2008 Family Calendar

Jordy's family has a great tradition of making a family calendar every year with pictures from the year and everyone's birthdays and anniversaries. I thought that this year, having a great collection of pictures from the wedding, I would make a calendar for my dad's side of the family. I used the photo booth photos from our wedding to make a 5.5x8 calendar held together with a binder clip. After an epic battle with my parents' printer, they finally got printed out exactly right- I also included a t-pin for hanging them. There they are at the bottom, all ready to be distributed at Christmas eve.

Form and Function

Merry Christmas! I hope that you are having a great holiday, and that Santa brought you something that suits you perfectly. We are finished opening presents, and are enjoying our coffee and A Christmas Story. Later on, I will be found printing things, and Jordy will be found packing and re-packing all of his clothes.
for me: Photoshop CS3 (!!!); rubber stamps (!!!); and a Gocco(!!!). for Jordy: very practical socks and underwear; shirts; and a packing organizing system.


Teddy Speck

All of us know one of those people who is good at everything he or she does, who can pick up pretty much any material and make that piece of clay, paper, metal, etc. into exactly what it was supposed to be all along. Meet Teddy Speck, who is my friend Speck's brother. He is already great at pottery and knitting, and has now come out with a fabulous line of earrings that he handcrafts out of wood. They are super affordable, especially for how beautiful they are. You can pick them up on etsy.



I realized that I never posted finished pics of the quilt I was working on for Emily's daughter, Charlotte- here it is, with a little company:

I decided to bind with the polka dots- this was the first time that I had bound a quilt, so it ended up not being as neat as I wanted, but there's always next time to get it even better. I did a minimal amount of machine quilting on the outer border, but kept the area inside the ruffle just hand-tied so that it would stay really soft. I got to give this to Emily about a month ago at her shower, which was a ton of fun. There were no baby games, which was a relief to everyone involved. Charlotte was born on Wednesday- a beautiful girl with all ten fingers and ten toes- both mom and daughter are healthy and happy. Yay!


We just had a delicious dinner with Emma and Drew. She made an eggplant dish- I can't remember what it was called- with mozzerella, portabello mushrooms, ricotta, and eggplant- it was phenomenal. For dessert, we had a cookie plate and mint hot cocoa. If she's not careful, I might end up moving in with her. Anywho, they printed out the save the dates today and I got a sneak peek. She chose a smaller card than she had originally thought that she wanted to use, and it looks really, really good. Emma and Drew feel like the design "looks like them", and (toot, toot) I agree! It's funky, but still very vintage-y, with a great color scheme that Emma chose (I'll post about her bridesmaids' dresses here later). They also think that it looks a little like a Grateful Dead concert poster, which alludes to the fact that they both used to be hippies. I like them both a great deal anyway. Here they are printed out (again, excuse the crappy camera):



Usually, it irks me to no end when you buy something online and are then the recipient of 12 million catalogues and 14 thousand emails every day from the company from which you ordered. However, there is a little company, Organic Style, that sends me an email once in a blue moon because I ordered some flowers from them a while back. While their other stuff is, er, a little crunchy, their pet stuff is really cute. Look at this welcome-home gift for a new puppy! How great is this little set? The blanket would surely be headless within hours, but the thought! It's the thought that counts!
Getting our dog was not the most calculated decision that we ever made, so there was not a very long time for us to prepare for him to come home with us- in fact, we made our first trip to Petco with him in my lap. However, when I sent out a "birth announcement" for our new addition, our friends sent us a basket of gourmet doggie biscuits and treats. It was the most thoughtful and unexpected gift I think I have ever gotten. If someone you know is welcoming a new holiday puppy into their lives, this would be a perfect little gift to send. Here's the birth announcement we sent out- the title of the email was "It's a boy!"- I nearly gave my grandpa a heart attack...


save the date!

I love weddings. I especially love weddings when I am not the one who has to deal with putting the guest list together, which is why I am so excited about my dear friend Emma's wedding. She is marrying her charming beau Drew, and lucky me, I got to design their save the dates. Emma and Drew wanted a vintage-y seed-packet look, and I was more than happy to oblige. I perused the internet and found this gorgeous example:
This is fantastic-I love the muted colors, detailed drawings, the font, everything. However, Emma and Drew are a bit less country bumpkin, and a bit more fun and funky. So I took some inspiration from a vintage botanical exhibition poster, and came up with this:

It's a 4x6 postcard, featuring the flowers that they are going to use for the wedding (zinnias-her mom is growing all of them), along with a little picture of the church where they are getting married. They're printing them this weekend- I'll put up a photo of the finished product when I get mine in the mail! Here's a sneak peek at the back (with room for address labels and a quick note from Emma and Drew):


Up, up, and away!

These are data plotted from flight patterns from designer Aaron Koblin. Originally, they were done for an experiment at UCLA where FAA information from a day's worth of flights was plotted. There is also an absolutely gorgeous video here, and lucky for us, Mr. Koblin is coming out with prints. He also has a few wallpaper designs available for your computer. UCLA's take on the project is here, and Mr. Koblin's take is here. While you are there, check out his Sheep Market project.



Willow is another example of a great local store going online to share their wares with the rest of the country. Though the "real" store is in Chicago, they've opened up an online store to give us all something to drool over.
Check out this vase- it's got simple, clean lines- the epitome of great design- and manages to make monster trucks -the antithesis of great design- look sexy.

I am also (of course) head-over-heels for the aesthetic of this plate. Love the simplicity of the image, the color of the plate, and how the shape of the plate mimics the gun, but how the plate itself is not gun-shaped.

If we weren't a household that breaks a glass a week, I would be more ready to listen to the part of me that is sighing like a schoolgirl over these glasses. The delicate feathers and lines of the glasses are perfect. I would imagine that if we had these, I would only use them to drink things like elderflower italian sodas (in the tall glass), bellinis (in the champagne flute), and Campari and soda- with a twist, of course (in the short one).

Finally, receptacles for your candles- a porcelain stump or a little campfire. Both are inspired by nature, but the clean white color keeps the design from being Swiss Family Robinson. Because everyone loves candles, but almost no one likes a dirty hippie.


Bit of Wisdom

Everyone who knows me knows that despite what you might think (or perhaps confirming your suspicions), I am a bit of a dork. Which would explain why I LOVE (yes, capital L-O-V-E) both Mythbusters and the Freakonomics blog. Imagine my delight when the two worlds collided today, and the Mythbusters were featured on the Freakonomics blog. This gem popped out at me from Adam Savage:

"Personally, I’m always asking myself, no matter what I’m working on, 'Can I be doing this more simply, or more elegantly?'"

I think that this is a great mantra for most things in life- cooking, sewing, running, data analysis, etc. I was planning on this really elaborate binding for the quilt I'm working on, but I think there is a much more simple and elegant solution, so I'll be finishing that up simply and elegantly.


Fall Eatin'

I'm going to my friend Elisabeth's tonight for a wine and appetizer get-together- we were all asked to bring a type of wine and an appetizer to pair with it. I am bringing an oaky chardonnay, which is not necessarily my favorite, but it gave me a chance to make a nice rich veggie dish. I was thinking that I wanted to make roasted figs with gorgonzola and rosemary, but the figs aren't at the market this week. Know what there's a TON of? Butternut squash. And onions. It's starting to be fall, I guess, no matter what the weather thinks. Seeing the piles and piles of butternut squash made me feel better about giving up figs. I decided to cook up some butternut squash tartlets with caramelized cippolini onions and goat cheese. If I were a more decietful person, I'd tell you that I slaved over the puff pastry myself, but no, it's store-bought. I'm a great procrastinator on doing school work, but a batch of puff pastry to get out of writing a paper is just not worth it. Here's the recipe-ish (I don't use recipes, so the quantities are approximate).
2 packages Pepperidge Farms puff pastry shells (should be 12 shells)
1/2 medium sized butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 1/4"cubes
1/2 apple, cubed into 1/4" cubes
1 lb (or more) cippolini (or other sweet variety) onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2c. grated parmesan cheese
6-8 oz. goat cheese
1 bunch each fresh rosemary and sage
olive oil
high-temperature oil for frying the sage leaf garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium frying pan (I used cast-iron) over medium heat, warm up 1-2 tbsp. olive oil. Add onions, sautee until translucent, and reduce heat to low. Leave over heat until brown and caramelized, about 30-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mixture starts to dry out, add wine, water, or stock 1-2tbsp at a time. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, combine 2tbsp olive oil, squash, apples, and finely chopped rosemary and sage (about 1 to 1.5 tbsp each) and salt and pepper to taste in a glass or cast iron roasting pan. Roast in oven until soft, about 30 minutes.
When the squash mixture is done, remove from oven and set aside.
In a bowl, mix the parmesan cheese with finely chopped rosemary and sage (again about 1 to 1.5 tbsp. each). Set aside.
Bake the pastry shells as directed, but remove them from the oven 4-5 minutes before the instructions say. Hollow out as directed (they come in these pre-cut flats that you bake and then hollow out the middle), and line the bottom with your parmesan mixture. Return to oven and bake for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let cool 5-10 minutes.
Fill with a layer of goat cheese, then onions, then butternut squash. Top with a small dollop of goat cheese. Return to oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the goat cheese starts to brown.
Meanwhile, fry 18 medium-sized sage leaves in your frying oil (I used grapeseed).
Remove tarts from oven and garnish with a fried sage leaf (not pictured).


Snowden Flood

You can probably tell by now that unexpected patterns on dinnerware make my little heart go pitter-pat. So if you've seen Snowden Flood's work, you know that it makes me swoon. Her great line of plates, mugs, pillows, t-shirts, etc. are infused with a little bit of grittiness, a little bit of tongue-in-cheek-edness, and a lot of pretty. I saw her stuff this morning on three potato four, and fell in love with her plates, only to discover that she hand-embroiders in great color schemes and laser-cuts suede to make pillows with world-famous landmarks. You can see more of her work on her website.


New arrivals

I have a little secret. I've been putting off some of my work for... more important things? Namely, my friend Emily's new baby, Charlotte, who should be joining us in mid-December. I love the idea of creating heirlooms when a baby is born, so I've been working on this quilt for Charlotte. You can see that it's not bound yet, but I'm loving the ruffle and the not-quite-perfect polka dots. I did a basic log cabin layout for the blocks, and then alternated the inside squares between this delicious Amy Butler fabric and these adorable apples and pears that I found at Purl. The ruffle is one of Heather Bailey's fabrics from her freshcut line- her gorgeous blog is here. The border is made up of random fabrics from the inside of the quilt alternating with the polka dots. I think I may bind with the polka dots as well, just because that is the fabric of which I have the most left over. The ruffle makes it hard to actually quilt, so it's hand-tied. I'll do a minimal amount of quilting around the border just to hold everything in place. I hope she likes it!
Pardon the dog in the pictures- he likes to be directly on top of whatever I'm working on...


Alicia Bock

Here's some beautiful, ethereal photography from Alicia Bock. The photos are processed to showcase the minor imperfections of film, and enhanced with digital methods. The result is a set of photos that are nostalgic and warm, yet modern- a difficult balance to strike. Her website is here, her blog here, and her etsy shop here.


Traci Terrick (Violet Designs)

I think that one of the things that made our wedding so great (beside the great guests and us getting married part) was that I hired incredibly creative and talented vendors. I'm hoping to get most of them to answer some questions for us here. This is the first of the vendors that I'll be featuring. Meet Traci Terrick. She has recently moved her floral business from San Francisco to Newburyport, MA, and just opened her own shop. She does art direction on the side, so she can really picture how her bouquets and arrangements are going to show up in pictures. Here is my (brief) conversation with Traci about her gorgeous work.

How do you describe your work?
My background in graphic design and photo art direction help me create unique and design worthy arrangements. My love for ribbon and mixing colors give my arrangements their own individuality

What made you decide that you wanted to be a (floral-although I hate to limit it to just that) designer?
I have always had a love for flowers, for mixing colors and textures and being able to enjoy them like pieces of art.

In your opinion, what makes a wedding stunning?

Beautiful, simple, stunning details. Candlelight, shimmering glass, sparkling silver, those little touches that describe the bride and groom in a subtle way.

If you only had 2 colors to work with for the rest of your career, what would they be?

White and Chocolate Brown.

What kind of flowers do you keep in your house?

are my favorite, but since you can only get them for a short time in the summer, hydrangea and tulips are always in my house
If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you do with your time?
I would continue with my floral business and give up photo art direction and spend my free time traveling the world and exploring floral shops throughout
Can you share with us a few pictures from weddings that you did that you loved?
I need to get back to you on this one!
Luckily, my professional pics just came back- here is some of Traci's work from my wedding (if you click on the image, a nice big version will pop up for you to peruse).


Jessica Rust

This has pretty much become my go-to wedding gift. How much do you love Jessica Rust Designs? She does little drawings on ceramic plates, mugs, and bowls, and each piece is customized. When I bought this set... ...for our friends' wedding in June (you customize the plate to have their initials carved into the tree- how great is that?), I wrote an email to Jessica telling her that I hoped we got a set of her dishes for our wedding. Then, in July, a package came for us from one of my friends from school and her husband. When we opened it, there was this set...
...customized for us! My friend had ordered it without even knowing that I had been coveting anything Jessica Rust for our wedding. The whole thing confirmed for me the following: a) it really is great to have friends whose tastes are almost unsettlingly close to yours, and b) coffee really does taste better out of a mug with your and your new husband's names on it.
Ms. Rust came out with a limited edition bowl, about which she sent around a little email today. I love the brown on the white porcelain, the contrast of the hand-drawn feel with the sleek lines of the dishes, and the fact that these sets are classic wedding gifts that are neither stuffy nor impersonal. Just gorgeous.


Linoleum Stamps

I've been thinking a lot about stationary and paper goods, having just bought a bunch of notebooks for my classes. I used to always carry around a little sketchbook, but lately, my notebooks have been really compartmentalized (one for this class, one for that class, etc). I tend to think that the way we organize our thoughts dictates the way we think, so I've been looking for a general notebook to carry around to let myself have some space to think outside of my classwork. But ay, the journals are just not right. Some are too big, others too small, still others too busy or too blank or too lined... It's like Goldilocks at PaperSource. Anyhow. After a nice little discussion with my friend Dan, I decided to undertake a journal-making project. I knew just the thing for the cover...
I created this stamp thinking that I would use it on the paper goods for our wedding. I wanted our wedding to have a very Californian vibe- fun, organic, laid-back, and inspired by Asian and Hawaiian elements. I liked the idea of a bold hibiscus because I thought it reflected the aesthetic I was going for pretty well. However. Faced with the prospect of stamping 200 invitations, 150 programs, save the date cards, rsvp cards, etc., I decided that while the stamp is pretty, it's not that pretty. But it's just perfect for a set of little notebooks. I'm not done with the binding piece, but here is a taste of what will become little journal covers.
While I myself am not so ambitious to use stamps to personalize my wedding stationary, using this method is a great (and inexpensive) way to add a bold graphic element to a stationary suite. Not all wedding stationary has to be delicate and floral. If you're having a fall wedding, you might consider using a silhouette of a leaf or gourd; a spring wedding might call for a bold dragonfly or frog; winter goes perfectly with a pattern from some luxe wallpaper (and gold ink on a rich jewel-toned paper); and, of course, summer pretty much goes with everything in my mind. You can also mix it up- use a unifying color (or color scheme) and use different elements on your different pieces of stationary.
And, if you're making stationary for yourself, anything goes- you can easily re-create this stationary from Linda and Harriett (featured in last month's Domino):I'll post a little tutorial later, but for now, think of the possibilities!


Photo Booths

It may have to do with being raised by a super-artistic lady and a guy who will take any opportunity to make a funny face, but I love photobooth photos. I'm a sucker for photos in general, really. So when we were asked to come up with a list of what we wanted for our wedding, (seeing as how we live in an apartment the size of a suburban closet) we replied that we wanted photos. Namely, we wanted a photo booth for our wedding reception. Some people thought it was a great idea; others, not so much. Thanks to the persuasive nature of my now-cousin Emily, instead of lots of toaster ovens, we had a photo booth at our reception. As much as I love everything else that we received (some of the items I'll be writing about later), these photos are what I will save first when my house burns down. Here is a small sample of pictures from that night. I love that when there is not a photographer present, the dynamic of the people in the photo booth is completely unadulterated. Some of my most treasured pictures from the photo booth are of my aunties with my cousins' kids, but seeing as how they are kids, I want to get permission from parents first before I go posting pictures of their children on the internet. The pictures of the adults are great, too.
This is me and my little (though much taller than me) cousin/bridesmaid Molly (toward the end of the evening when people had changed into more comfy clothes). Molly and I became really close about 7 years ago- she is such an incredible person. She's in her early 20's, but is more centered than many people my age. She's a great kid, and I feel lucky to be related to her.
This is me and my parents. I think you can tell from this picture that I grew up in a really silly household. If someone were to ask about our family dynamic, I would show them this picture:
Jordy and his sister. They are both incredibly witty, though their similarities kind of end there. This series has themes for each picture. I'm not sure what the top 2 are, but the bottom 2 are "roller coaster going up" and "roller coaster going down":
And Speck and Coop (who were both groomsmen/women), Jordy's friends from high school:
Finally, me and my husband (the cardboard cutout of Jordy is a great story and one that I may share later- suffice it to say that Jordy's friends are hilarious):
If you are throwing a wedding, I highly recommend arranging for some kind of setup where people can take pictures of themselves. This can be through a photo booth rental (if you pick a digital one like I did, you avoid using environmentally yucky chemicals, and you get digital files of all of the photos), or by setting up an area with a backdrop of some kind where people can set a timer on a digital camera on a tripod. Of course, I can't find the example in Martha Stewart Weddings that I am thinking of... just think fun fabrics, a tripod, and some very happy guests.