Andrew and I just hiked up to the Observatory in Griffith Park, just as the sun was setting, and it was so lovely out that I wished I’d brought my camera (like I do practically every time I go up there — I hate carrying anything but a water bottle along though!). It was such a treat to take an hour to walk up the trail, and look out over the whole city from the glorious spot at the top of the hill. I pretty much missed the entire Christmas season here, so I was happy to finally get a peek at the pretty “tree” on top of the Capitol Records building. The clouds were pink and orange and blue before they darkened, and the city lights way down below were so twinkly and pretty. Everyone we met on the path coming and going smiled and said hello. It was so nice to spend a little bit of the last day of 2006 up there, and at the farmer’s market — two of my favorite places in Los Angeles.
I feel so lucky to have had this year in my life — I got to see my friends and family, travel, make crafts with my nephew, work on projects I love, and spend my eighth year with Andrew. I’m so happy to be writing here, and for a few magazines and books and at getcrafty and Adorn. Thank you for reading.
I’ll leave you with a picture of daisies and DSL cables, which seems to sum it up for me these days. I wish I had the Observatory to show you, but maybe one of these days I’ll get Andrew to schlep the camera for me…
Wishing you a wonderful, peaceful and happy 2007!
My friend Libby called yesterday to invite me to meet up at the farmer’s market this morning, and I’m so glad she did! I’d kind of lost track of what day it was this week after so much traveling, and I’d barely registered that Sunday/Hollywood Farmer’s Market day was on the horizon.
We met up at 9 in the center of the market and walked around for an hour buying beautiful food. I love the way the market is set up: four blocks radiating out from the Selma/Ivar intersection (a block off Hollywood and Vine) are closed off all morning, and there are dozens of vendors lining both sides of the streets selling all kinds of vegetables, plants, flowers, cheese, meat, fruit, and bread. In the center there’s a balloon animal dude who made my nephew Julian a sword and holster last summer, and you can always sign up for free sneak-peek tickets to movies. Plus there is so much amazing stuff to eat on the spot — vegetarian soul food, bakery treats, kettle corn (Julian’s favorite), and omelet quesidillas (my favorite). Libby and I each got a Gardener’s Omelet and a huge lemonade for breakfast, which was so good I hated to finish it.
I bought raspberries, a pomegranate, baby bok choy, lemons, basil, sage, thyme, brussels sprouts, and two kinds of carrots, plus three bunches of daisies…
…so tonight we’ll be having roasted carrots and brussels sprouts with fried sage leaves, and raspberries and pomegranate for dessert. I can’t wait!
If you go:
-The market is open from 8 am to 1 pm every Sunday, year-round. Like one of my other Los Angeles favorites, the Rose Bowl flea market, it’s a lot nicer on the early end — so much less crowded.
-Bring a big market bag with you, if you have one, but all the vendors will give you plastic bags if you need them.
-Take the Red Line to Hollywood and Vine, or if you drive, you can park on the street a block or two away (meters are free on Sundays) or in the ArcLight parking lot for $1 for 2 hours (the first hour is free).
Happy New Year’s Eve!
I’m back in Los Angeles after three weeks on the East Coast, which was super fun but ended with an unexpected five-day internet vacation… so now that we’ve picked up the mail, done some grocery shopping (including champagne for tomorrow night, yay) and unpacked, I’m finally back online.
When we were in Maryland last week, Andrew and I came into the city for one afternoon. I got to choose what to do first and picked the Bead Museum as our first stop. It’s just a few blocks from the Smithsonian museums on the Mall, so it was an easy walk over from the subway, and I was so glad we got to check it out. I’ve been making jewelry for twenty years (!) and I’ve never seen anything quite like it!
The museum is small, so an hour is plenty of time to see everything, and their collection is very cool. The permanent exhibit is a timeline of bead history, starting around 70,000 BCE, with hundreds of examples of shell, glass, wood, bone, semiprecious, and plastic pieces to look at… tracing the progression is so interesting. Their current show, The Sacred Bead, is well worth a visit — it highlights sacred jewelry from six major religions. (I didn’t take photographs since the pieces are on loan from private collections, but the museum has some pictures of the exhibit here.) There’s a library and shop to browse, too — I picked up a handy guide to bead shops in the DC area (next time!) and a few strands of glass beads for me and Julian to play with.
Afterwards, we saw a The Streets of New York: American Photographs from the Collection, 1938-1958 at the National Gallery and then raced over to Air and Space to see all the astronaut stuff. It was so hard to choose which museums to visit — I was so tempted by the Museum of the American Indian and the Hirshhorn, which are both right there too. Next time for sure.
If you go:
The Bead Museum
400 Seventh St NW
Washington, DC 20004
I spent a good chunk of yesterday afternoon wrapping all of our presents on the fly, since Andrew and I exchanged our gifts with his parents last night (my family is up next). I never wrap my holiday presents at home, where all my cool art supplies and fabric live, since we always fly to the east coast with everything… so I generally end up borrowing paper and ribbons from either my mom or my mother-in-law and doing it at the last minute. I have big dreams every year, but the cold hard reality is that it’s December 23rd and I don’t have any of my own crafty stuff handy.
Anyway, I wanted to do some ultra-simple and eco-friendly wrapping (especially since a bunch of our gifts are from recycled paradise ReForm School). And luckily for me, when we went out to buy wine earlier we ended up with about seven extra brown paper bags. So I just cut them into large rectangles, turned them inside out, and did my best to make them look festive…
Some ideas I tried:
-Wrap thin ribbon around a square or rectangular gift several times, angling it a little on the back so the front is nice straight parallel lines. You can also add ribbons perpendicular to the first set — or try a different color or style, too, like twine or rick-rack.
-Instead of writing a to/from card, try making the recipient’s initial in yarn or twine (I used glue stick all over the paper, then gently formed the initial over the adhesive and let it dry), or freehand cutting letters out from cardstock (like the one to Julian, from Aunt Susan and Uncle Andrew.
-Use bright ribbons or accents on the ultra-plain brown paper — they will really pop. You can also write a message directly on the paper with a Sharpie or colored pencil.
-Wrap a small or squishy gift candy-style: just roll it in a wide piece of brown paper (lighter-weight paper often works better for this) and then gather and tie each end with twine or ribbon. No tape required!
-If a gift is lovely on its own (like this adorable patchwork bag I got Fiona, made by the super-talented Melissa, or the Remarkable car-tire-turned-pencil case for Julian) just tie a single ribbon around it and let the rest of it show through.
-Re-use a bag with handles as-is — just secure each side with ribbon. I don’t think my brother will mind getting his presents in what’s obviously a Starbucks bag too much… I did cover the logo with a little name patch for him, and after all, I am married to the one and only Tradition Keeper. And since David drives a Prius I know he’ll appreciate the repurposing!
Here are some of my favorite gift-wrapping tutorials to check out, too:
-Natalie Zee Drieu shows how to wrap your gifts with fabric — I love doing that!
-The current issue of Venus Zine has a great DIY piece, “Wrap Star” — Anna Joyce shows you how to use all kinds of everyday things to create a cool exterior on every gift you’ll give this year.
-The “Finishing Touches” section of Super Crafty has lots of fun vintage-inspired ideas for presentation and wrapping.
I hope you have lovely holidays if you’re celebrating this weekend, and I’ll see you on the 26th!
While I was out and about in New York this week, I spotted some beautiful neon sewing machine signs, so of course I had to take a bunch of pictures. Here are four of my favorites:
I wasn’t really shopping for fabric this trip, mostly buttons and jewelry supplies, so it was nice to get a little sewing fix via my camera at least. I miss my sewing machine back in Los Angeles so much! I can’t wait to work on my coin quilt next month — I’ve already cut out all the pieces, so now I’m looking forward to the fun part: piecing it and seeing all 77 of the patterns together. I’ve been saving scraps from all my projects since I started sewing six years ago, and of course I had to mix in some of the new Denyse Schmidt prints too…
It’s my first quilt so I’m a little nervous I’ll screw it up somehow, but I’m really excited. Hopefully I’ll have lots of pictures in January — that would be a nice birthday present to myself!
Okay, it’s definitely last-minute gift-shopping time — and if you still need to find just the thing for a few DIY types (as I do), you’re in luck. A subscription to CRAFT magazine is an instant-gratification gift you can send from the comfort of your laptop — in other words, here’s a chance to give yourself the afternoon off from running around town and finish your shopping in the next five minutes!
All the details are here, but you can also send your lucky recipient a free CRAFT t-shirt (just use the MAKE4CRAFT code when you order) and this cute printable/e-mailable gift card graphic:
p.s. If you have some time set aside to make a few crafty presents this weekend, I’ve added even more ideas to my handmade gift ideas round-up, all listed at the top of each section! Lots of them are super-quick and easy, or use things you’ll have around the house. Happy handmade holidays!
I was so bummed that I woke up with a sore throat and headache yesterday and had to cancel my plans to visit Metalliferous for the last crafty shopping trip of 2006. Since about two-thirds of the people I’ve seen in the last week have been sick, I guess it’s kind of inevitable that I’m coming down with something now too, so I stuck close to home and didn’t leave the neighborhood at all — just crossed the street to get some soup. Oh well, I’ll be back in New York in the spring and I will definitely be making the rounds of all my favorite stores again then. And at least my immune system waited until after our shows were done, so it could have been much worse timing-wise.
In the meantime, in lieu of actual crafting, I’ll be listening to one of my all-time favorite podcasts, Sister Diane’s CraftyPod show from last November: Making Stuff When You’re Under the Weather. If you haven’t heard this one, it’s filled with craft projects to make when you (or someone you love) is sick — via cooking, sewing, and aromatherapy. Plus Diane has the nicest, most soothing voice in the world. Sure, I’ll admit that I’m biased — she runs the fabulous Portland Church of Craft and she married me and Andrew last year, so of course I adore her. But regardless of all that, her craft blog is unparalleled and her podcasts are amazing.
If you’re not sick (lucky!) you should definitely cruise the CraftyPod archives anyway — I especially like Oddball Crafts, which is a fun catch-all, but there are ten other categories of her 40 podcasts (and counting). In case you’re new to all this stuff, she even has handy what’s a podcast??? and how do I subscribe? FAQ pages.
The sprawling exhibit covers all three floors and ranges from sleek corporate products (like the Apple iPod, Nike Free, and Target prescription drug bottles) to all kinds of furniture, robots, DIY projects (from MAKE and ReadyMade magazines — very cool to see in person after admiring them on the page), and clothing. I had a few immediate favorites: a mix of ingenious lighting by Alison Berger Glassworks and Ron Gilad and “invisibly luxurious” women’s couture clothing by Ralph Rucci. I thought Alison Berger’s pendant-style lamp, illuminating the handwritten lines of text she’d etched all over it, was the loveliest piece on display.
Thanks to the exhibit’s thoughtful notes, I also warmed up to few things I wasn’t taken by at first. The Target prescription drugs display seemed kind of underwhelming until I saw that the labels and containers were designed by Deborah Adler after her grandmother accidentally took the wrong medication — in context, their clear, accessible and ultra-utilitarian labels were much more interesting than at first glance.
You have seven more months to catch the show (it closes July 29, 2007) and I can’t recommend it enthusiastically enough. I left the museum inspired and excited to make some new things of my own! As a bonus, I spotted two books for Andrew in the shop so my Christmas shopping is now completely finished…
…plus I found a few things for myself. How could I resist ribbons printed with buttons and how-to-knit graphics? Seriously.
Last week I was invited to come to my brother David’s third grade class at Bayview Elementary School to do a holiday craft project! I took the train out to Freeport to meet up with them for the afternoon and brought my ribbon and my holepunch along.
It was so much fun — first my mom read a book to everyone. Then I gave them a classroom copy of Super Crafty and we made our own handmade gift tags and cards for our holiday presents! Everyone made very cool pieces — lots had amazing drawings along with the message, and I loved seeing all the different ideas.
A special thank-you to Kathryn, Serenity, and Adam for surprising me with special gift tags just for me — I love them.
Thanks for having me visit, and I hope to see everyone again soon!
On Saturday my five-year-old nephew Julian took the train into the city from Long Island with my mom, and I met them at Penn Station. Our very first stop was Toho Shoji, where we picked out special beads, chain and charms to make ornaments, and colorful Lucite leaves to make earrings for his teachers. Julian told me, “This store is cooler than Superman!” (and I swear I didn’t prompt him or anything… he’s just a natural-born jewelry designer). We spent about an hour oohing and aahing over all our favorite stuff, like the feather boas and the lockets. His absolute favorite section was the chains, which I have to say is pretty tempting — Toho Shoji is my favorite chain store in New York. We wished we could bring the whole wall of spools home with us.
Next we headed to M&J Trimming, where Jules picked out one special ribbon to wrap Mommy and Daddy’s present. At Tinsel Trading I found some pretty little red-and-white vintage mushrooms, and then it was time to take a break and get some drawing done at the Mid-Manhattan Public Library. The second floor has plenty of nice desks set up for non-messy art projects, so we drew a pirate’s treasure map — oh, and his spider and skull-and-crossbones tattoos are from a Starbucks run with Uncle Andrew earlier in the day, in case you’re curious. Last, we (and most of Manhattan) walked through Times Square on our way back to the station.
Today we’re making our surprise ornaments (one down, four to go) and our Christmas cards. We also got to make a super cool good-luck charm with all of Julian’s favorite beads and buttons on a big star keychain. I love everything he picked out!
On Tuesday, I have time for one last Fashion District run before I leave the city, and Metalliferous will be my first stop. Sadly, Julian has kindergarten, so I’ll be shopping without him, but I’m sure I’ll find a few cool things for our next crafting session, scheduled for December 26 at my mom’s house — it’s so much fun to have such a super crafty nephew to hang out with!