Thursday, January 29, 2009

australian seed pods

I have a strong, to quite strong, obsession with seed pods. Some people collect sand from the beaches they've visited or rocks or matchbooks or beer coasters from european pubs. All of which are completely legitimate collecting obsessions. I on the other hand quietly accumulate seed pods. And if it means carrying an 18 inch pod for a full 60 minutes during a run, around an island, wielding it like a wooden saber, that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

Australia, as it turns out, has neat pods. And it's questionable whether any of them were supposed to make it through customs, but WHATEVER it was my honeymoon. I needed them for my remembering.

Also, I would like to note that I lugged home an entire bag full of scraps and labels and receipts and coasters for the making of our honeymoon scrapbook. I am COMPLETELY committed to starting and finishing this project. (Finishing not so much a strong point for me). Sometime. Hopefully this year.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

sweet simple ring pillows

Constança sent me a really nice email the other day announcing her new little ring pillow biz on etsy. Aren't they cute? i love the plaid.

And she also has another shop , called Saidos Da Concha, where she sells all sorts of pretty handmade goodies... shopping bags, bibs, purse organizers (such a good idea). Actually, I need to post a photo these so you can see:

Right? Not more wallet lost in the depths of huge tote bag.

Constança, for the record, I lusted after that Orla Kiely tote for a LONG time. Such a good pattern.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

cannot get enough celebratory swag

rad poster from CDRyan... for free.

Download it from his shoppe. (he spells it that way. i am not being fake british).

Via a most awesome blog i just found on a particularly fruitful foray into the interwebs, Grain Edit. LOOVVVEE.

pretty grey

is such an excellent shade, is it not? I am obsessed with this grey nail polish from Sephora. Obsessed as in they were out of it in the santa monica store, so I paid $5.95 to have it shipped to my house from the internet. That is more than HALF of the asking price for the polish itself.

I don't really know what to think. Pre-wedding planning I had probably been in Sephora, oh, 2 times in my life. (not a big make up person). But slowly, it became a place of necessity. For things to make me beautiful and bridal with glowing skin and white teeth and perfectly glossed lips and ever so delicately scented neck. And grey nails. I don't even like wearing nail polish. It feels like my nails are suffocating. But I do like grey...

Buy it here.

*For the curious - it's called Metro Chic.*

Monday, January 26, 2009

oui monsieur

Thank you for asking. I would love a trip to the Cote d'Azur of yore. And maybe some diamonds for when we go out on the town?

Research for a little save-the-date project in the works... seriously, who doesn't love vintage French tourism posters?

STB sister-in-law Melanie's wedding has a working theme of 50's Monte Carlo. (we get to wear GOWNS as bridesmaids... yessss) So we're doing a French Riveria inspired postcard for their save the date. C'est tres amusant pour moi! (I have french CDs in my car! can you tell?)

I love making cute projects that do not involve the internet. Unless I am blogging about them.

(i think most of these are from

Friday, January 23, 2009

new pretties from hello handmade

I'm sure this will be all over the blogs this morning, but couldn't help posting myself. How beautiful, right?

I'm almost more taken with the envelope than I am with the actual card.

You send a personalized message to Hello Handmade, and they send your Valentine the most beautiful little package. I love it. But I cannot plan far enough ahead to make the February 6th deadline. So sad.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

newly vintage hotel in Palm Springs

The new Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. Yessss. It looks so cute. I love the vintagey desert safari thing they have going. We stayed at the Seattle Ace a few years ago before we backpacked around Mt. Rainier and thought it was great. Love the concept of stylish simplicity and reasonable rates. I'm thinking we should maybe stay here in March when we go out next? I do love checking out a new place. As long as the pool is finished.

It looks like they are also going to have a pretty neat event space called Commune. Maybe perfect for a styling desert wedding? For me to ATTEND, of course.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

the biggest day

From our honeymoon, Gertrude Street (our FAVORITE street) in Melbourne.

See, everybody has been waiting for this day. Not just us. I can't possibly sum up how important today feels in this quick post before the speech. Plus there are other blogger friends out there who have probably prepared something lovely, so I'll leave the heartfelt analysis to them.

I will just say that my happiness cup runneth over. And it's coming out my eyes.

PS. I happen to LIKE Michelle's outfit. Not many people can rock that color. Did you see her neat green gloves?

Monday, January 19, 2009

new skinny laminx

i meant to post this on friday, so i could say... "speaking of skinny laminx, i just checked out her etsy store and she has a bunch of cute new things!" but i waited until just now to post these. so i can't really say that. since you all know i was looking at her etsy store on friday when i posted the Heath photos.

i seriously, dangerously, semi-psychotically love her tea towels. i'm not sure i can buy anymore tho. i have many. but i don't like to use them because i don't want to get them dirty. koo-koo.

shower gifts, bridesmaid gifts, anyone? (you can turn any post into a wedding post if you try hard enough.) But really, these make super excellent pressies.

Friday, January 16, 2009

heath LA opening... muy tarde

Sooo, I keep forgetting to post this! But I'm going to anyway, even though it's old news because the store is great and ceramics are greater and the opening was really fun.

I went with my friend Deja, who is an interior designer for Marmol-Radziner here in LA. (She slipped me the invite because Heath is one of their partners). Isn't she cute?


They have a whole inspiration board wall showing their process and colors and such. I heart things like this:

Commune (insanely awesome design company whose houses are some of the coolest interiors I've ever seen) did the store, and released a limited edition set of linens for the opening. They were beeeeauuutiful. and I was all set on buying the charcol table cloth, until I read the price tag. yikes.

Plus, they have their whole line showcased which is quite obviously the most beautiful thing in the entire universe in it's timeless simplicity.

I was literally walking around going, "Have it. Have it. Want it. Need it. Have it...." I felt like I was at the opening of an artist I reallllllly like. And collect. And John C. Reilly was there. Which was cool because I LOVE him. It was also kind of funny. You go to a Shepard Fairey opening, you get Adrian Grenier. You go to the Heath opening, you get John C. Reily. Makes sense.

And possibly the neatest thing was, look:

Skinny Laminx at Heath! I love Heather's work. And I love how Heath supports independent artisans in their shop. Those cutting boards are beautiful as are the salad tongs from Jonathan's Spoons. Both of which I MAY or MAY NOT have. Yes, I registered for the entire Heath catalog.

Anyway, the new store is beautiful. And now we don't have to go ALL the way to Sausalito for factory seconds.

(excuse iPhone photo graininess, please)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

the royal tenns, in stitches

I almost died when I saw this:

I would say almost anything reminiscent of the Royal Tennenbaums is genius, purely by association.

From easy to miss, who apparently has some needlepoint skills in addition to excellent taste in movies. Maybe I need to take up needlepointing?

DIY new years cards from the trusty gocco

The last Thank You card is going in the mail this morning, (yesssssssss), and as promised, I'm rewarding myself with the posting of our New Years cards.

New Years cards are great. They say," we were thinking of you and want to spread good tidings and warm fuzzy thoughts to you and your family;" but see here's the thing... you don't have to send them out BEFORE Christmas! It's genius! You can send them in January and no one thinks they are late. If you can keep a secret, New Years cards are just "holiday" cards that are overdue... see where I'm headed here?


Does anyone else ever get nostalgic for your gocco screens once you're done printing a project? they are so neat, but so fleeting... their life cycle I mean. I love these colors, especially the bright orangey pink. I think it's one of my current favorites. So I am commemorating it's short life here on my weblog.

(Don't ask why I used a plastic fork to mix the paint. It was all I could find at that moment, okay?)

Also, aside from playing in paint and mixing pretty colors that don't come in tubes, even from japan, we have the actual cards:

And our custom greeting that I bet no one else sent this year. huh? huh?

So that's them. I kind of secretly wanted to line the envelopes will all sorts of pinky red patterned papers, but that was sounding completely insane as I plodded my way through the Thank You list. See, even former brides have limits. Not many, I admit, but they are there... watching over us, keeping our crazed post-wedding brains in check. The plan is, next year I start lining the envelopes early, say October, before my brain realizes it's a bad idea. So crafty I am.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

alice waters's minestrone

To start, let me just say that this soup is highly delicious.

We're on a new program at our house right now. It involves making big batches of food that we can eat during the week, with the hope that we cut back on eating out, eating at the whole foods/gelson's salad bar (gelson's is especially vile, IMO), and eating food that isn't thoughtfully prepared. So making a huge soupy thing on Sunday turns out to be a nice staple to have through the week.

We also have an impressive stockpile of winter squash (you remember these guys, right?) lazing around the backyard and kitchen, so priority number one was to make something (ANYTHING) that used squash in some way. Good old Alice. She is such a trusty kitchen friend. This minestrone seemed deceptively simple on paper... which is probably the point of the book, duh. But it's sooooooo good. Did I mention that already? I ate 2 HUGE bowls on Sunday. Huge as in we were eating out of small serving bowls. So that's 2 SERVING BOWL size portions of soup. Anyway, she gives her standard summer minestrone recipe with seasonal variations which all sound really good.

If you're handy with the wooden spoon and chef's knife, and can read well enough to follow this recipe, you should make this soup.

The pump:

The friendly herbs:

Wintery Minestrone
(adapted from The Art of Simple Food).

1 1/2 cups dried cannellini or great northern beans (I used great northern because whole foods didn't have cannellini in stock. but I do love cannellini...)

Soaked over night, drained, and cooked in filtered water until soft. Salt towards the end of cooking and reserve cooking liquid. Set aside.

Heat in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat:
1/4 c olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled & finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped

Cook for 15 minutes until sofritto (new word for me! though I think this is just Italian for mirepoix, non?) is tender and tasty on it's own. Salt a teeny bit during the cooking, as Alice instructs, so the soup develops flavor as you go.

Then add:
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
leaves of 5 thyme springs
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
4 bay leaves (I used fresh, because we have them growing outside, but dried is obviously fine... though maybe you need less?)
2 tsp salt

Cook for 5 minutes or so. Add:
1 small can of tomatoes, chopped
2 bunches Lacinato kale, chopped into bite size pieces.

Cook for 5 minutes, Add:
3 cups filtered water

Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes. Then add:
4 cups cubed pumpkin or any orange flesh winter squash (Alice uses butternut, but I'm sure she would approve of my homegrown substitution)

Taste, and salt if necessary. Cook until squash is tender... about 10-15 minutes.

Finally, add the
Cooked white beans and 1 cup of their liquid (or more depending on how much is needed.)

Serve with grated Parmesan. (not shown... I had to take this the next morning. FOR THE LIGHT. Beacause I hate yellow compact fluorescent lightbulbs. The things we do for the earth, I tell you.)


I'm going to submit this to this month's GROW YOUR OWN, which is a first for me. Fun! I feel so INVOLVED. New year, new me. You know?

Also, would anyone like some spare pumpkin? We have like 2/3 of that one left in the fridge.

officially a poladroid convert

seriously, this is the best toy since... well, camera bag.

and winter afternoon light is sooo pretty for taking pictures.

January in our yard = rose hips, paper whites, seed pods and carnival colored camilias.

(Thanks jora for reminding me to download poladroid. I don't think I can live without it ever again.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

does domino do flowers?

just checking because seriously, these are so great. yes, we love Zooey. But i think i might like the weedy flowers better? Is that bad?

I love them because they are rustic but just sophisticated enough. and they look like they would be easy-ish to replicate on your own... i mean, as opposed to balls of roses or 4 foot tall centerpieces, if you know what i'm saying.

Hoot & Heart did a few similar arrangements (similar to the first one, that is) for us and they were just beautiful. I still have a ton of dried pieces I salvaged before we left for Australia. I'm kind of a nostalgia junkie that way.

ANYWAY, point is: you could make something similar to these yourself if you were doing your own flowers.

And also, if you haven't seen The Go Getter starring Z.D., you should. It's a beautiful little road movie (shameless plug coming up) produced by a friend of ours. And M. Ward does the soundtrack. Which is perfection.

our wedding: DIY succulent centerpieces

Kay, I'm just going to jump into the week here with a long wedding post. Ready?

These are easier than you think. I swear. But of course it means collecting a cohesive body of vessels, growing big pots of succulents for months before you're ready to harvest, and then being willing to pretty much massacre them, PLUS go to the nursery to buy extras to fill in the spaces. But I think it's kind of worth it!

Utter carnage on the back patio. Which was accentuated by my use of the huge coconut-hacking cleaver for the flower foam. You'll notice that the big pots are nearly cut clean of plants. But the best part about succulents is they just grow back. So loyal, they are.

So here's how you do it. Procure vessels. Buy flower foam. Soak flower foam in water. Cut pieces of foam to fit into vessels. Hack apart succulents. Arrange clippings into flower foam/vessels in pleasing manner. If necessary, fill space around the outside of the vase/pot with either little pebbles or spanish moss. VOILA!

Thanks to our super florist for both agreeing to share the centerpiece load with me AND giving me excellent pointers on putting these babies together.

My mom still has tons of these around her house in San Diego and they are totally happy 2 months later. She mixed them with poinsettias and cyclamens for Christmas-y spice and they looked great over the holidays. If you're not attached to your vessels (or you don't plan to resell most of them like I do) these would be excellent favors for your guests. I've got a few around our house too and they seem to be pretty happy, even the ones I actually planted in soil, in the pots with no drainage. (For these you need to start with a layer of pebbles below the soil so the roots don't rot, FYI).

Allow me one eco-friendly soapbox moment... succulents you grow and arrange yourself make the earth soooo happy. Having hundreds of roses imported from Ecuador, not so much. And yes, we did have a lot of our flowers done (most excellently) by our florist, Hoot & Heart, but for the most part they try to source organic, in-season flowers so we feel okay about that.

Maybe I should do a little DIY tutorial on these... would that be useful to anyone out there?

Friday, January 9, 2009

friday morning...

filtered light, sun, fog.

hope everyone has a happy wintery (whatever that means for you) weekend.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

pretty, simple wedding dresses

Kay, i KNOW i'm already done with the bride thing... but i have many important friends who are not. My friend Katya is looking for dresses now so OF COURSE i immediately volunteered to go dress shopping with her. It's like once you are married you are a wedding expert who must spread your magical wedding knowledge dust on all who plan weddings after yours. I hope my friends tell me when they've had enough.

Nicole Miller 09

These dresses have potential, no? I was doing "research" for Katya, I swear. I am such a good friend. Sacrificing precious internet surfing time on wedding dresses...

urban craft center in santa monica

I stopped at Peets on my way in to work this morning and was AGAIN reminded of this super neat little addition to Santa Monica: the Urban Craft Center. I can't wait to really check it out... as in, go inside instead of taking creepy stalker-like iPhone pictures through the glass.

Being that one of my 2009 resolutions is "remember how to sew," I think I'll need to investigate their classes. I mean, I at some point did know how to sew, but I don't do it enough and the whole bobbin thing just mystifies me for some inexplicable reason. But I do have a sewing machine, so I am fully committed dusting it off this year.

It looks like their schedule comes out this week. yay.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

pretty winter garden decay

Due to the massive distraction that was our wedding, I severely neglected our garden last season. In fact Brock actually forbade me from spending time in the backyard on the weekends. Probably for good reason. Here's how the week would go...

Monday night, me freaking out about number of things on my list for wedding, Tuesday tired from work, overwhelmed, drinking wine on couch to relax self, unmotivated to do anything (due to 1/2 bottle of wine), by Friday state of panic because I'd completed exactly nothing in the space of a week. Saturday morning: gardening time!

See, so that's what your other (often better) half is for... to remind you that you were nearly in tears all last week because you had so much to do (but refused to do anything), so it would seem reasonable that you should take Saturday and Sunday to make a teeny bit of headway with the wedding project. NOT spend the entire weekend weeding and mulching and taking pictures in the backyard.


Anyway, he was right, and now the vegetable patch is a brambly rotting jungle along the back fence. But in the early morning light, it's kind of beautiful.

The squashes won't stop coming. These were waiting for us when we returned from Australia. And there are still a few more on the way, though we'll see how they do with the recent cold and rain.

Luckily now I'm allowed to get back out in the dirt and start over for next season. This year we're doing raised beds. Yay, projects!