Sunday, August 29, 2010

zip zip

Look at my killer zucchini and perfect tomatoes! I made these! 

Hey remember how yesterday I was all, "I'm sewing zippers into silk pillows, and harvesting tomatoes, and zucchini, from my garden, and then tomorrow, I think I'll bake a cake (chocolate zucchini cake!), do some laundry, and roast a pork shoulder for pulled pork sandwiches..."? Yeah, well I did all that. I need a good marinara recipe so I can get those tomatoes all cooked up before they sit in the fridge too long, and become my undying shame. 

I ran into one itty bitty problem along the way. I'm hoping it's not fatal. I got Pickel of "Swimming in Brine's" zipper tutorial a little too late. I had already sewn 2.5 sides, leaving the zipper side for last. Which is basically the opposite of what you are supposed to do. Since I was going over old seams on delicate fabric, I didn't want to risk tearing the silk if I pulled them out again, so I forged ahead. I sewed the zipper in, and everything was going just fine until I remembered that you are supposed to unzip the zipper so you don't end up with an inside-out pillow tomb. So I unzipped it. Only I got a little overzealous forgetting that the zipper is SUPPOSED to have a stop and not unzip all the way to the end, and I pulled the tab clear off. I tried to get it back on for about, oh I don't know 45 minutes, and then I contemplated seppuku. WHY DOES LIFE HAVE TO BE SO HARD. jk... no I'm not...

I was able to jam the end of the zipper in the one side, but not the other. HELP! 

Someone please tell me this is not an irrevocable problem. There must be a zipper trick. Or a zipper man who can fix this sort of thing. PLEASE?! The rest of the pillow turned out so nicely, and it's SO soft, and if the zipper (my first) is the death of it, I might cry. Ok, I won't cry, but I will be really really really mad. 

The fabric is from an old Anokhi pour Simrane sarong that got a tear in it. It's all bleached and old and SO soft. Perfect pillow fabric. I used it on the side with batting, so it'll be a little lofty too. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Friday, August 27, 2010

double negative fantasy what?

so pretty, so soft, so totally impractical 

Last night, I was sitting on the couch pulling stitches out of one of the habotai silk throw pillows we have on our bed. Habotai silk is a nice idea on paper. It's soft, and not shiny, and it's cool to the touch. It's also thinner than a kleenex and if you plan to touch it, or you know put your face on it, it's going to tear in a million little places. So I'm pulling them apart to save the parts of the full silk backs, the zipper, and the quilting part, which I'm going to re-sew with some old sarong fabric. I know. I amaze even myself.

But back to last night. I'm pulling out the seams with my sewing scissors because I can't find my seam ripper, because I hid it the last time I was sewing something on the dining room table so Jack wouldn't cut himself, and now it's gone baby gone.

Nipper gets a phone call from our agent which is unusual at 9:20 at night, and he says, "I'll have to call her back in a sec, I'm doing a mock fantasy draft." Uhm... excuse me? What did he say? A "mock" "fantasy" draft. So it's like, he's not pretending to pick pretend players for his FAKE football team, he's PRETENDING to pretend to pick players for his fake football team. Ok. Just wanted to be clear about that.

Another thing that happened last night was that around 1:30 in the morning, Jack came into our room, stood on Nipper's side of the bed and said very loudly "I (something unintelligible) ALL BY MYSELF!" Then he crawled into the middle of the bed, slurped some water so loudly from a sippy cup that I thought  Micheal Winslow was in the room, then rolled over to my side and fell asleep with too many sets of elbows and knees pressing into all my parts. I tried to fall back to sleep, but the thought of what could he possibly have done all by himself in there, and the fact that he started patting me on the back in his sleep, made it the whole situation less than ideal for sleeping. I tried to go into his bed to read my book and then sleep, but that thing is as hard as a board, and prolly why he ends up in our bed every night.

Today I'm going to buy him (me) a feather bed, and make Nipper some fake chili and mock buffalo wings, in case he wants to do more pretend fake football fantasizing tonight.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

ok but here's the thing

He's always going to be my baby. At our wedding, Nipper's mom looked at me and absentmindedly said "well, I guess he's never coming back to Michigan now." Let me give you a little back story. Nipper had already lived in New York for 8 years, and Los Angeles for 4. We had met 8 months before. I turned stunned and backed slowly away. "Does she blame me?" "Did she really think he was coming back?" "I thought she liked me!"

My first day of school

The answer to those questions: NO, maybe, she does (a lot). It wasn't that she was really thinking "Oh, any day now, my baby boy Nipper Knapp is going to come back home and live with me Poppa". Nor would she have wanted that. It's just you know, he's her boy. And now I totally get it. I should also say that Nipper's mom is my model for how to be a mother in law. She is kind to me, respects my opinions, talks me like I'm one of her kids, and always takes my side over Nipper Knapp's (at least to my face, which is all I care about:).

Jack and Cleo's first day

That said, here's what happened when I dropped Jack off at school today. We met Cleo and Brett in the parking lot. So grateful to have an ally, and for Jack to have a friend there. We walked to their classroom, went in, looked around, said hello to the teachers, and then Brett, said "Bye Cleo, I'll see you in a few hours!" and left. Gulp. Ok, that's exactly what they said to do. Make it quick, be positive, DON'T CRY. I told Jack I was going to go, and Daddy would be back to pick him up in a few hours. He hugged me TIGHT, he hung his head a little, but he didn't cry. I whispered that he should "take care of Cleo today". Cleo who at that point was twirling and showing the teacher her pink painted fingernails. Uh, yeah...

I walked out, hugged Brett, talked to a few other moms, held it together, got in my car, and sobbed. I cried all the way home. I cried because I was so proud of him. I cried because he was brave, and didn't cry. I cried because I knew that even though he'll always be my baby, he's not a baby anymore. I cried because NPR was playing some BBC story about Natalie Merchant's song "Wonder". I hate this song, and this whole genre of music, but there I am crying my eyes out listening to it. Jaysus lord above, what has this kid done to me?! I pierced my nose with a safety pin, and a bottle of Southern Comfort, in a London hotel room at 15, I don't cry when I hear Natalie Merchant sing!!!

But I did. He's made me soft. Even though he's going to learn about volcanos, and dinosaurs, playground bullies, geometry, poetry, school lunches, carpooling, holding hands, heart break, college admissions, he'll always be my baby.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Oh, so that's how it is...

On Friday I took Jack to his preschool for a little pre-preschool drop off day. We thought it might be a good idea for him to spend an hour with me, and then an hour with Nipper Knapp on Monday before the big day Tuesday. You know, the day where I drop him off at 9:30, say "have a great day at school", and leave, NO MATTER WHAT.

We get there, and he's ON ME. He can't look directly at the teacher, he plays deaf when she asks him if he'd like to do anything, except for when she asks if he wants some saltines and watermelon "yes please". Good job kiddo. The rest of the class lines up to go outside, and he gets right in line with them and goes outside. Half way down the ramp to the playground he turns to look for me and hangs back a little bit.

Once on the playground he watches the other kids playing, but lingers around a picnic table set up for painting until the teacher notices and asks if he would like to paint. "YES!" And this isn't the kind of neat tidy painting we get to do at home, this is spooning whole big globs of gelatinous color onto a big piece of construction paper and messing it around with your whole hand. GOOD STUFF!

We both got back to school haircuts

At some point he sees the other kids going to an outdoor sink nearby to wash their hands. He says he "needs to wash his hands" to which I stand up ready to take him the 30 feet to the sink. "NO Mama" he says blue green paint hands outstretched in front of him in full "stop" mode, "I DON'T need you to help me".  By the time, I have recovered from this bit of autonomy, he's at the sink TALKING TO ANOTHER KID, like that's something he does every day.

Long story short. I think he's going to be just fine. Thank you and goodnight.

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's curtains for you

I don't want this to turn into an Anthropologie fan page, but DAMN. Maybe I'm just a woman of a certain age. I started sewing these curtains for our bedroom a few years ago. That's right, I said years. I got these super pale pink cotton sheers at Target, and I thought if I sewed them onto these cream cotton panels from ikea, they would make for a really warm pretty light (without being PINK) when the sun was out. Our room has two walls of south and west facing windows, so it's BRIGHT. The curtains did indeed make pretty warm filtered light, unfortunately at 6am it's like someone turned the sun on in my eyeballs. I got some blackout fabric and sewed it to the back of the already kind of hack jobbed curtains. They're not pretty. That was about two years ago. 

my shame closet

I've been toying with the idea of making them shorter so they don't hang on the floor. I've been thinking about getting new curtain rods, or at least putting the ones we have, higher above the window. Part of the problem is that we have no closet. Did you hear what I just wrote. NO CLOSET. There used to be a built in closet in the room, but the person who owned the house before us (evil flipper) tore it out. So... We have ikea armoires which were supposed to be a temporary solution. They are about an inch too deep which means I can't have a curtain rod outside the window frame. What I need is a carpenter. Ok wait, we were talking about curtains. 

Here's what I'm thinking *right now*. I found these curtains at Anthropologie (obv). I could totally sew something like this onto the back panel (cream cotton), and lay the pale pink over them. I'll remove the blackouts and make those a separate panel. Which means I have to get new hardware with two bars, but you know, whatevs. I could totally have these curtains done by the time Jack goes to junior high. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mexican Tissue Flowers

So I was alerted today that there is a bride in need. I was walking to the ladies room outside the tea room at the Langham hotel in Pasadena. Sadie and I went there to have tea and complain about our made up problems and stuff our faces with crumpets and cucumber sandwiches. We were the only people there, in this GIANT room overlooking the lawn. The poor lady playing piano must have felt like we were assholes. I would have. Like geez, if only you too broads could take your problems somewhere else, I could lay off the ivories until the noon rush begins. Sorry lady. Maybe that's why she insisted on playing the theme song from St. Elmo's Fire, and Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.

Sorry, back to the bride. Sadie mentioned off handedly (is that a word? my spell check didn't say no to it) that her babysitter Miranda is getting married in 7 weeks, and she needed some help with centerpieces. It took everything in me not to grab Sadie by the shoulders and shout "WHERE IS MIRANDA RIGHT NOW?!!! WE CAN DO THIS!!!" I get a little excited.

They are getting married in 7 weeks in the Bay Area. Miranda is working full time, she doesn't have a dress yet, and she's on a budget. Like who isn't?! I immediately thought of these beautiful paper flowers this priest I used to drink with in college (another time, I promise) brought me from Mexico. They were multicolored, and so festive. I had them for years. After I had moved them from several apartments and with me to LA, they were faded and they must have ended up in the heap. BUT I had them for years, and they always put a smile on my face.

I googled "Mexican paper (or tissue) flower" and found a gagillion links. She could buy them if she ran out of time to make them, or, easy as pie, she, and her friends, and *ahem* very artistic fiance could make them themselves in whatever colors her little bride heart desires. (I'm for this option, and if I wasn't typing this post, I'd already be folding and tying).

When I mentioned the idea, Sadie said they were indeed having a taco truck, which is the yummiest and best thing ever, and now I kind of wish I was going to be there. Perfect. Miranda, I know you don't know me that well, but if I show at your wedding with a bouquet of paper flowers, can I get a taco from the truck?

This is a good solution for a bride who isn't actually in the city she's going to get married in because they are quick to make, and she doesn't have to worry about tracking down a florist, or the local flower market. Plus they last for years, and people can take them home from the wedding. Not that people do that. Not that I TAKE things from weddings I go to. Not that I have EVER taken say a bathroom floral arrangement or a tabletop horse piñata from anyone's wedding, ever. I'm not that kind of girl. I make no promises for the clergy I drink with.

You can see examples, and get directions for making them  yourself here and here and all kinds of place on the interwebs. Oh and here is a link to a wedding that I think did a super cute job using them and other very inexpensive (as in $2 from the party supply) paper decorations to make their wedding look super cute.

Good luck Miranda my dear, let me know if you need any more "help" with your wedding.

p.s. all the pictures in this post are from other people's sites. I did not make any of these flowers or take any of these pictures. If you want to find them, google image search Mexican Paper Flowers for your own dang self. I'm too tired to make links tonight.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

You can swim all you wish, but don't eat the fish...

In order to get the feeling of this birthday you must play this LOUD!
Then imagine me, a lady who could be described in some circles as a "cracker", driving a prius, wearing a white anthropologie sundress, playing this song so loud the windows were shaking, shaking my head back and forth like I'm having a seizure. That's how I roll on my birthday.

Today is my birthday. I'm older than I was when I was 17 and that's all we're going to say about that. My sweet sweet Nipper Knapp did a series of consumer backflips and was able to get me my dream chair from Anthropologie for 75% off. Never mind that he waited until the day before my birthday to buy it, and never mind that it was sold out. Never mind that he wanted to barf when he heard this bit of news. Never mind he has to drive to Nevada tomorrow to pick it up. He got it (with the help of Uncle David doing a recon mission, the anthropologie girls here in LA, and Henderson Nevada, and Sadie lending her SUV for pickup). He's a good hub.

knotted melati chair

He and Jack went to Bottega Louie and got me a stack of boxes of sweets that would make Marie Antoinette blush. They sang happy birthday to me, when I got home from my TWO HOUR massage at Ole Henriksen, and tonight we're going to dinner at Café Beaujolais where Nipper Knapp will allow me to flirt with the wait staff who all look like Johnny Depp and Viggo Mortensen's love child. Fo Shiz, he's a really good hub.

Brenda (Jack's nanny) painted and "dressed" this robot for me with Jack. She said it's a helper robot to help me when she's not around after he starts school. *sob* I told her she has to wear this outfit (including the headdress) for the rest of the month when she's here watching Jack. 

I've gotten sweet sweet birthday wishes throughout the day, and have been really counting my blessings. When I moved to LA 12 years ago, all wide-eyed and dewy, (I should have enjoyed that dew more) I never imagined this life I dreamed of having would actually happen, and be better every day than my 20 something ding dong brain could imagine. Knock wood and chuck some salt (I'm an actor so you know, super superstitious), this is already a very good year. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pikku Bo Boo

Ok, so it's not actually the "pikku" Bo Boo ("little" in Finnish). It's the regular Bo Boo. But I like saying pikku bo boo. Do you guys remember this print from when we were kids? Those of you under the age of 30 can just stuff it. My friend Jessica little brother's bedroom was done in this fabric. I think hers was some kind of Marimekko fabric too, but I can't remember. I've always loved this print.

When I was pregnant with Jack and found out I was having a boy, I went on ebay and found someone selling this vintage sheet set for next to nothing (I think $15). I bought it, determined to sew something for the baby with it. When it came the fitted sheet was actually pretty pilly, but the top sheet was in great shape. I set it aside trying to figure out what to do with it. Then I lost track of it. When I read that Jack needs a blankie for his cot for naptime at school, I remembered I had this fabric somewhere and went digging in the storage area under the house. It was in the last row, bottom box. Of course.

I got some grass green plushy fabric to sew on the other side, so it'll be super soft. The Bo Boo fabric itself is as coarse as a brillo pad. I was torn for a good part of the day about weather I should cut up this giant piece, to make his small cot blanket. It looks so cute with the green, and I started thinking maybe I should just make it for his bed in his room. I looked online, and they are selling the sheets for $65 a piece, or $45 a yard for the fabric. YIKES! But then I thought. I only paid $15 for mine, so who cares. If I REALLY want to make something else for him with it later, I'll just have to shell out for it. Or find some other schmuck selling it for cheap on ebay. Also, I was thinking of sewing some of that satin blanket edging onto it to because when I was a kid I liked to rub my index finger against it when I was trying to fall asleep. I still do, but we don't have any blankets with that stuff on it.  Whatevs. WAY too much thought for a, (and excuse me, but I'm tired) fucking nap blanket. Was I born this way?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Uhm, yes.

Jane Austen Fight Club. Good for you ladies. 

diptyque = I heart you

Clearly my mother loves me. Look what she brought back from her recent trip to Paris:

Oh and two beautiful sarongs from Simrane, a bottle of Fragonard perfume, some chocolate mustard from Maille, a whole mess of Barbapapa and other French books and CDs for Jack, some Petit Prince colored pencils I will save until he can appreciate them (like when he's 30), and a partridge in a pear tree. It was ALMOST like I got to go to Paris too. Merci Maman!

I borrowed this picture from right here

Oh, and did I mention this morning she played with Jack so I could go to Anthropologie and try on 300 hundred dresses, then when I got home, she took him to a toy store and a malt shop, and god nows where else to pump him full of sugar and presents, so I could you know, dye my hair two shades lighter, try my new dresses on in front of my home mirror, do some laundry, put some toys away, and stare at into space for 15 solid minutes... Cher maman, merci, merci, merci! If it wasn't mothers (and mother in laws) there'd be a lot more standing on chairs telling everyone to just "shut it" (gasp) going on around here. 

Audrey, Reva (my grandma), great grandma, Madalene, and Beth (who just passed) 

My mom's in town for just two days, because her aunt Beth passed away at 90 last week. She was the last of 4 sisters, who all passed way before their time, my mom's mom dying at 60 when I was just 4. I can't imagine what that was like losing her parents with two young kids. She and my dad were both working full time, and in school getting, respectively a law degree, and a PhD. My grandmother was sick for a long time with breast cancer. In the last few months, my mother and I went and lived with her in her farm house. She stayed in a hospital bed in the living room. We painted her toenails, and dyed her hair. She fed me and her dalmatian "Romeo" black jelly beans, "One for you, TWO for me!". She used rose milk lotion, and to this day is I smell that chalky rose smell it takes me back to that time. So I appreciate very much Jack having his 3 (count em) grandmas, that can bake cookies, laugh at all his jokes, and spoil him rotten. Oh, and give me time to stare into space. You can't do that on babysitter time. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The No Tears Lunch Pail

We went to Jack's pre-school orientation last night. Then we went out and got drunk. Not really. Well sort of. Just a little sushi and soju cocktail. Aside from the 3000 page medical/emergency packet I need to fill out. Here are the things he will need for his first day of school:

crib sheet for his cot (sniffle)
blanket (eyes stinging)
back pack (meh)
change of clothes to go in his cubby (full on sob at the word "cubby")
lunch box (glug glug glug)

But then today I set myself to the task of finding a cute lunchbox, and you know planning the PERSONALIZED QUILT I'm going to sew in the next 10 days, while emotionally preparing for him to go, getting our stuff together for the NYTVF, auditioning, and you know, drowning my sorrows in a bottle of trader joe's petite syrah.

Look what I found! Goodbyn lunchboxes with ears for easy opening with little fingers, and stickers for persoanlizing, and little compartments so the food doesn't get all mashed together! No dreaded ziplock bags, of which I have an unnatural hatred. They're sort of like little baby bento boxes. Cute, cute, cute!

Michael's mom clearly doesn't love him or she wouldn't have sent him to school with a SALAD and a hardboiled egg. Yuck. 


Monday, August 9, 2010

Drum roll please... Big Apple here we come!

Are you ready for this? Our Pilot "Gentrification" was accepted into the NYTVF! We've know for almost a week, but were sworn to secrecy until the official announcement was made this morning (here's the link to the announcement). I got the call when Jack and I were at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, with my brother and my niece. I stood up in the middle of the cafeteria, right in front of the tourists from Poughkeepsie and did a little dance. Jack not knowing why I was dancing with my phone to my ear, got up and did a little dance right along with me. We've got him trained. 

We'll be getting more info on screening times in the coming weeks, so I hope that any of you that are in NY will be able to make it. You know, put some friendly butts in the seats around us! Yahooeee!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Two great old timey kids books

I'm going to see how many times I can use the expression "old timey" in posts this week. In keeping with my disgraceful Great Depression as fashion post this morning, I thought I'd feature two of my favorite kids books. One is about that time, and the other was written during the 1940's.

The first is The Gardener by Sarah Stewart and David Small. My mother sent this book to Jack, but really it was for me because I love to garden, and I've made a garden for myself in every place I've lived, even the tiny rental with no yard. I challenge you to get to the end of this book without crying.

The second book is The Little Train by Lois Lenski. We got it for Jack at the Henry Ford Museum last week in Michigan. After seeing the GIANT locomotive, he's asked me to read him this book every night. It's the perfect length for bedtime as it's kind of long and slow and has all kinds of good train sounds in it. Huff, huff, chooo-ooo, choo-oo, pppsssssttt...

Ok, off to Anthropologie to see if I can find any old timey rugs on sale...

The Great Depression - Anthropologie Style

Ok, so I don't mean to undermine the terrible struggles of people during the great depression. I heard a statistic on NPR yesterday that during the depression 30% of Americans didn't have a toilet. But these rare color photos were recently found, and uhm, they kind of look just like an Anthropolgie catalog. I guess that's the point right. Anthropologie's whole deal is to make old timey things that evoke your hard working grandmother in her youth, and then sell them to you for more than she made in an average year.

The muted colors in these photos are so beautiful. I especially love the apron on the woman in the first shot, the fedora on the woman in the last shot, and the matching dresses on the girls, clearly made out of the same sack cloth. My mom grew up on a farm, and I imagine if there were color pictures of her childhood, they would have looked like some of these. And the picture of the kids lined up in front of the brick building, I imagine is my dad and his buddies Butchie O'green, Billy Goul, and the late great Jiffy Kajeski. Here are a few of my favorites, you can view the rest on the Huffington Post.