I think the invitations went out long enough ago that this won't be a spoiler...

When we started planning, the only certainty was that I wanted to make my own invites. I knew the typewriter would be involved, but beyond that I just saw endless craft possibilities, with little project certainty. Then, this summer a wonderful local stationary store, Scribbles, in Burlington went sadly out of business. Sale on paper. Dangerous words. Their remaining inventory determined the color scheme. I wanted to use some metallic, but didn't want it to go kitsch. I tried to walk the line. The envelopes were delightful and I just bought a box of various papers up, hoping something would come to me.

Drew claims it took 6 weeks. That's an exaggeration, but not much of one. My mom was a life saver. Joining the assembly line at the surface formerly known as our kitchen table.  Here's the final product:

Can't get enough of that typewriter. Or those king & queen stamps...
Isn't that the best envelope lip? I was afraid that the post office would read it as the addressee line and after mailing I'd get 50 envelopes back, but all seems to have worked.

Would I do it all over again? I'd say no, but I'm already anxious to get started on your Valentine's Day cards. Old habits die hard.


Holiday Open Studio and Art Sale

For those in the Burlington area, my studio space is having a little impromptu art open studio & art sale this Saturday. I'll have quilts and other sewn sundries and will be knee deep in some final wedding projects. Grab coffee at Speeder & Earls and then swing on by!

Holiday Open Studio and Art Sale
SATURDAY, DEC. 19, from 11am - 4pm
at Eight Space Art Studios
4 HOWARD ST., 1st floor (near the corner of Pine)
Artists Jen Berger, Bonnie Anderson, Rachel Trooper and Emily Blistein will be opening their doors to all, selling paintings, cards, prints, jewelry, fabric art and more. Enjoy refreshments as you browse!

Here's to a vague memory of all of the free time I had last year to make quilts!


Happiness is a (hot glue) gun.

I don't know why I haven't used my hot glue gun yet. I just found this recipe for fabric pompoms. Supplies needed include: fabric, scissors, a hot glue gun and paper lanterns (I used styrofoam balls). How can you not love that supply list. After the fabric was cut, I whipped these up in 30 minutes. I added a few circles of vintage sheet music too. Simple, fluttery and another recipe that works for fabric & paper. My favorite.

Beware the hot glue gun though. You know the saying: When you have a hammer everything looks like a nail? So goes the hot glue gun. When you have one, everything looks like it should be bound.

All I know is...

Tonight I made pompoms. Or: tonight I continued making pom poms. These days many things are in various states of continuing to be made. I have hunks of yarn sprawling from bags from next to the couch. Little pompoms are stuffed into one bag, yarn in another. And that's just the living room.

At one point, I dumped the pompoms out on the couch. Drew was here. He smiled. I asked if he liked them. He smiled. What? I said. All I know, he told me, is that this is just stage one. I prodded. He went on:

Stage two involves artfully arranging them somewhere. Fabric comes out. Things get tweaked. The camera comes out. More tweaking. Lighting is adjusted. Little details are typed up. He went on.

For the record, Drew is a terrible impersonator. Terrible. He has one universal voice for all women. It's high pitched, tone deaf and pretty darn bad. But his recitation of how I make things was spot on. It went on with detail. It was painfully accurate and absolutely hilarious.

I threw pompoms, a plaintive attempt to make it stop (and frankly to see what they look like thrown).  But despite my pride, I thought for posterity, and maybe a smidge of truth-in-advertising, here's how it looks - in all of it's rumpled banality- for real. Stage one:

This is how we spend our Saturday nights.
On Sunday, he'll spend the day at the mountain and I'll spend the day with my sewing machine (and, a hot glue gun.)
We've got three weeks to go. Vows unwritten.
All I know is, whatever forever we get is slated to include a hell of a lot of laughing.
Pompoms optional.


Finders Keepers

I had a banner day at the Quechee antique store.  I was picking up a few odds and ends. Actually, I was picking up a wedding band, which is neither an odd nor an end, and is sweet as can be (in addition to being a platinum steal!).

On my way to the jewelry case I found some of my new favorite things: Glass bottles and tins and pony shoes, oh my! And a 1950s cocktail dress that fits like a glove.

Everything looked so great together. As they were wrapping and ringing me up,  I couldn't wait to get home to unwrap and photograph. Once again, our painfully creamsicle colored dining room transforms into a divinely muted color when photographed in the afternoon light. Frankly, I think it's magic that these photos aren't a blurry mess. I like magic.

Smith Corona Typewriter (perfectly usable for $30!)

Added to the collection of bottles... (the little blue one says 3-in-one potion!...why oh why do we package everything in plastic.)

Plus some old tobacco tins. Pictured here with all of the pony shoes because they just seem to go together like peas & carrots.

If only I had been able to find a "Quechee is GORGE-ous" Tshirt, the day would have been complete.

Buy your Linen, Rent your forks

In the early days of wedding planning I swore I could get it done for $5000.  I was quickly disabused of this notion. But it made me mildly nauseous as I realized how much money could be spent for a few hours of our lives (even if it will, blah-da-de-blah, last forever in our memories). So I made a few early decisions which I'm fairly certain, kept me to only doubling, not infinitely multiplying, my original figure. Here are the wedding planning rules I lived by: 1) I'll make what I can 2) I'll buy local and antique whenever possible 3) Instead of renting, I'll buy things we'll want to keep.

Aside from loving Drew to infinity in the eyes of the State, item #3 brings me to my favorite part: I'm doing my own linens. The theory being: 1) Renting linens is insanely expensive and generally uninspiring 2) If it's fabric, I can reuse or re-purpose it, 3) Vintage cotton and linen are outstandingly lovely and create exactly the aesthetic I want. More proof?

That said, I had planned on buying my forks too. Oh, and all of the china. Can you imagine dozens of sets of mismatched silver plated silverware and a variety of vintage china on the linens above?
I can.
But I had to stop somewhere.


Going Somewhere, Sweethearts.

The best part of any mass mailing is the mailing. Holding plump little packages in your arms and imagining all of the doorsteps they'll cross. When I was living in DC, I took a stack of valentines for post. A woman asked me if I was getting married. I said nope, they're just valentines. She said "well, you've sure got a lot of sweethearts." It was one of the nicest things a stranger has ever said. I think about that every time I drop 50 some-odd envelopes into the mail. There's something so rich and sweet about real mail.

Generally, with the valentines the envelope is an exhausted afterthought. For these invitations, the envelope set the scheme. The innards took some serious time to wrangle and might have been way more labor intensive than I assumed, but the satisfaction of seeing them all together was worth it.*  By chance, the teal scrolling on the stamp matches the envelope and the little orange heart matches the reply card. Little twists of design luck. Delicious.

Not all of the invites have reached their doors, so I won't post the entire design, but here are the envelopes, each tip-tap-typed by hand (a few with the help of a 5 year old! The typewriter, in all of its glory continues to be an object of fascination).
All of the insides also lined up richly with their golden bobbles. 

*NB: The mailing of these envelopes in any capacity would have been impossible without my Mom, who drove up here special to join the assembly line to get them out.  She's the best.


Going Somewhere?

File this under: things I wish I bought but didn't because I don't really have anywhere to put them, but now picture all of the things I could do with them. Also file under: Things that probably look better all together.


Bike Parts & Little Orange Hearts

My camera's broken. Drew's camera runs out of batteries. And frankly, they take dull photos even when they're working. I want to get a nice camera, but no breath is being held on it. Since I don't believe in telling without showing, I don't have much to show. I do want to share all of the fabulous blogs I've found. Amazing people out there, super aesthetics (if only I could be a super hero). [See new blog links to the right].

I don't usually think about design. I just make and hope the design falls into place. Then I had the super idea to make my own invitations. Seemed simple enough. I make my own valentines by the dozens every year.  It's not the same.  I spent time scrolling through magazines and blogs. Good ideas ended up in pieces and in knots. I bit off more than I could chew.  I kept measuring once and cutting twice.  I got frustrated. I had a loving man often wondering when we'd get our kitchen table back.

Luckily, something clicked a few days ago and I'm on a roll. The rsvp envelopes matched the tiny orange hearts on the stamps.  I was off.  Hopefully.

In the mean time, I dug deep for some good old photos of my own that make me want to make something. This is from a trip to Brooklyn in 2008. I love double bikes, though I never want to be the person in the back.

If I had to do it over again, I'd draw a little pen and ink of this bike and use it for invites. Maybe for Valentine's day.


Making Silk Flowers Out of a Swine's Flu

Everyone in the house except for me and the girl dog has the flu.
That's two boys and one man down.
We sent everyone to bed early and made flowers.

White flowers with linen, silk, white parchment & pearl beads.
Green leaves of silk and pages from an antique book about wildflowers.
an early bedtime, a juice medley and some of that oscillococcinum.
All together now!



I saved our coffee grinds this morning and tried to remember a bath scrub I'd made a few years ago. I couldn't, so I made it up again. It's a perfect morning pick-me-up, if you like that sort of thing. Plus it takes 3 minutes and you can ignore my amounts and ingredients and make your own*. The key is: something scrubby, something oily, something minty. (Not necessarily in that order.)

Here's today's Coffee Morning Scrub
1. Find a small container with a lid
2. Mix:
   -Yesterdays coffee grinds +
   -1 big spoonful of brown sugar +
   -1 tblspn of oil (I prefer Alba's Kukui nut oil, a mix of a few oils, but almond, coconut, etc will do) +
   -Few drops Dr Bronners liquid Peppermint soap (or a minty essential oil)
3. Use as a morning body scrub (shower may also require a rinse)
4. Since this is a textile focused blog, here's the link: Put scrub a nice glass container, tie with ribbon, make your own sewn pouch, tie with another ribon, share with friends.

* Mitch Hedberg has a joke that he tells that goes nowhere so he says "I'm going to take all the words out [of that joke] and add new words. That joke will be fixed." If you don't know Mitch Hedberg, you should youtube him, and watch it after your morning body scrub.


Summer, revisited

I forgot to post these wonderful linen finds from a summer Church sale in Middlebury. The masthead photo on this blog is a shot I took of the thread spools after purchase on what must have been one of the only sunny summer days. The linens are vintage floral dying to be refashioned into something new and I can't fully express my love for wooden thread spools.
All for $31.


What can I say. I'm pretty into it.
Even though it just lives in my closet and isn't making itself into anything yet.

Also in the realm of loving things: Etsy
Bought this necklace last week. It's
light as a feather and maybe
the prettiest thing you've
seen all day.

And look at that
it looks good with tulle.
'Course it does.


Union Street

I love the antique store on Flynn Ave.
Found this sign last week.
Now I love it more.

White Pumpkins & Paper Whites

It got cold. Fast. This week I bought a coat in the middle of the day because the wind blew through my sweater and scarf. Later that night a friend gave me some little paperwhite bulbs, which I love, but trigger images of eager snowflakes. There's nothing I like better than winter, than pillow perfect snow and warm houses, but winter wonderlands belie stick season, snow shoveling, window scraping and now crossing fingers that friends wont be snowed in or out of the wedding.

In fairness, it's not even Halloween. I have yet to take my new little power drill to the perfect Martha pumpkins. It is chilly and not California.

Cape Stones

We spent a lovely week on the cape. Here are my favorite finds after they found their way home; milky white pebble stones and heart shaped rocks. That big hunk of a heart was one that Drew came home with after a run on the trails behind our house.

 I started out impressively avoiding the obsessive collection habits I can have when I'm around pretty things (a story about moss collection to follow), but a few days in I caved.

On the beach, I heard parents informing their children that they couldn't "take all of those rocks home." I suppose I might be one of those parents some day. But until then...look at all of these great rocks I found at the beach!

Broken Camera & The Love Foods

My camera has a mild anxiety attack every time I turn it on. Always a lover of storybooks, I don't really believe in just writing at you, thus a delinquency of posts. But the fall is outstanding in Vermont and I've been collecting bits and pieces of things and coming to terms with how close our wedding is, so with a borrowed camera, we'll see if I can make up for some lost weeks.

Here's one of my favorite old finds from the Brooklyn Flea market from a visit with Sophie & Liz a few years ago: It states "Add more zest, zip, vigor and passion to your life with vitamin and mineral packed aphrodisiacs cooked in your own kitchen. This handbook is a complete dictionary of love foods and herbs you should keep in your cupboard."


Save it!

tip. tap. tip. type. tip. tap. tap. tip. spending a bit of time at the typewriter these days. amazing small children. trying not to jam the keys. tip. tap. type. tip tap. in awe of typography.

loving the thwap, thwap, thwap, ding!
irregular letters, crooked lines!

forget email. i'm going to start sending you telegraphs.


Something Old

While cleaning out my grandmother's home, we found many little notes and descriptors that my grandmother had made and tucked into drawers and vases. In one of my last trips, my mom and I found a small box with a note that the contents were my great-grandmother's wedding lace. It is divine. It's old and there are tatters, but it is really the most amazing discovery I could have asked for as my own planning began.

I took it home to see about cleaning.



My grandma, Sophie, passed away in early June. She was wonderful. As I got older, and smart enough to ask her about her life, I got to delight in these little moments of memory with her - jobs and travels and thoughts and experiences. In the last year, I tried to visit a bit more often. On the surface, she was quick to tell me that she liked it better when I wore skirts and my hair down. But when we sat on her porch under the Providence trees, I tried to remind myself to keep asking her questions about her life. Each question opened a new door and I was always glad I asked.
She reinforced the belief that homes should be built around books. She spoke up when it wasn't asked for or easy. We pealed apples with this silly little contraption that tumbled springy thin peals onto the counter. I make delicious grilled cheese for the boys in the betty crocker pocket sandwich maker she gave me when I was in college. I'm thankful for the adult years I had with her to appreciate what an incredible path she paved for me.
I love her indefinitely and totally miss her.


(hand drawn) hitches, (typed) knots, (quilted) balls & (letterpressed) chains

Sometime this spring --after summer clothes had been pulled from hidden closets, before all of the rain, after my speeding ticket-- Drew sat me down for an inauspicious conversation. I've tried to remember what he said, but all I remember is that it was a warm slow Sunday afternoon and the curtains looked really nice in the wind. I overheard him later telling my dad he just wanted to "make sure [she] wasn't going anywhere." It was sweeter than that, but I don't think anyone ever really wants to hear other people's sentimental moments. Suffice it to say, we decided we might just get hitched and thus began a vague few months of trying to decide what kind of celebration this kind of thing might call for.

Concurrently, a world of craft projects has been unlocked (handmade invitations, wedding favors, warm quilts for babies to lie on during the ceremony?). I love the man, but my craft heart fluttered just as loud.

So the Valentine's might have to take their first hiatus in 8 years & my sewing machine has had to share space with my typewriter. Stay tuned...


Peonies: Real & Sewn

I bought peonies a few weeks ago. I love bulbous fluttery flowers and peonies never let me down. I snapped a few photos to catch them as the petals started threatening to fall:
They managed to photograph with a lot of fluttery drama, which is saying something considering the lame cantaloupe color of our kitchen (of which I am really not a fan) and the fact that in person they were well on their way to decay. Never underestimate the beauty you can get with $9 at the grocery store.

Since taking them, I've wanted to recreate some textile peonies in some way and started a little project. First up, some 3-d petals wired together to make flowers (or, more accurately: A flower)
Project two: sewn peony pillows. They took some planning, but managed to stay pretty organic and roughly formed:

Each petal is topstiched to the linen. Here's a shot of the underside that belies the process a little: