Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pretty in Pink in February (with a little purple)

February's in 7 1/2 hour and I'm ready: you may have noticed I like pink.  This may be the only month when I can be totally pinked out and it might not be so noticeable, what with Valentine's Day in the air. 
[sweater by J. Crew a few years ago,
I have a beautiful satin sash that goes with it, not pictured]
[iPod mini (Apple no longer sells this model),
Blackberry Curve (not sure if the pink one is still available,
but they've recently introduced a purple, nice!,
Sony Cyber-shot DSCW80 w/sparkles from Korea, but also no longer available, boxes from Kate's Paperie]
[slippers by Dearfoams]
[knit heart pattern from Martha Stewart Living]
[bag and cashmere scarf from Mulberry]
[pyjama set and ($2.50!) camisoles from Forever 21]
[essie, O.P.I. and pa nail collective polishes (I've also been experimenting with nail jewels, but can't blog about it until my skills improve), Timex clock]
[macaroons from the Preston Bailey party]
[Valentine's Day m&m's]

Wishing you a very pink February!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Words from the Wise

One of the events I worked on during this busy week was a party for event designer Preston Bailey's book Celebrations: Lush Flowers, Opulent Tables, Dramatic Spaces, and Other Inspirations for Entertaining.
To walk into a Preston Bailey event is to be jaw-droppingly inspired and I'm so impressed with his vision and the hard work it takes to bring it to life.  I love that he can create environments with so many different materials: flowers, lighting, fabrics, beading, even paper.  Us crafters out there would be interested in his chapter on "The Art of the Details", in which he uses yarn, felt, paper and ribbon to create centerpieces, placemats, table runners and party favors:

"From floral chair backs to daisy cupcake place mats of woven ribbon, paper brought an exquisite level of texture and beauty to the table while still being functional and affordable, and prompted me to look for other similarly affordable and versatile elements".
Very cool advice from the man who is given free rein on lavish, budget-is-no-object events for everyone from Oprah to royal families around the globe and proof that (and maybe even especially in these times), creativity doesn't have to cost a fortune.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lists, oh lists

I got my love of lists from my Dad.  His last name is Lisco, but it might as well have been (terrible, cheesy joke coming up): List-o.  Actually, I think he'll like that joke.  Here are my Mom's recipe binder (yes, that's Martha!) and my Dad's 36-point weekend To Do list.  A sampling:

- #10: load video editing SW on Dell Desktop (it took me a sec to figure out what SW meant, that's how tech-saavy I am)
- #19: fix washer/dryer water shut-off valves (he also took apart a radio when he was 5 and taught himself how to put it back together a few years later)
- #26: canisters on Generator (huh?!)
- #30: insulate ceiling holes in garage (pretty chilly in there today)

On his To Buy list: #6 P16T8 26" fluorescent light for oven and #9 R13 foil back insulation for attic lights.  I think he should start a handyman business.
My Mom always did crafts and project with me and my Brownie troupe when I was little and my friends still remember her baking cookies for us when we got home.  She also used to make candles, something I've been getting interested in here and here.  She may still have some molds left, probably downstairs in their basement/workshop/craft corner.
Hopefully they won't mind me posting their basement pics; it's actually really organized right now thanks to my Dad's #16: assemble storage cabinets in basement and #21: finish basement workshop cleaning.
My Mom also does Peter Rabbit storytime with kids at our local library and volunteers with her church group.  So they like to keep busy, like me!

And thanks to my 2 new overnight followers.  I'm fascinated by this blog:
Οι Συμμορίτες which you can translate right on the page with Google Translate to horoscope fits me I think:
LEON (heart) 
The best tonic for the brave but arrogant and your heart is the Calendula.
Alternatively, we suggest a little melissa necessary to stimulate the heart and soothes the intensity of your demanding roar.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Craftiness Redux

[from Acer]
My Acer Netbook is the very first computer I ever bought by myself: adorably red, 10" screen, very portable.  But once in a while I use a full-size monitor and notice all this available, empty sidebar space, hmmm.  So, I'm going to try a redesign, which might throw all the older entries out of whack.  We'll see what happens. 

[from Amazon]
Oh and I just watched Julie & Julia for the 2nd time, inspiration to all of us looking for what bring us joy and what we want to do when we grow up...I should learn how to cook.     

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sew Inspired!

My stylish friend, She Crafty, surprised me the other day with this beautiful book: Seams to Me: 24 New Reasons to Love Sewing by Anna Maria Horner.  I had been telling her about the wonderful sewing machine I got for Christmas and how I need to learn how to use it.  So far I've successfully threaded it and now I have to get going!  Seams to Me has great, basic information, helpful to me as a beginner and I can't wait to pick out one of the projects and figure it all out.  The last time I touched a sewing machine was when I made an iPod case at Make Workshop in the Lower East Side where they have classes from knitting to soap making, embroidery to letterpress, and even shoe making! 
My boyfriend pointed out that so many crafty book titles are a play on words.  Also from my bookshelf are: In Stitches: More than 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects by Amy Butler, Knitting Pretty by Kris Percival (my 1st knitting book from years ago; seems to be back at my place so no cover pic here, but I've made many projects from it) and Stitch 'N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller (taught me how to crochet the magic circle, very helpful!) 

So, I must face the sewing machine head on, and I'm so grateful to be armed with a new book.  Thanks, She Crafty!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Peg Stamp Cards

I mentioned in my 1st post of the new year that I got a 40% off coupon from Michael's so I bought a pretty Martha Stewart Peg Stamp Kit. 

I had never used peg stamps before, but the peg is the ruled piece of acrylic that you hold and which you can stick the stamps to.  It's quick and easy and there's such a nice selection in this kit, so there are many possibilities. 

I can't seem to find this exact kit online, but it could be in your local Michael's right now.  I basically followed the patterns on the package to start with, but I think I'll be using this again soon.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Recent Resources

This picture is from Broadway Paper, "the paper store with so much more," not in NYC, but in Wisconsin.  I found the site while doing some research on mini hat boxes today.  Looks like a fun store, wish I could visit, but until then I'll just have to check out their website some more, it's quite pretty.  I've also found a few other interesting shops recently:

I stumbled on Exotic Fragrances, Inc. all the way up on 104th Street when I didn't have an umbrella en route to The Museum of the City of New York.  I had been looking for fragrance oils to use in poured candles so I was shocked to find this shop with over 1,000 scents!  I chose Peppermint and Dewberry, so hopefully I'll buy the other materials to make these candles soon, maybe before winter is over.

I also just happened to walk by Beads of Paradise on 17th Street.  They have pieces from all over the world: South East Asia, India, Indonesia, China, the Middle East and Mexico and beads made of glass, metal, wood, shell, gold, silver and semi-precious stones.  They even have reasonably priced classes, might have to check those out sometime.

If I'm not working at events, my office closes at 6 p.m. each day.  I've wanted to go to New York Central Art Supply on 3rd Avenue, but it closes at 6:15!  So, it was cool when I got out early yesterday and could check it out.  This store has been in business since 1905 and I like that they had a vast selection of "serious" art supplies from paints to embossing and silk screening supplies, as well as "lighter" stuff like glitter and sculpey clay.  

And I also made it a little further south to Downtown Yarns and saw these cool yarn snowflakes in the window.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Other Bargains

I forgot to mention the adorable $1 per 40 square feet wrapping paper from Target.  And the tealight holders from Ikea for $2.99 for the pack of 5.  The cup in the front is holding a bunch of hearts I punched out with my Martha Stewart craft punch (love these!).  It was a little more expensive, but I can punch out about 60 hearts a minute.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Valentine's Day Prep

I'm going to try to send Valentines for the first time in I don't even know how long.  Between Michael's and Target all of this was under $8.00: 20 pastel acid-free cards with envelopes, 20 cello bags with ties, 73 rhinestone heart and stud stickers, 16 sheets of printed 5" x 7" paper and 8 yards of velvet ribbon.

My high school friend Katie Sullivan, wedding planner and owner of Koru Wedding Shoppe in Hoboken also told me recently about her shopping trip to A.C. Moore for paper and embellishments for her valentines.  Katie was a creative inspiration for me; even when we were kids her room was decorated with beautiful papers and quotes, and now at Koru she has a wonderful selection of bridal gifts and accessories and can do anything from handling your invitations to planning your whole wedding!

Katie and I hope to make a run to Michael's sometime when our schedules free up.  And it looks like I should also go to A.C. Moore: they have a membership rewards program!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Foodie Gifts

Anyone who knows me knows that eating is my absolute passion.  I'm grateful to work in catering so I can eat for a living since sometimes crafting is a way to distract myself from thinking about my next meal.  So, if there's a way to combine food and crafts, I'm all for it. 

The pic above was a Christmas gift for my Mom and a few other bakers in my life: a kit to make your own bread, but without kneading.  The amazing techniques come from Kneadlessly Simple: Fabulous, Fuss-Free, No-Knead Breads by Nancy Baggett, one of Amazon's Top 10 Cookbook Customer Favorites of the Year.  The slow rise method means that you don't have to spend all the time and energy kneading the dough to get amazing results at home.  The kits were easy to put together:

Just a few kinds of flour (I found mine at Lifethyme Natural Market on 6th Ave), sesame seeds, poppy seeds and a packet of yeast.  I had read that Ball stopped making their classic canning jars, but fortunately it was a myth! and I found them at Fishs Eddy, a cool store by Union Square and also in Brooklyn that specializes in commercial quality dishes, glassware and other tabletop pieces from hotels and diners across the country.  I wrapped each jar in a snowflake dish cloth from Crate and Barrel (since I had quite the snowflake theme this Christmas) and attached a note with the recipe.

Another Christmas gift was the re-creation of an ice cream sundae that my boyfriend and I had in San Francisco on his birthday trip this summer.

Bi-Rite Creamery and Bakeshop is in the Mission District and I'm so glad we trekked out there because we found Sam's Sundae.

If you can't read the sign up there, it's: chocolate ice cream, organic bergamot olive oil, maldon sea salt and whipped cream, wow!  Such an interesting combination, it was unlike any sundae we'd ever had before.  So, for Christmas I found the ingredients.  I like the idea of giving (and then eating) a memory.

The chocolate gelato was just from my local grocery store, but the Maldon sea salt was from Whole Foods (after I called and they said they had it, I arrived and they didn't have it, but they then found it in the back), and the bergamot olive oil was so hard to find that I went to Amazon.  They seem to be sold out of the one that I bought, but go to the link and there's a different one available now.

And a last word on Whole Foods: today I called to see if they had kumquats and they said, no definitely not, maybe by Friday.  For some reason I still felt that they'd have them and I'm glad I went over because they had plenty.  So, I also bought honey, ginger and whole cloves to make preserves from Su Mei-Yu's The Elements of Life: A Contemporary Guide to Thai Recipes and Traditions for Healthier Living.  These kumquat preserves can be saved in the fridge for months and steeped as a tea, can heal a terrible cold just about overnight.  And check out the book to find out if your element is earth, wind, water or fire, and how you should eat to best balance your type.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Organizing the craftiness

Can someone please come over and help me organize?!  Maybe my very talented, scholarship-winning! friend, designer Horacio Hernandez could help me out.  Otherwise, these are some beautiful options...

[also from Martha Stewart Living]

[from Better Homes and Gardens, link from Paper Source]

[from The Container Store: $445.67]

[from The Container Store: $805.70]

[from The Container Store: $545.86]

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010 Planning and 1st Project

 Happy New Year!  I've been planning out all of the crafting i want to do this year, or more like figuring out when I want to do everything.  I used to buy a calendar every year, but decided to make my own for the new decade. 

I've only gotten through May so far because I wanted to buy paper in other colors...

So, I made another trip to Michael's up on 97th and Columbus and limited it to just an hour and $50.00 this time.  I'm going to see if I can get by with that as a monthly budget.  When I registered at their website they sent a coupon for 40% off one item, nice!  I bought a stamp kit for making cards, so that will show up in a post soon I'm sure.
My first project for the year is Beaded Hairpins from Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts and I'll be using this awesome book a lot this year.

Growing up, I used to bead with my sister Emily and I wish I could find the bead stash and organizer I had then. Somehow we found the time (and patience!) to spend hours separating tiny seed beads by color and stringing flower bracelets onto unwaxed dental floss. I guess my eyesight was much better then, because it was a little challenging this time around with 30-gauge wire.

Just 5 petals and a center and then you attach the flower to a bobby pin. I think I'll have to send some to Emily soon.

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