April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!



This year Easter has been low key at our house, but still celebrated. I love this little statue that I bought a while back at our church. It is from Bethlehem and hand carved out of olive wood, it always gives me a peaceful feeling when I look at it.
We went to Easter Vigil last night, and it was such a pretty service. This mass includes the confirmation candidates, and they always do such a beautiful ceremony for it. When I was confirmed in the Catholic church, way back when, you did it in eighth grade. Now they do it in high school, which I think is much better, since you are a bit more mature.  We have been going to the vigil instead of Easter morning mass since the girls got older. On Easter morning, I'm cooking breakfast or preparing for our big Easter dinner, and it is so hard to fit it all in. I heard someone at church last night say, "It's Easter in the Vatican right now, so it counts." I thought that was pretty funny!
Because the house is upside down we decided this year to have dinner out to not put stress on anyone.

Speaking of the move, we have decided to take the "Mad Men" era house, and we will be moving on May 2nd. I was pleased that they did about 90% of what I wanted them to fix, one being the crazy mural on the wall! Thank the stars above, the landlord came to her senses and agreed to paint over it. They also painted all the doors that were yucky 60's honey colored brown, all in white. The ugly sliding glass door, and front door were replaced, and according to the property manager, that went to take a look the other day, said it looked really nice. She sent pictures of one of rooms that was getting new flooring, I think it is the kitchen. I like the choice they made so this is good too. Now the only eyesores left are the lights in the hallway and the light in the mater bath, and of course the over all dated aspect of the two bathrooms. I found this blog though and lost myself for a few hours, looking at old bathrooms from mid-century homes, and how some people actually covet their pink bathrooms! There is an actual facebook page that is called, "Save the Pink Bathroom."(If you want a laugh, or you happen to love pink dated bathrooms, click on the links) I was going to yank the knobs off the cabinets and replace them with something modern, but after I spent some time on those sites, I kind of think I will leave them and work with the retro aspect of them. I'm just really happy that the house wasn't built in the 70's, or I would be dealing with harvest gold, or avocado green, but even those are coming back in vouge, yikes! If the landlord doesn't replace the hideous lighting  in the master bath, which by the way is not from the 60's, that will be one of the first things we change out. I'm hoping that she at least changes the ugly track lighting that looks like lighting from a TV studio. It will be nice having 4 bedrooms too, something I did not plan on. The price is really good too which helps soften some of the other not so fantastic things, like I mentioned in my last post. I hope you come back and look at the photos I plan to take of this house. I will try and take some when it is empty so you can see the bones of it, and then slowly post rooms as they become finished. So come join me for some fun and games with moving into yet another mid-century California ranch house!

Happy Easter again, to all those who celebrate it!!!


April 4, 2014

A Celebration and an Update






We had a little birthday party for my dear friend Christine last Saturday. We met Christine back in 2000, when Caitlin took violin lessons from her. We always lingered around after the lesson and chatted up a storm, and became fast friends. I have watched all of her children grow up right before my  eyes, and oh boy they are the sweetest, smartest kids you will ever meet, such a joy to be around! So we thought it would be fitting to have one more celebration before we move out of this house, and what better celebration to have than a dear friends birthday!  Since Caitlin didn't get a birthday cake on her actual birthday on the 25th, we kind of made it a shared cake, so they decided to blow the candle out together.

Moving up date.....well, it has been just as yucky and taxing as you can imagine. Nothing really to look at to make a choice on Craigslist, so we are counting right now on a house that is part of the portfolio of properties that belong to the property management company that we are under right now. We went to look at it today.  Lets just say that it wasn't ready to look at, and combined with the previous tenant leaving it in a bad state, and some dated issues, I was a bit deflated about it. Problem is, in our town the rental inventory is a tight one, so I think we will most likely have to take this house. I'm going to list both pros and cons of the place, just so if we do end up taking it, I can look back on this post and wonder why I was so worried about some of the negatives, so bare with me.

Cons: The garage was converted way back when, so you can't put cars in it, just storage and laundry. The cars will have to be on street parking.  The bathrooms are 1960's dated. Sure I know you can put little chotskies in it to spruce it up, but the bigger issues are the grimy shower stall and the odd main bathroom with a door by the shower, just in case you want to go out in the back yard I guess. It could have been part of an old mud room??? Lighting is an issue in both bathrooms with horrible light fixtures! If they don't update them, I will, because they are horrible. 1960's wood doors that make everything super dark. I asked if they could possibly be updated, and if not painted, lets hope!  There are two old AC units that were never yanked out of the wall when they put central air, one in the master bedroom and the other in another bedroom. I suppose I could cover them by putting a bookshelf in front of them. The yard is interesting. Some of it is pretty because of some old growth, but neglected structures make it look a bit run down. There is an in-law unit that isn't in too bad of shape, but that means that someone is living back there. They said they are putting up a privacy fence....I hope so! Oh, and in the dinning room there is a huge mural that was suppose to depict Versailles. I lived 10 min, away from Versailles, and that mural in no way depicts it! Hahahah. The owner is super reluctant to take it down because she grew up with it I guess. If they can't convince her to take it down, I'm putting temporary wallpaper over it. Front door needs some attention and better door knob so you don't get robbed. Lighting in the long hallway are weird spotlight type of track lighting, like you are in a movie set. Hopefully we can take them down or they can replace these.

Pros: The house is huge. It has over 2,500 sq. feet! Hardwood floors throughout except the family room where they are putting in a new carpet. To be fair, they are replacing the kitchen flooring, master bath flooring and the entryway as well, which helps me not freak out too much. The living room is very spacious and bigger than what we have now. One of the coolest features is the fireplace. It is a pass through one, where you can see into the family room from the livingroom. When I heard this house had that, I was imagining a super nightmare looking thing. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the part that faced into the main living room was painted white, and the back was left in used brick look and both work well with each room. I guess you light a fire in the center and you can see it from both sides. I think it might be my favorite thing about the house.  The kitchen was remodeled not too long ago with granite counters and the cabinets are white. In the old photos they had of this property, the kitchen looked great, so I was really hopeful about the rest of the house. The previous tenants left it a complete shambles and even the handles of the nice fridge were destroyed! Who does that?!  It has four bedrooms! In this area,  a four bedroom house is expensive, but because this house has some funkiness  to it, it rents for less than what it could. The yard, even though it has some structures that should be taken down, has beautiful trees in the back and a ton of citrus bushes in the front yard. So many citrus bushes that you can smell the heady scent of all of them when you walk up to the house. Some beautiful rose bushes also. The other plus is that we would be paying less than this house. So question is....would you take it? I wish I had seen it finished and not in the state that it is in right now, I'm fussy that way with things looking just so. I think I would have then not been so freaked out. I mean I can see the potential, but I'm concerned how much of MY wish list they will want to do.  When I got home I jumped back on Craigslist, and there is still nothing :(  I really need some moral support here to move forward. I do remember when I moved into this house there were a lot of things I didn't like about it either, but I made it work and now those things kind of faded into the background and I don't notice them. Will I be able to get past funky bathrooms?? I hope so. ...........Stay tuned.

March 26, 2014

Caitlin Turns 24!









Yesterday was Caitlin's birthday. I went into the city to meet up with them earlier to see the new Wes Anderson movie, "Grand Budapest Hotel." It was amazing, and if you love Wes Anderson, you must go for sure!  After the movie let out, we met up with David to head to our dinner destination. This year, Caitlin wanted to go to our favorite Greek restaurant named Kokkari. It was wonderful as usual. Caitlin had the whole grilled fish that is pictured and was surprised with a candle on her sundae she ordered. I can't believe my little one is 24! What a blessing to have her in our lives.  I love the picture of her with Cyrous, mainly because I have another photo of them when he celebrated Caitlin's 19th birthday when  they first started dating almost 5 1/2 years ago, and it is fun to see them side by side! They are such a wonderful couple and it is so sweet to have seen their relationship grow into what it is today.  I think she had a good 24th :)

Things are about to get a bit spotty on here for posting, as we found out last week that we have to move. We don't own our home, and the owners of this house have decided to sell it. We have lived here for 7 1/2 years.  We have lived in our town for 20+ years, minus 2, when we lived in France. I love our little town but  the real estate is expensive, and while my husband makes a good living, we have always been three steps behind in the housing market! I could whine and complain about it, but it is what it is, and we have been fortunate to live in some pretty fun houses I must say. This house served its purpose, and that was  to have Caitlin attend the right high school. I suppose this chapter is now about to close. Lots of fun memories here, but now it is time to pack it all up, like a set from a play, and make new memories somewhere else. I have been on Craig's list everyday, but there isn't anything to look at yet. Hopefully something will turn up soon. I panic each time we have to go through this process, and wonder if my luck will run out  in finding a reasonable home that will suit our needs.  It kinda makes me crazy sometimes how people make you feel when you say you don't own your home. I'm always honest about it and try to see the positives in renting. Like you never have to worry about losing the house that you put money into, you don't have to worry about coming up with money to fix things, and you can move to whatever school district you want to be in, because you are not tied down to an area where you could afford the house, but then the schools are bad. You also have a lot of flexibility if you want to do something like we did when we moved internationally. We were not tied down to a house, nor did we have to worry about someone destroying our house if we had to rent it out. The company chose us to go because they didn't have to worry about dealing with a house. So, while I'm sure there are great rewards to owning your own home as well, there are also some rewards to renting too. I just wish I didn't get that pitting look every time we tell people that we don't own our home!
I'll keep you all posted as to what new home we end up in, then you can follow our journey in making another place our home.  Not sure if I will be slowing the shop down as well, or it might be something that will take my mind off not finding a place! hahah.  You will just have to come back and see I suppose.

March 16, 2014

Mid March Already?!





Wow, I turned around for a second and it is already mid March?! Yikes.....My poor blog is getting a bit dusty and quiet, and I really didn't intend to be gone for so long. I have been working on little dresses and enjoying all the spring weather California is giving us. March is always so very beautiful in our area, with sparkly sunshine, blooms and spring showers. Every time it rolls in, I remember when Caitlin was born, and all the wonderful memories of her baby times. I had a memory the other day of a beautiful spring day going into the city to buy Easter candy, when she was a few weeks old. I remember holding her up by my shoulder and her sleeping quietly while we walked in a quaint San Francisco neighborhood. I wanted to forever capture that moment in my mind because it was such a beautiful day. When spring comes around every year, that is one of my most fondest memories. Caitlin will also turn 24 next week, and we plan to have a special dinner in the city with both Caitlin and Cyrous.

The dress above is now in the shop and ready for some lucky little girl to wear possibly for Easter. I truly wish people could feel this dress in person, because it is really dreamy I must say! The shell buttons on the back are iridescent, so it picks up all the pinks and purples in the dress! The collar is so pretty against the Liberty fabric. Oh Liberty you kill me with all your gorgeousness!  If I could shrink myself I would wear this for Easter!  Next on the cutting table are some matching bloomers in this same fabric. They would be cute underneath this dress, or just as is. Hopefully they will be in the shop early next week.  If you follow me on Instagram, you can see more of what I'm up to. I try and not duplicate photos on here so, if you want to see a variety of photos from me, go there too and follow me if you would like. Say hello, and if you have an Instagram I'll follow you too. Just mention that you came from here :)
Hope your weekend is a good one!

March 5, 2014

I Tried!








Hey there, I know it has been a while, but of course life has gotten in the way of blogging and sewing these days. I did however finish this little linen romper. Now I had full intentions of making this a little boys garment, but as I started to construct it, I just couldn't see it!  I tried to add the wooden buttons that I thought would make it more little boy, but I just didn't like it, and then it just turned out that these shell buttons looked so nice against this linen, and the little trim that are tiny little flowers, were the perfect match. I'm hopeless.....I just can't get into the groove of boys clothing. I think I will only take special orders for boys clothing, like simple linen pants etc. I'm just not inspired, sorry to moms with boys.
The last picture is so funny to me and sad also, because it shows how much time has passed as well, and makes me yearn for the days when these little shoes fit Caitlin. The little black Sam & Libby shoes were Caitlin's when she was not even a year old, so I think I bought them in 1990 or so! Target just relaunched this iconic shoe, and yesterday Caitlin asked me to pick her up a red pair. I was really pleasantly surprised how nice quality they actually were. I tried some on in my size, and they had a very nice fit. The uppers are leather and the inside is quite cushioned for a Target shoe. Anyway, thought I'd share this comparison and if anyone didn't know they were in Target, check them out, because they are pretty cute.

I'm starting a baby Liberty of London dress tomorrow that I think will be really sweet for Easter and after that more girl clothes Hahahah!

February 24, 2014

Vintage Sunsuit In the Shop





I realized that I put photos up on Instagram of this little guy, but didn't do a blog post on it.  I really loved making this because of all the hand work on it. Ever since I was small I loved doing needle work by hand. I love embroidery, but haven't had a lot of time recently to do it, so this was fun to make because it included a little bit of it and some applique.  The sun suit is in the shop now, ready for spring summer! The main navy blue fabric is cotton linen blend, with the lighter blue being linen. The red and white fabric is a reproduction fabric, to give it that vintage vibe.  I used natural shell buttons for the closures and straps. I think it is Unisex, but like I have mentioned before, some of the feedback that I get for boys clothes worries me that most moms of boys wouldn't buy this for their son. I would, but that is me.   The vintage pattern of this shows a little boy wearing it in the same color combination, so I wonder if way back when, they didn't have all the hang ups with dressing their boys in fun creative looks that seems to be prevalent today.  When considering the boy clothing I'm making, I'm really trying to think about wear and tear, and I think linen is a good tough choice, because it sure can take a beating and still look beautiful. Currently I'm working on a romper that is gingham linen and I love how it looks both washed or pressed. This one is almost complete and will be up soon.

Super duper sunny out today as I type this! Had my lunch out on the patio and listened to all the birdies chirping away, and the sun actually got a bit too hot on my legs! Wednesday the rain returns I hear, and I couldn't be more happy about this, since they are predicting two strong storms. Hope it pulls us out of the severe drought category.
Well, back to the studio to finish up some sewing.

February 19, 2014

Blooms and Naked Branches








Well, we got some rain, but not nearly enough for our parched state! I know most of you are wistfully waiting for spring to arrive because of brutal snow storms and other severe conditions, so sorry if this is annoying to you. Here, as you can see by the photos above, it is sunny again, and when I went out side a few of my bushes are blooming, including some of the near by cherry trees! It also smelled like early spring. I love spring, but we never had winter, and so I'm not as happy as most of you would be in this case. Besides the weather aspect of it, the time just keeps passing much too quickly. The other night I saw a commercial for Cadbury chocolate Easter eggs! I was kinda like....whaaaat!!!!   I went for a walk down town and saw all the Easter stuff in shops already, and it sunk in that retail seasons wait for no one!
We all got new iphones this weekend. Kinda like a Valentine gift for all of us. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw my Valentine flowers and Chocolates I received. My flowers didn't get delivered until nightfall, but they were welcomed none the less. This year we did a low key dinner, and went to our favorite Mexican place.  I sure hope everyone had a nice Valentine's day with the one that they love or surrounded by friends. I love the day not because of the commercial aspect of it, but a day to stop and think about love and people in your lives that are special to you.
Back to the iphones. The picture above shows the evolution of my cell phones that I have owned. The pink Razor phone is actually Caitlin's, mine is hiding somewhere, but I have one like it only in black. The tiny samsung cell to the far left was the phone that I had when I lived in France! I loved that little phone, but it wasn't my very, very first one. That one too is hiding somewhere in a box, but it was big and had an antenna that you pulled out. I think it was a Nokia, I'm not sure, but whoa, look how far they have come!   I'm really excited to try out the camera the most, and it is so nice that Instagram actually works on this phone! My last one was a 3Gs, and apps were running slow or not at all.

I have completed the vintage sunsuit, and you can see it in the shop. I'm going to cut out another boy romper of the above fabric. It is a really nice lighter weight gingham linen. Then I think I might do some dresses after that. I'm itching to cut into some Liberty!
Well, just thought I'd pop in and say hi to blogland and not be gone for too long.
Back to work I go!

February 11, 2014

New Items In the Shop!








I just finished these two pieces as my first few boy items for the shop, I'm also almost finished with a cute sunsuit that is from a vintage design. It is turning out really cute, and if you follow me on Instagram, you probably caught a peek of what it is starting to look like. These two seersucker pieces were fun to make and I think they will be really cute for summer time fun!

I just realize as I started this post, that it is by blog anniversary on Wednesday! Six years has past since I first started this blog. So fun to go back and look at the first post and how all the photos were much smaller! Lots of friends made, and wonderful opportunities opened up through this blog for me.  It is also fun to think of all the trends that were in blogs in these six years. More blogs use to do giveaways for following, or tagging people to answer questions about themselves. Rarely do you see that anymore. A lot of bloggers have slowed way down too, and instead have gone to Instagram. I try not to duplicate photos on here from my IG, like I have seen on other blogs, I feel that it's cheating somehow, but that's just me.  I'm still here for the long haul, like I have said before, because it is a record for me and I'm not really doing it for too much else. So those of you that follow and read, thanks, and I hope you enjoy my slice of life, even though it has become more sparingly on here hahahah.

Last week was spent keeping Nicole company via Skype while she packed up her current flat to move to a different location in London. Scary thing when you are doing it on your own in a foreign country, but she did it, and it feels like I was right there along with her!  She is now unpacking, and today I took a virtual tour through her neighborhood on facetime! Love technology when it works well.

Thanks again to those who have followed, and to those who are new. Don't be shy, leave me a comment, because I love to make new blog friends!


January 30, 2014

Winter Musings











I love to have dinner parties in the winter months. If you are a long time follower you will already know this about me. Summer time has never been my season for entertaining, because for the most part it involves BBQ, which I'm not a fan of. So most of my entertaining usually happens in the fall and winter.  Anyway, I decided to show you my latest cake endeavor. A While back I bought the latest Martha Stewart Cake cookbook. Many of the recipes looked like they were right up my ally, and I could not wait to try them out. The one that caught my eye was this tangerine winter cake above. The batter was beautiful and the smell was heavenly while putting it together. I used really nice butter, and hey anything with six eggs and good butter, with a dash of liquor, is going to be good right? It was good, and I loved it with tea.  We had some friends over for some cassoulet and to share the winter  cake.
The photo of the croissants are from a new bakery in Berkeley, that we really wanted to try out. Ever since La Boulange was bought out by Starbucks, we have been in search for a local mom and pop baker  for our croissant fix, but it had to be a good one, and this one really was quite tasty! I don't make a habit of eating too many of these, but when I have a taste for one, it is nice to know that this little place exists!
We are finally getting some rain this week, and I sure hope that the storm door is open wide, otherwise we are in big trouble! It has been dry as a bone here for going on 10 weeks! I have always loved the rain, so I'm a happy camper.
This weekend we are planning on going to see an exhibit in the city and wander around. We aren't a football watching family, so this is usually where we spend our day. For those of you who love it, have fun and try and not eat so much junk!!!

January 24, 2014

Cooking Adventures








I've been eyeing this cookbook for a long time, and even had it on my Amazon wish list in hopes that I would get it as a gift, but I finally decided to just buy it, after I had thumbed through it many times in bookstores. There isn't a veggie that I don't like, so everything in this book looks so good to me, especially the cover of the book!  I plan on working my way through this book :) I had to hunt down the herb mix at a Persian market, but other than that it was pretty simple and was a very nice side dish. I served lamb chops and brown rice with it.
In the book it tells how to successfully take out all the little pomegranate jewels. You cut in half horizontally, and then with cut side down, in the palm of your hand, you start to whack it with a wooden spoon quite vigorously. I really didn't think this would work and would cause a huge mess, but it didn't! They all popped out neat and clean with minimum mess. I was so thrilled that now I will not look at a pomegranate the same again!   So.....doesn't my picture on the bottom look like the cover of the book?  :)

This weekend we are having friends over for dinner, and I'm making cassoulet. It is a two day affair, so while I'm waiting for the beans to rest, I thought I'd say hi!
Still unseasonably warm out here in Northern California, and I'm hoping that my cassoulet won't be that out of place to eat with the sun shinning brightly outside!

Got some good news from Nicole this past Monday! She landed a really nice job here. We are all proud of her and I think she will really enjoy working there. She won't be designing, but instead she will be the studio manager, which gives her a lot of new tools to add to her  resume.

Oops the timer just went off....cassoulet building time!!!  Have a wonderful weekend everyone.