Monday, December 26, 2011

Thoughts On Giving...

We had a wonderful Christmas and received gifts this year that were far less consumery and far more thoughtful than ever before. My mother gave me a photo of myself at 6 months along with the very dress I was wearing in the photo and a gift certificate to get Amelia's photo taken when she reaches 6 months. My inlaws gave us a night's stay at a fancy hotel along with babysitting for the night so that the two of us can go on a nice date. Me and Beck are going to a class to learn how to knit. What creative and thoughtful people we have in our family.

It makes me think of this article about helping kids cultivate a giving identity. Growing up, whenever we'd ask what my mom wanted for Christmas, she'd tell us to make her something. We never really believed her, but now that I'm here, I totally understand. Who wouldn't want a pasta necklace created just for them over a sweater that other people have too? The pasta necklace after all is nearly couture (*and if made in Paris in a building where 10 others are also making one-of-a-kind noodle necklaces actually would follow the rules of couture). And, as they say, it really is the thought. How lovely. For Amelia to understand this is one of my wishes for her. One of a great many and one that my mother succeeded in instilling in me. Me and Beck each wrote her a love letter for Christmas this year and gave her tickets to the Love Letters Mural tour in Philadelphia. So we'll make her some memories to fulfill the "make me something" request this year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Luckiest

Amelia has taken to napping for 20 minutes every 3 hours or so. When she is sleeping, I've been trying to work on a handmade gift for Dan loosely inspired by Elsie Larson's 12 Dates of Christmas. I thought it would be important to do something like this because babies ain't easy...and I want him to know that even though I'm exhausted when he gets home, I haven't forgotten him. He's been doing the same by bringing me or sending me flowers every week. Yeah, I know. How lucky and smart of me to marry him.
I realized we needed to reconnect when discussing this photo. It's called The Human Nest and you can actually stay it in for the night. I saw it when Jordan from Oh Happy Day blogged about it. I told Dan that I'd like to live there with him and he said that he'd like to live there with me too. I realized that I could easily be happy living in a little ball of sticks with him and Amelia. That also means that I'm really lucky to roll with such a rad crew.

P.S. Dan has off for a whole week starting tomorrow. I feel like I won the lottery.

Here's hoping your day is full of winnings and windfalls too.


Monday, December 19, 2011

2 months!

Amelia is two months old! Here are some of my favorite moments with her so far:
-her first smiles were all in her sleep and I suspect resulted from gas, but I loved them so much anyway.
-her very first day, she started stretching like an adult. She throws her arms up in the air and arches her back. Me and Dan decided that it's her way of reminding us that she's a real person and not a doll or a robot baby.
-When she gets excited, she kicks really hard and fast and I usually can't help but think, man, I should do that when I get excited too.

I love that girl.

photo by Matt Walker

Saturday, December 17, 2011


I had the best 30th birthday wherein many of my dear friends somehow (through the powers of Dan) ended up in the same little room. We all ate greek food, drank wine and laughed a lot. Man am I lucky.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lucky Indeed

I just came across Lucky Jackson's 365 Lucky Days Project and I'm a combination of mesmerized, inspired, impressed and jealous. Lucky makes a new piece of art every day, most of which involve intricate embroidered illustrations. My favorites are the mixed media projects with flowers and lace and the strange pop culture references she makes in her artwork. I have no idea how she's able to complete one of these every day...embroidery, though easy, is the most time consuming medium I've ever worked in. But I love and miss it and hope Amelia will let me embroider again some day. (Lucky's 52nd day is shown above)

Happy Hooping,

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Have you discovered Sweet Paul yet? I can't believe this eluded me for so many awesome ideas for baking and DIYing. It'll help me get my magazine fix in between issues of BHG and Martha. The photos are gorgeous!

Have a sweet weekend.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I was going to write about hats...

...but I'm too obsessed with the fact that two dogs and one baby are draped all over me and all three are making beautiful sleeping sounds. Man...there needs to be a stronger word than love.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Towanda! Righter of Wrongs, Queen Beyond Compare!

I somehow roped Dan into watching Fried Green Tomatoes with me last night (ironically I just plucked the last four green tomatoes from the garden yesterday). Anyway, as usual, I grew achingly inspired by the fashions in the film thus solidifying my unwavering love for depression-era everything.

Here are some things on my list to purchase for myself in celebration of turning 30 in one month. (I know). Everything is under $100. See you at the Whistle Stop!
Blouse from Mod Cloth.
Hat by Reenacat.
A size to strive for...but still. From Shabby Apple.
From Anthropologie.
From Idea2Lifestyle.



Friday, November 11, 2011

Hair Romance

So maybe I haven't gone a single day in the past three weeks without finding spit up in my hair. (My mom calls it "a mother's badge of honor") This doesn't mean I can't continue to fantasize about beautiful hairdos.
Do you think I could pull this off? From Rhapsodic Musings.
What event would make this look appropriate? I need to get in on it.
I do NOT agree with Patti Stanger. Red hair is the bomb. (I also love the hair wear by Gardens of Whimsy).

Have a Happy Weekend.


Happy Palindromes!

(Happy Palindrome Day)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In Celebration...(???)

Some blue things to celebrate the possible end of my baby blues:
A beautiful 'scape with lots of layers. Side note: Blue is rumored to decrease appetite. (Bonus!)
God I love a shoe with a bow.
An ode to Saturday.

I'm finally feeling like the baby blues haze is starting to peel away a bit, so why not celebrate. It's funny because it hit me in such a different way than I thought it would. I imagined myself feeling gray and living in a bathrobe with my hair in dreadlocks (if you knew me sophomore year of high school, you'd know that dreads are not a good look for me). This didn't happen. So far Amelia is a really easy going baby and she gives me a lot of time to get dressed in the morning. I make the bed every day. I let the dogs out. I've even found time to work on some necklaces. Instead of the self-centered blues that I was waiting for, my blues were directed outward toward everyone I knew. I felt sad for Amelia because I felt like she was growing up too fast and I wasn't savoring her enough. I felt badly for Dan when he had to go to work. I felt badly for James and Pete who had to readjust their lives. And when I say I felt badly....I was debilitating, often involved tears and left me very reckless. I'm still trying to power through it, but the edge is gone and I'm trying to savor this baby and he beautiful baby powers while she's still little. I'm also discovering that I have some things that I so desperately need to GET OVER!
1. Babies grow up. Stop getting mad when people tell you this or when they comment on how big Amelia is already.
2. People will talk baby talk and you must let them. After all, it's apparently good for them. Sigh.
3. The four days in the hospital will always be the best four days of my life. I need not try to top them for it will be impossible.
4. Most people don't know how to savor. That doesn't mean I shouldn't.

I hope your day is full of color...blues or otherwise.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Scents and Sensibilities

Pete is allergic. To everything. He recently went on a gluten-free white fish and potato diet thanks to his new homeopathic vet, which has made him seem a lot perkier and his skin is finally not weeping every other day. I recently realized that he is allergic to scented sprays, like Febrese, which I spray on the carpets almost daily. The fact that it's taken me this long to realize this makes me really sad, but I digress. Better late than never.

I researched options for natural home sprays and I came up with one that doesn't seems to hit any of Pete's known allergies and it makes the place smell even better than the stuff you buy at Target because it's not all weird chemicals. Here's my recipe:

* 1 oz gin (it smells like Christmas!) can also use rubbing alcohol or vodka
* 6 oz filtered water
* 20 – 40 drops of essential oil: peppermint is my fave (Bonus: it keeps bugs away)

Mix all of the ingredients together and spray away...but not into anyones''s all fun and games until someone gets spritzed in the eye. Shake well each time before you spritz.I put this spray in a vintage plant spritzer that I bought at a garage sale, but a regular spray bottle would work too.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Feeling Thankful

I haven't been the greatest pregnant person. In fact, I have probably been one of the worst I can think of with all of the whining and complaining and utter denial. In fact, this whole time, I was certain that I would lose this baby despite what doctors told me each time, so I'm going to file the experience under self preservation. Done.

Today (I wrote this on Sunday), Dan came home from softball and was the happiest I've ever seen him. He is very excited to meet Amelia and, after much deliberation, decided to shave the beard he's been growing because he did think it would feel good against the baby's face. So sweet.

He took me to Honey's for lunch in Northern Liberties and it was a perfect day. If you haven't been there, you're totally missing out...they call it Southern Jewish food, which is the perfect combination of my sensibilities and Dan's heritage. You seriously can't order anything there that isn't amazing and it's also really inexpensive. I suggest the mac n cheese and the matzah ball soup. See...Southern Jewish. How can you even go wrong?

Dan has already picked out the shirt that he'd like to wear in the hospital for photos. He actually went out yesterday and bought it special. Man...I love that guy. I'm about to make one to wear that is inspired by a shirt that Nicole S. wore to my house on Friday. Let us be vain until we can be no more.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Sweet Sweet Escapism

I made a deal with myself to blog at least once a day so I'm writing this Sunday afternoon and posting on Monday. Right now I'm most likely being induced. I'm terrified, but I won't tell anyone that beforehand because I HATE advice. Always have. So instead of thinking about it, I've decided to escape for a bit and set my house up in a nice way that will make me smile when I get home from the hospital beginning with a cute table scape. (Yes, I do realize that this will be the least of my worries, but just go with it for me.)

I LOVE a good table scape. To me, the tablecloth is a clean canvas for a beautiful story to be told. While preparing for my wedding, I kept going back to this look from Once Wed. I was literally obsessed with it for months, but at the time, I couldn't find a way to work it into my wedding with the budget at hand. So today, as I set the stage for a whirlwind adventure to begin, I used it as my main inspiration.
The result is obviously pared down, not outside and taken by my phone since I'm camera-less, but I think the colors come through well and I already have returned to the kitchen several times to look at it. It makes me so happy. I grew the dahlias and used some of the flowers from my anniversary bouquet to make the arrangement in the same jewel toned colors as my inspiration table. The vintage tablecloth is one of my proudest ebay finds and I layered it with cuttings from an old frayed quilt that my aunt gave me in hopes that I could rework it into something. I usually use them as pseudo doilies under things and there are a few under pumpkins on my front porch at the moment. (Apparently I'm 86 because I have a bad case of lace doily fever).

It's good to escape on to reality. Wish me luck.


Friday, October 14, 2011

I Can Hear The Bells!

In my family, we like to pile on the big events like graduations, births and weddings and cram them all into tiny bits of time. It makes life more exciting I think. So, in the spirit of celebration, my sister is getting married on October 29. I seriously can't wait. This summer, she asked me to make thank you gifts for the moms that were inspired by the vintage brooch bouquet that she had made and what you see above is the final result---taken by my phone since I don't have a camera (gasp!). I made them using this tutorial from Fancy Pants Weddings. While I wouldn't say it was the easiest DIY I've ever embarked on, I can certainly say that it was one of the most fun.

I sourced the brooches from Ellis Antiques, Columbus Mart and I used a few of my great grandmother's that I had. I'm totally making these again in the future since it makes for a wonderful centerpiece that doesn't die, or in my case, result in ants crawling around your house---ants love dahlias! who knew!?

Happy Friday.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

If You Could Be Anywhere...

Forgive me for the cliche that skips hand-in-hand with "If you could spend the day with anyone...who would it be?" (Douglas Coupland...duh). The thought popped into my head as I've been feeling like more and more of a shut in. At 41 weeks pregnant, it would appear that NO, I am not allowed to go for a walk by myself in Northern Liberties, NO, I am not allowed to wander the rows of "trashtiques" by myself at the Columbus Mart and No, I am not allowed to take the NE Corridor train into Manhattan to try out for the next season of Design Star. Jeez, Dan, what a killjoy.

The worst no of all, however, has been keeping away from Terrain. My end-all, be-all, "if you could be anywhere in the world where would it be?" locale. I know. Maybe it's lame to want to go to a store instead of, say, Versaille or somewhere equally as esthetically impressive. Terrain is tangible to me and it always fills my mind with fresh ideas. And as a poor traveler, I've come to the conclusion that I don't need to fly far away when my brain is so full of amazing thoughts. Man, I can't wait to go there again...

Here's hoping your life is enjoying a bit more autonomy. And here's to knowing that being a temporary shut-in is totally worth it.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Crowning Glory

When I met my husband, I was going through a really intense fashion phase that involved lots of polyester, stubby fat neck ties (a Melissa B inspiration) and hair that I could sit on when I rode the 1/9. Thanks to time, multi-vitamins and my inability to successfully make appointments, my hair has reached the bottom of my back and within the year will probably be sat upon at some point. This, I find awesome.

In the midst of DIY summer, where I attempted to make everything from scratch including 6 vats of pickles, a new dress and baby mobiles, I came across the idea to create my own shampoos and conditioners. I had wanted to do this with my fashion students at some point, but never got around to it. Also, I like that it's green and is customizable, plus, it can be unbelievably easy and rewarding as most prairie-style DIY projects are. Here's the first recipe I tried and, let me tell you, I'm impressed. (I made sure to use Dr. Bronner's castille soap for the liquid soap as it's pretty pure and doesn't contain weird chemicals that will yield three-eyed fish in our future)

Specifically, here's my modified recipe:
-8oz. distilled spring water
-4 tbsp. liquid castille soap
-3 tablespoons dried/crushed lavendar (I had this in my garden, but you can buy it in health food stores or craft stores...just make sure its organic)
-3 tablespoons dried/crushed rosemary (also had this in my garden)

1. Bring water to a boil
2. Place herbs in a strainer (the kind with very small holes or mesh)
3. In the bottle you'll use for your shampoo (I used an old glass vanilla bottle), add the castille soap.
4. Make herb water by holding the strainer of herbs over a container with a lid. Pour boiling water over the herbs and squeeze out any excess water into the new container. Make sure no renegade herbs got into your herb water. Cover and let steep for 10-30 minutes.
5. Transfer herb water to the shampoo bottle (the one that contains the castille soap)
6. Date and label the bottle (the shelf life is up to a year!). You can really go overboard with the cuteness of the label, as those shown below. Because mine was a practice round, I just sort of let it be anonymous....I'm the only one in my house that uses liquid shampoo anyway, but I'm toying with the idea of making this as a gift in the future and perhaps infusing with orange zest. We'll see.

"Her" Shampoo by Good4You; A Beautiful Life's (P.S. They're local!) "Honey'do" Shampoo in honey bear bottle,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Greetings from the Happy Files

Just a few things that are floating my boat:
Embroidery Art from the merriweather council.

Fabric Plants! from janejoss

Simple...and not so perfect. Compliments of AmeliaBrilliant ;)

Here's hoping this positive outlook will lead me straight into a positive labor. C'mon out, Amelia!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Someone Was Looking Out...

About ten years ago, I was sort of a wayward girl living in Manhattan and going through a real "lady of the night" phase if I can call it that after a bad breakup with ye olde high school sweetheart. When I came home to hide out after September 11, my friend introduced me to this flippant boy who offended me and never deserved a second look until I saw him again months later and we were wearing the same shirt. In this new context, I knew I had to have him. So I got him. Between college classes, I wrote his senior year research paper on the relevance of celebrating Christopher Columbus (I got a B+ but it was totally an A paper) after he refused to do it. He came to New York and spent his last dollar to bring me ice skating. We walked around a lot and talked about things because we didn't have any money to do anything. I made him a wallet out of ketchup packets. He gave me a stuffed dog named James. I went to his prom and wore a red dress from 1955 that I bought and reworked for $12. He carried all of my shoes from West 27th St. all the way to the train when I moved home. Somewhere along the line, after refusing to let myself for a really long time, I fell in love with that guy and I married him two years ago today. Now I look at him sometimes and I wonder what I did in my past life to deserve him. If I were president, there would be a law that would make it mandatory for everyone in America to have someone that makes them feel the way he makes me feel. In other words, world peace. Man....I'm lucky.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Farewell, Fringe and Frida

It was a tough week in our house with the passing of a family member. We were lucky to have been invited several days this week to say goodbye and we're currently working through a two-day funeral/memorial service, so we've been in a bit of a fog. Dan's uncle was a wonderful man and I'm happy we've been able to say goodbye in a big way. 39.5 weeks it's been pretty hard on the body. I'm secretly hoping that the experience is teaching Amelia the importance of family in utero. I don't think we'll have a hard time getting this idea through to her either way...but I digress.

Unless she's born before her Monday due date, I'm hoping to get back into the craft room this weekend to make some Spring 2012-inspired necklaces to add to the bunch for spring shows before I become a full-time mom. Here are a few inspiration pieces that, oddly enough, I had found myself wearing in the ridiculous dreams that I've been having. I know. Obsessed.

also...uhm...hi, Frida.

Happy Friday.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Channeling Frida

I recently read Elsie Larson's tips for staying inspired and I was particularly taken with tip #2-Find a New Muse. I can't agree more that, when doing any kind of organized creativity, it is important to have a concept. At the same time, I can't seem to digress from Frida Kahlo, my life's greatest muse, as she seems to creep into all of my artistic endeavors and, of late, into most of the late-pregnancy looks that I've been struggling to put together. Especially lately. (At least for now, I refuse to live a day where I do not dress-please spare me any "wait until the baby is born" nonsense. This is currently non-negotiable.) So while I may take Elsie up on her other tips (Elsie after all is muse-worthy in and of herself), I think I'll keep Frida around for a while. I think I may even let her take over for a while. After all....

She refused to live by Coco Chanel's rule of taking off one accessory (could you die over that head piece?!:

Girl knew how to layer:

And oh, the colors. It's impossible not to think of Frida in those saturated reds and yellow, as though she lived her life in a brilliant Mexican shrine:

She never ceases to inspire me and I plan to let her for as long as she likes. Especially if it means that I'll continue wearing fringe booties with maxi skirts and lace shirts. <3 Thanks, Frida.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Teeny Tiny Things-No it's not pregnancy related

I held my breath when I read about Emily Henderson's "I'm A Giant! Dollhouse Challenge" this morning here and straight from the source. I was so excited...until I realized I was holding my breath and I nearly passed out. Whoops.

I've been totally addicted to miniatures since I was a little kid and once of the highlights of my life was building my dollhouse with my mom. I even took a class to learn how to make a tiny wicker dog bed and a wicker bathroom waste basket from a certified (CERTIFIED!) dollhouse expert. I have to admit that I played with my dollhouse until I was way too old to admit I was playing with a dollhouse. Like, seriously, I think I was driving when I finally stopped...but I always decorated it for Christmas...even when I could drink legally. Whew...It feels good to admit that. Throughout this pregnancy I've toyed with the idea of making a dollhouse for Amelia, before realizing that it had nothing to do with Amelia. This challenge is making me feel tempted again, but luckily, the fact that I can barely bend over would make this project an impossibility so I'll sideline myself. For now.

Love, Jes

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Happiness Files Cont.

Some Things I've gathered for inspiration:

Shoes from that I started making this summer but don't plan on finishing by the 10.29 deadline. (My sister's wedding day!) Luckily I found a worthy pair to wear as plan B.
What is it about a beautiful table scape?
A great stop on the 3R highway. Reusing an old tee shirt to decorate a new tee shirt. I'm currently making one of these for my sister-in-law.