but any seed bead would work. I used just two threads of embroidery floss and placed the beads all along the vine at random.

 5) Rock the sweater with just the shoulder embroidery or add more along the other shoulder or up the opposite side. Enjoy!

January 23, 2011

10 Months Old.

Tessa Jean is 10 months old today. I always tell my girlfriends who live out of town that she is more than her milestones, that it's hard for me to sum up "what's going on with her" in words or by listing off her achievements. I do like that my Lil Miss Independent has grown more attached to me lately, clinging to me when I try to put her down. I think our road trip bonded her to us even more because it was such an intense, hands-on time together. I love that she's become more affectionate. She will sit still longer so I can cuddle her in my lap and she'll move her little, open rosebud mouth toward mine for a kiss and wrap her little fists around my neck for a hug. She laughs a lot more now. She's still not walking but she is standing up on her own and she'll stay standing for a few seconds before plopping down on her booty. I secretly fear that she'll only accept pureed food for the rest of her life because she's been so slow to take to big people food. But there are no adults that I know of that require that all of their foods be put into a blender, so surely this will pass.

These two are crazy about each other. 
OK, it's bed time. 

January 22, 2011

Friday Night at Our House

These days we've been hosting a lot of dinner parties. Nekos and I both require lots of social interaction but we can't go out as often now that we have Tessa Bean so we have our friends over. Last night Nekos made avocado-topped burgers, our friend Leslie contributed the baked beans, and I made an apple crumble pie topped with vanilla ice cream. We played Uno, doodled on the wall in the kitchen, and laughed a lot. It was so fun, and we were still in bed by 10. (I secretly love it when everyone leaves by 10, no matter how much I love them.)

Here's what our night looked like:
Before she went to bed, Tessa helped me make the apple crumble. (If I knew how to use Photoshop, I would use it to digitally diminish my ass. But I don't and this picture of Tess was too cute to leave out.)
Making pie crust.

Friday's Happy List

This list was sort of hard to come by for me this week because the gray weather got me feeling like a zombie. That's why there's a depressing song and a depressing movie on my "happy" list. And that's why Friday's list comes on Saturday night.

Treasures from our trip. I love shopping in town, but out-of-town shopping is the best because I can get my hands on stuff I'm not going to find in Nashville. But, most importantly, because these things have lots of sweet memories attached to them. During this trip I hit up quite a few Goodwills and thrift stores because we were in some ritzy areas and I figured there'd be some great designer stuff tucked amongst the heinous sweaters and moth-ballsy trousers. But, um, I pretty much just found heinous sweaters and moth-ballsy trousers. I did walk away from the trip with a vintage coat that I'm crazy about it. I meant to take pictures of it for this post but I think it might just get its own post soon.

Here are a few of my favorite things that we found on our way from Arizona to Nevada to California:

A doll so ugly it's cute for Tessa, from Flagstaff

Onesie from Loyal Army, from L.A.

Pom-pom hat for Nekos, from Flagstaff. He used to wear one a lot like this when we first
started dating so I made him buy it. And then I made him pose for this picture. 
This eyelet blouse from H&M in L.A.

This turquoise ring from a Navajo woman in Oak Creek Canyon, AZ

This floral slipdress from the Rainbow's End boutique in Flagstaff

New plants. When we got back from our trip, we found that a lot of my houseplants had died, since we'd left the heat off while we were gone. On Wednesday, I went to Lowe's to re-up on some greenery. I ended up getting even better plants. Weirdo plants.

This song. This track from Cat Power's 2003 You Are Free is so friggin' pretty.

These movies. We watched two movies this week -- one in the theater and one on our couch. Both were super good.

Blue Valentine was gloomy but spot-on its portrayal of what happens to a relationship when one person loves the other person more, when one person stays still and the other keeps moving. I loved it.

The Kids Are All Right was the first mainstream movie I've ever seen that ever really captured a "normal," loving lesbian relationship. I had to just use a picture of Mark Ruffalo for this one because he is pretty good and fine in this film. Loved this one too.

These books. My mom just gave me my Valentine's Day present. Three weeks early. That's how we roll in this family. But I am soooo excited about these guys.

Projects to make. I made it to the fabric store this week to stock up on some stuff for projects I'm wanting to knock out.

First, my idea is to take the pattern for this skirt but to use navy fabric for mine and use gold buttons and chains to make it look something like the Band Practice Skirt from ModCloth:

Source: Jen Loves Kev

Next, I want to make this felt pansy headband, using the tutorial on my friend Blair's blog, A Case of the Mundays. I am floored by this girl's creativity. And isn't she cute as pie?

And lastly, I want to make this little pink felt house for my ... house.