May 31, 2011

Hello, Sunshine!

The high was in the '90s in Nashville today. I'm one of five people in Nashville who (mostly) loves the heat. And it's smothering heat, like being trapped inside an attic.

I feel more alive in the summertime. I feel happier and somehow younger and more feminine and more like myself. It's as though the possibilities for fun stretch out endlessly before me in a long line of imaginary swimming holes and lake houses and backyard parties and rolled-down windows. For me, the whole year seems to lead up to this moment--the beginning of summer.

I used a bicycle pump to blow up Tessa's kiddie pool late this afternoon. We got it last summer but she was basically a tadpole then; we were way too premature with that particular purchase. A year goes by, though, and the timing is perfect. Of course, she sat on it the whole time I was blowing it up, getting more and more excited as the flattened frog became a puffy rainbow frog.

I filled it up with the hose pipe and put her next to it so she could decide for herself that it would be a good idea to get in. Her decision-making process took three minutes.

Minute one: "Ohhh... splashy time!"

 Minute two: "Garp likes it. I like it. It's hot. Why not?"

Minute three: "I think I'mma get in this. Woo-wee, mama, won'tcha look at me! Why didn't I think of this earlier?"

May 29, 2011

Stuff I Wore: A Date.

I got this vintage daisy-print wrap dress at the Nashville flea market yesterday and had to wear it out for date night last night. (While we were there, I also got the Dior sunglasses that I'm wearing sort of smugly in the last picture ... at least I really hope that they're Dior sunglasses; the guy gave me a strong sell about their authenticity.) I think I may alter this dress to either make it a few inches shorter or better yet just make it into a wrap skirt. Just because I felt a little too much like a church lady on Easter Sunday wearing this. But I still love, love the fabric and texture of this dress. 

Nekos and I hadn't been on a proper date since I can remember, and we had a really special night. We went to Firefly Grille for dinner (I had the best scallops ever) and then to see Bridesmaids (too friggin' funny) and out for a drink at 308 before we had to go home to relieve our sitter. And now I still have an extra day with him before he has to go back to work on Tuesday. Hope you guys are all having an awesome Memorial Day weekend! 

May 28, 2011

So Not Funny at the Time.

I was already having a bad day yesterday--too many writing deadlines and not enough time for anything else--so when Tessa tottered off and got quiet for a few minutes I felt so relieved that she was entertaining herself. Until I walked into the kitchen and found her with an upended box of cornstarch, which she had managed to finagle through the child-safety lock on our cabinets.


In her hair,

tracked around the house by the dogs and her little feet,

and all over her face. 

Luckily, the incident ended up yielding the most hilariously bad, snort-worthy picture of Tessa that I've ever taken.
While I was taking these pictures I was only half-thinking, 'This is so darling. I need to capture this moment.' I was mostly thinking, 'I don't even know how to begin to clean all of this up so I'mma just sit here and take pictures instead of deal with this.'

This morning I finally think it's sort of funny. 

May 25, 2011

The Blue Jean Baby Project: Dye 'Em Darker

Last week I introduced what I'm calling The Blue Jean Baby Project (Elton John would be sooo proud, don't you think?) where I challenge myself to restyle five pairs of jeans and show them off here on the blog each Wednesday. Did you see last week's pair where I patched a mangy old knee hole with a pretty hexagon flower patch?

The jeans: This week's pair is probably the most simple transformation I have planned. I just took a pair of Free People jeans (their Sailor Relaxed Flair) that I love but that I felt were too light and were therefore setting off my frump-o-meter every time I put them on.

The inspiration: My inspiration here was to feel less frumpy in these pants. I love the way they fit (I could do yoga in them they're so stretchhhhy) and that they're a little dressier than your average pair but the light color wasn't doing me any favors.

The cost: $2.49 for a pack of Denim Blue Rit dye, assuming you have a cup of salt on hand and some bleach for the clean-up afterwards. I picked up the dye at my local Michael's.

The time: An hour-and-a-half, start to finish. Hands-on time is only about 10 minutes though.

The process: 

1) Remove buttons if possible. I don't know that this is necessary. This is just what I did. I felt protective of these six brass buttons.

2) Prepare your dye solution in a bowl or bucket you don't give a crap about. Use two cups of very hot water, one cup of salt, and a package of Denim Blue Rit dye. Stir this with a spoon you don't give a crap about. (If I had it to do over, I'd use two packs to get my jeans even darker.)

3) Wet your jeans thoroughly. I was about to say "wet your jeans with water," but that's implicit, isn't it? I don't give you guys enough credit maybe.

4) Get your washing machine fired up and add a scoop of your usual laundry detergent to the water. Once the machine is filled with water, pour your dye solution into the water. Let it slosh around for 30 seconds or so before you add your wet blue jeans to the mix. 

5) Keep restarting the washing machine so that your jeans will slosh around in this navy water for 30 minutes before you let the rinse cycle take over.

6) Dry your jeans like normal. 

7) Sew your buttons back on, if needed.

8) Clean your washing machine. This was way less of a big deal than I feared. I just ran the machine empty with some bleach and it cleaned it out great. I've since done several loads of whites in my washer and they've turned out perfect.

May 24, 2011

Hexagon Flower Tank Top.

On Saturday night Nekos and I watched the movie Catfish, which is this super great, totally surreal documentary about a guy who meets a girl on Facebook. The girl turns out not to be the hot artsy 19-year-old she claims to be but instead is a nusto 40-something with hair down to her kneecaps. Have you seen it? I loved it.

Anyway, while we were watching that I made another hexagon flower using the same technique I talked about here. And the next day I used my sewing machine to sew it onto this plain white Target tank top. I think that it turned out so sweet. I can see more of these flowers in my future.

Of course, I dream of making so many hexagon flowers that they, ahem, grow into a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt, but considering that just one of these flowers takes me about two hours to make I have a new appreciation for the time and craft of quilt-making.

Sigh ... 

Source: Anyone Can Quilt

May 23, 2011

Pro-Woman, Pro-Child, Pro-Choice.

psssst Tessa...
So there's this Ani DiFranco song that I love about how when she was a little girl she remembers her mother taking her to volunteer someplace and that she helped a group of women lick stamps and kick ass and get things accomplished. This song right here. It has always given me goosebumps because I would die of happiness if my daughter remembers amazing things like that about me. I want Tessa Jean to remember so much more than the crusts I cut off and the hugs I smothered her with and the boo-boos that I kissed away; I want her to think of her mother and think, "Damn, she had some other stuff going on too. She was passionate about things that really matter."

Ani's song, by the way, goes like this: "My mother went campaigning door to door and holding to her hand was me / Yeah I was just a girl in a room full of women licking stamps and laughing / I remember the feeling of community brewing, of democracy happening."

Tessa's not going to remember that her dad and I took her to a pro-choice rally on Saturday or that we walked around the Tennessee Capitol chanting and waving signs while she was strapped to the front of me.

But I will remember. Because talk about goosebumps -- I had them almost the whole time. I'm sort of blissfully unaware of a lot of political goings-on, but one thing I can't let myself tune out is the abortion debate, which is raging on in Tennessee. Last week my home state passed SJR-127, a constitutional amendment that will be on our ballot in 2014 and that, if passed, will nullify a 2000 Tennessee Supreme Court decision that says the state constitution guarantees a woman's right to an abortion. Tennessee also managed to pass a budget that blocks any Title X funding (federal family-planning funds) from going to Planned Parenthood -- effective immediately.

I don't really know that carrying around a cardboard-box-turned-DIY-sign will change anything, but it's better than nothing. And one day Tessa will remember.

May 21, 2011

A 'Lil Happy List - In Stitches Edition

Here are some pretty cross stitch and embroidery patterns I've come across lately. Totally makes me want to break out my embroidery floss and make something sentimental. The jam and toast embroidery below is a free pattern over on and since peanut butter and jelly is my favorite food the world over (I have a very refined palette) it only makes sense for me to tackle it.
Source: Bec Groves
Source: Ruggles Stitch, etsy
Source: Cozy Blue, etsy
Source: The Time Is Now, etsy
Source: CozyBlue
Source: Feeling Stitchy (Free Pattern!) 
Source: Bec Groves
And how about this embroidery cake done with sprinkles?! I don't think I could ever cut into it. I would see if I could petrify it or something?
Source: Clockwork Lemon

May 20, 2011

The World Is Coming to an End So I Bought This Handbag.

Tomorrow's the apocalypse, y'all. So I took it as an opportunity to buy a new handbag. Makes sense right?

I've been carrying my very beloved Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag for over a year now but I'm ready to tuck it away until baby No. 2 comes around in a year or two. As far as I'm concerned I've been carrying the Rolls Royce of all diaper bags; it was a Valentine's present from Nekos the month before T-Town was born and I probably let out a shriek heard round the world when he gave it to me. I have loved this thing to death, and it looks none the worse for the wear even after so many milk spills and animal cracker crumbs and shit-splosions.

Source: Petunia Pickle Bottom Cake Collection

So farewell retro diaper bag of my dreams, until we meet again. And hello sophisticated Kate Spade cary-all of my dreams. You see, Kate Spade was having a 75 percent off flash sale yesterday and I hopped to it. When I 'fessed up to Nekos about it over cocktails last night, he wasn't even mad. I owe you one, whiskey!
Source: Kate Spade Roland Park Cecilia bag (not on site anymore)
When I was in high school and Kate Spade was picking up speed I thought it was such a fusty brand, but now everything is popsicle-colored and vibrant and one-of-a-kind. And also way too expensive without a 75 percent off deal.

Check out these Kate Spade pretties:

Source: Kate Spade Candy Shop Jeanette Dress

Source: Kate Spade Sunny Kolette Skirt

Source: Kate Spade Kati Beaded Cardigan
Source: Kate Spade Wish You Were Here Postcard Bangle
Source: Kate Spade Enchanted Garden Bib Necklace

And how's about this dreamy video and song?

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