Monday, May 30, 2011

In which Schwinnifred makes another appearance...

Schwinnifred and I went jaunting again...

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...and stumbled upon perfect sunlight in City Park.

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Luckily, JR was with me and he was able to catch some shots before the sun came down.

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I recently, in the last week or two, got over my fear of posting the same dress twice on my blog (absurd, I know...) so this one is also a repeat of earlier posts. I picked this one up in San Francisco and it's one of my favorites. It's a little big so I have to wear the right things under it, but it's a great color and perfect for summer weather!

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Dress, shoes, bag and bike all vintage. Sunglasses from Pilgrim.

Friday, May 27, 2011

When in doubt...

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One of life's small rules:

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When in doubt...wear red lipstick.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Many Things...

The other day I found myself being asked about why I seem so content - the first thing that came out of my mouth was "I have everything I need and many things I want" which is true and rings like a line to the song that is my life. I am so blessed. It is my job to take what I have been given and make the best of it. I still have my health and the rest, as Lionel Barrymore says in You Can't Take It With You, I leave up to Him.

I have been very busy around here:

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I made a huge pot of home made veggie broth using this recipe...

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And I have spring cleaned my kitchen and dining room...

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This is the first year since I've moved out on my own I've really not had a solid block of three days to work on the house so It's being spread out and I'd like to be able to do a room or so a day. My expectations are a bit lower on the speed of it this year, but I still want it done, particularly because I was so sick when we moved that I was unable to clean much but the things that were absolutely necessary. The house was pretty filthy when we moved into it - sooty walls, dust everywhere, and fingerprints all over everything and I'm slowly working my way away from that.

I am an old fashioned housekeeper and I am a firm believer that the house needs a good scrubbing once a year so that's what I give it along with our general tidying and cleaning as needed. Spring cleaning is more thorough than our usual cleaning - we move the furniture and rugs to wash the floors, I get as much of the windows as I can, and I do a major declutter and reorganization for functionality as I work through each room. I take down the window treatments and wash and iron them, and so on. Also, spring cleaning is the time when I put away our heavy winter coats and bring out the swimsuits, shorts and other summer clothes that I hide under the bed all winter long!

Spring cleaning is very, very worth it since it sets the house up for a summer of adventures and creativity and takes me just a little time each year.

If you are interested in doing your own old fashioned spring (or fall for my readers in the Southern Hemisphere) cleaning, there are resources at apartment therapy here. Also, you are also welcome to ask me any questions you'd like and I'll try to answer them.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Week 20 - 50 crafts/52 Weeks

We have a lovely, overgrown courtyard with all of the plants that would have been in vogue in gardens during the 1920's, at least according the home and garden magazines that I've read from that era - cascading Bridal Veils, Peonies, various creeping vines and strange little flowers...and best of all big, robust 80 year old rosebushes all over the place.

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I spend a considerable amount of time out in our courtyard, on a blanket reading when the weather is good, digging around in the dirt, and yes, hanging laundry in the sunshine when I can. (When the weather is bad we hang laundry in the basement - I LOVE that the building has had so little done to it that laundry lines still exist both inside and out!)

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My 22nd craft was this pinafore inspired by the movie that I linked to a few weeks ago - Oto-na-ri. One of the main characters wears this style of pinafore when she is at work as a florist. It seemed very simple, lovely, and practical and like something I would wear.

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The pattern was not to difficult to figure out and the only main difference between the one in the movie and mine is that I added darts in the front and lining to fit me better.

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And yes, as I declared I would, I do wear it out, more as an overdress than an apron. I'd like to make this in a light blue linen and tweak it just a little bit more next time, using a different lining technique.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Apartment Therapy

It seems appropriate to finish up the home series with this:

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Our house was featured today on Apartment Therapy (thanks Jamie for letting me know!).

You can check out the post here.


Monday, May 16, 2011

This weekend went by so fast! There was a lot to do. I'm currently looking for creative partners for an endeavor of mine so there is a lot of coffee getting and talking with various people.

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I was able to get down to Boulder to meet up with my beautiful friend Morgan to celebrate our birthdays. We are almost birthday twins - I think they are only three days apart. While waiting for her I discovered this lovely little poetry bookstore and coffee shop.

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That very same day, JR was racing in Boulder.

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The race didn't go so great for him but I am proud of him for starting and trying. It was a hard one with almost no time to recover and the weather was a lot colder than we had expected...so...over his regular kit he was wearing an old Marion jersey from college. There's something to be said for hanging on to your lycra, right?

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

On Making Home - Part Three

I am sitting in the middle of my messy living room. The roar of traffic hums outside my window - it's rush hour and the busy street we live on is wet with rain, the cars picking their way through the puddles. I have a knit hat on because our house is chilly - we have radiant heat so we don't pick when it goes on or off and right now it's off.

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These things are the familiar: The need for slippers on our splintery wooden floors, the hiss of the water pressure, the quiet buzz of the refrigerator, the smokey walls in our kitchen that need so desperately to be painted, the way the finish is worn off on the hallway floors. These things tell me I'm home but the familiar does not always make home.

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What makes home, to me, is what spills into the space between the four walls. It is the people who occupy it, the objects that fill it, and the stories that are created here. A building, when you think about it, is nothing more than a place to be, and without the couch I hate and the husband I love, this would not be home.

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I make my home like I cultivate joy - it is not forced, but it is deliberate. Making home is more than just simply amassing objects and then dwelling here, it is a cultivation of a personality, a guarding of an atmosphere.

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Here are some things I do to make my home:

1. I'm an old fashioned housekeeper.
My home is rarely spotless but we do keep on top of the mess. Dishes are generally done, the living room is generally picked up, the bed is made almost every morning. We have a routine for keeping our house clean and I try to do at least fifteen minutes of cleaning a day. A clean home is a welcoming home, not just for guests but for myself.

2. Objects in, objects out.
I feel like we are currently at equilibrium with the things we have here at home, so when I bring something new into my home we take something out. We rotate our art every few months, storing the pieces that are not being used behind a dresser. I look at my house with a critical eye and try hard to give away or toss things that are not used or loved deeply.
Before I let something in the home it has to cultivate my joy, and over the years I've learned to listen to what actually brings me joy and what is just neat to have.

So, we have old windows with broken panes propped up against the wall, a rotating display of vintage clothes (I am a firm believer in clothes as art!) on the manequine, drawer pulls from Anthropologie in unexpected places, a bulletin board of old photographs above the work deskbecause these things nourish my soul. How often do I find myself doing something loathsome like paying bills only to be comforted and made happy by the picture pinned up of my grandma as a stunning young woman in a fabulous coatt? Well...every time.

3. Keep Calm
I touched upon this in the last home posts, but I try to keep my home a calming place. Soothing colors, a sense of order, and a lack of intrusive media help keep home a place I can escape from the aches and evils of the world. When I'm here, I can rest.

3. The final and most important is Love the people in the home.
I want my home to be welcoming to everyone, both my self and my husband and our guests. Want to crash on our floor? Always yes! Want to come over to dinner? Always yes! Do you need refuge? Come on over and I'll make you some tea! Want to celebrate? We'll host your birthday party! A home is just a showroom without people in it.

I want my friends and family to always, always feel welcome here. Hospitality is very important to me and having a welcome, opening home is something I've tried to teach myself. We didn't have a lot of company growing up, but my husband's parents had a very amazing social life and subsequently it was a lot more natural for JR to have people over. He has taught me, over the years, that people really don't care if your food is perfect, or your home is immaculate, but that people just want to be with you. Sure, I'm a sucker for the details and you'll find me serving a planned dinner with cloth napkins, but if you find me unexpectedly, I'll still welcome you in and give you Almond milk in a plastic cup with a paper towel just as happily because I love you and I have time and space for you no matter what. No exceptions.
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If you are interested, you can read part one and part two of the home series.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Week 19 - 50 Crafts/52 Weeks

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Priscilla got a new undergarment! She's wearing a tiny little bustle made out of scraps from my own 18th c. stays. I haven't ever made a set of these before, even for myself or another person, so it was a bit of a challenge to figure out how to construct these things and get the right shape just from photographs. I used the jupon tournure from this page to model Pricilla's set after. Priscilla just needs a petticoat and a dress and she's done...for now. I'd like to continue to make her little things because they go so quickly and are very rewarding.

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Craft 21 was a big one - I finished illustrating and self published my fairy tale! I had 25 copies made so that I could give one to each of my students as a parting gift. This turned out to be a big undertaking, but I am so glad that I did it! I learned a lot from the experience and would definitely do it again!

I'm not sure if anyone is interested in reading it - but if you are let me know and I'll try to find a way for you to get your hands on it - please email me if you are and I'll try to figure it out! I'm guessing the cost for the book will be around three to five dollars. I don't need to make anything on it so it'll be cost + shipping, or as close to that as I can get.

Monday, May 09, 2011

All the seasons go the same...

It's summer here in Denver, or at least these last few days have felt like it. I've been camera-less for some reason, but I have been having lots of lovely adventures.

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First of all I turned twenty-six in the best way imaginable. JR and I took the entire day and did lovely things - I slept in, there was breakfast in bed, we rode our bikes around the city and stopped at the capitol building to climb up to the top of the dome to look out over Denver, we went to the art museum to see the Renaissance exhibit, and then we went to Beatrice and Woodsley here in town for dinner.

The very next day I started a new job as, in a sense, an art restoration person. I'm not sure what my official title is, though I do know I'm in the restoration department. I spend a lot of time hand sewing textiles in various capacities. It is a very quiet meditative job for me, as sewing tends to be. I enjoy it and I know for certain that I will get very strong hands doing this! I have to use pliers to sew some of the things I work on!

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This weekend I had a very lazy Saturday. I slept in. Sunday was not so lazy, I went to church, had brunch with lovely Isabelle and a few of her friends, and then afterwards I climbed Green Mountain.

Tonight I am going to take a ballet class, an adult very beginner class. While I'm sure I'm not, at least in my brain, a very beginner, I could always use a refresh, and of course I have to build up the muscles I lost over the course of the fall and summer - my last class was last August! In honor of this I added a few pictures from last summer in my pointe shoes...I was really working hard to figure out light with the SLR and I used an oil lamp all over the dark living room to play with the camera. I'm not sure if they're lovely or just silly but I like them.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

On Being Home - Part Two

Home, for me, is my refuge. It is a space that contains my beloved, the things I create, and the things I use to create. I find my home, my carefully gathered objects, to be a place of rest. I go out into the world, and while I find it exhilarating, I return needing home.

Home is also my space to create, where my best thinking is done. It is a place where projects are dreamed up and carried out. Where, within the space I love, anything is possible. I seek inspiration from the world around me, yes, but it is sifted and measured out, evaluated in the bounds of my four walls. All projects I do, all things I create are measured against myself and the sense of peace I get when I am home, not against other people, other bloggers, and the world outside. Recognizing my boundaries and my limits has made the rooms of my home infinite space to dream.

When I am home I am able to come to terms with things. We shut the world out, in a way. We have no TV, our computer time is limited, we do not get much mail. We are able to isolate ourselves, and see things in our own way without the influence of scads of screaming stations yelling about the world ending. We are not hiding from it, but we are able to see things once, and process them, instead of being overexposed to the information leaving no room to adjust to the new way of the world. We read books, slowly. We discuss the events of the world over dinner, and yes, if there is something we really want to watch, we stream it online.

Home is where I know who I am the most. If I ever lose myself in the ideas of want and must have, I simply look around and am reminded of enough. Home reigns me in, home reflects my personality and projects it on the walls, the floors, the bookshelves and paint colors. Home shows me where I've been and tells me where I need to go. Home encourages me, teaches me how to share, and gives me a place to learn and to grow.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being home most of the day, so I took this little video of some of my daily work at home. It's not professionally done, but I hope you enjoy it.



This is part two of my thoughts on Home. You can find part one here.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Oh, Life!


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I found this image of Yves Saint Laurent standing alone at Christian Dior's funeral in Paris, 1957 while reading a book I had impulsively pulled from the library. In amongst the heavy draped clothes of the late 40's and early 1950's, plum satins, embroidery, and endless skirts was this lonely photograph of the young man standing alone, contemplating.

Saint Laurent is young in this photograph, around 21, and he had just been given the reigns to House of Dior and had become Dior's successor. I like this picture because it shows the before, before, before. Before rises and failures, before conscriptions, hospitalizations, before the drugs and the failed romances and the selling of his art collection. It just shows a young man, beautifully dressed, contemplative in the eerily calm minutes before the storms.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

On Having Home - Part One

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(The sitting area in my living room)

I have moved 26 times. Many of them have been international, two have been cross country, and the rest of them were from one place to another within state or even city lines, like for college. When you move as much as I do you learn not to worry about how everything is going to fit into your boxes, you just magically make it happen. You throw away a lot of stuff. And, best of all, you get to start over, and over, and over, and over. Clean slates, empty rooms, new ways to move things around and new neighbors to get to know (or try hard to ignore *cough* Fort Collins *cough*).

(The working desk and stereo, along with the 1960's wedding dress I thrifted.)

Because we move so much, I like to take pictures of the places we live in. Sometimes it can seem like I'm just passing through the walls of the building, I never really get to know the place well. I barely remember living in South Lyon, MI - we were only there for a few months. I remember Detroit well because it was so terrifying to move far away from my family for the first time ever, all by myself, with just my carload of stuff into a house with a bunch of sketchy people. I especially remember the locks on the bedroom door, all three of them. I remember the sense of peace and the bright blue carpet of my second place in Detroit, and the weird stuff in the basement and attic, how huge our bedrooms were and the way the grand bathtub's water ran rusty all the time because the hot water tank was so old.

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(Vintage umbrellas, books and bicycles)

I vaguely remember houses that blur together from my childhood - the hovel apartments in the United States and the grand marble floors and gated walls in the Philippines, the chickens running around and children underfoot and wash-ladies doing laundry in tin buckets and washboards in the backyard under the hum of electric lines that never worked and the cooing of birds.

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My parents have put the house I spent high school in on the market - It has been the place I've lived in the longest. I hope I can make it there to take pictures before they sell it, because I will eventually forget the huge floral couch I slept on. I will forget the feeling of spinning triple pirouettes in the foyer on the wood floor, the subtle sage stripes in the entrance that always welcomed me home. I will miss the Chronicles of Narnia poster in my closet, the sagging cage crinolines on hangers in my half finished closet, the pantry, the Hens and Chicks I planted when I took Horticulture in school that have overrun part of the garden, the part where my dad drilled into the wrong side of the cupboards to put the handles on and left two marks.

So, because I cannot ever remember all the places I have lived in, I have learned to take pictures. No matter how much I love the place I live in, the walls cannot hold me forever - I have had to learn to let go and remain all at once.

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