I'm so glad I have a mom that thinks the way I do. Not all mom's would have suggested a "vintage" wedding dress as decor. But my mom did. She offered up her gorgeous wedding dress to do the job too.
And a little tinsel, glitter, and vintage goodies didn't hurt one bit. Mom at 19 now resides in my living room. She's a winter bride. I thought that I had the tiniest dress form in the world. My mother was tinier. The dress doesn't make it all the way around the back... no peeking. (Note to Mom: in no way was your dress altered with anything except a couple of pins, I promise.)
Once I got the dress situated, the mantle needed a little dressing as well.
Add the silly little tinsel tree, and voila. Finished.
Friday they all went on "The Boat". My mom and I were going to go, but there were 11 of us. So, we claimed capacity issues and went shopping and to lunch instead. Muahahahahahahahaha.
The first stop on my list was Melrose Vintage which I had heard about on the blogs of girls who were at Sparkle Bella this June. And it definitely lived up to it's reputation. Gorgeous displays, paper delights, vintage lovelies...
Next up... a couple doors down to Rust and Roses. I'd been here on Tuesday. I'd dragged my whole family out to so I could go to Melrose Vintage which turned out to be closed on Tuesdays, and happened upon this store. Too fun. I had to take my mother back.
Then off to lunch at Willow Bakery. A must do. And to an antique store where I gathered a slew of goodies to put on bags.
We were having a great time, but we started to worry that the others would make it home before us. We didn't want them to think we'd had so much fun, so we raced home. Perfect timing. They'd just walked in.
"Oy. What a day. I'm sure you all had much more fun on the freezing cold lake."
We planned to start out at 8:00 am... we decided on 8:00 am because we knew we'd never make it out by 7 am.
We started at 10:00 am. And we stopped at Peets for coffee and my contractor to drop off two boxes of cuts.
We planned to hit Pacific Grove and see thousands of butterflies as we were so promised on Bay Area Backroads last weekend. The butterflies travel there every year, and in this one grove there are suppossed to be thousands. They fill the trees and the sky.
We got to Pacific Grove and saw about 10 - 30 butterflies apparently hanging from the branch of a Eucalyptus tree, but we couldn't really make them out so well.
We were told, "Boy, you should have been here last weekend. It was sunny and bright and there were thousands of them."
A day late and a dollar short.
But we were happy because we were in a new and beautiful place. So what if we didn't see very many butterflies. We were having fun. And we saw a few butterflies. Like this one...
Then we headed off to get some lunch in town, and I won't even tell you about that debacle, but it has to do with Emily pitching a fit about not getting her way. Love that girl.
After lunch and a quick pit stop in a shop that had Hello Kitty stuff (I bribed Emily... I know it's bad, but it was all I could think of at the time), we took off down the incredible 17 mile drive.
Ahhhhh. Scenery. We've done the 17 mile drive along the coast before, and it's really spectacular no matter how many times you do it.
And thankful that we live in such an incredible area.
We made it to Point Lobos at about 2:00 in the afternoon, that's central Ackerman time. We were planning to get there no later than noon.
It was as expected, completely beautiful ... despite a small issue with millions of flies that I don't want to think about.
Now we were on our way to Santa Barbara through Big Sur.
Which was nothing less than completely stunning.
the fog rolls in.
And the sun goes down.
Great for pictures.
Not for driving.
Over the next 65 miles we are in the pitch black with fog so thick that visibility is no more than 10 to 15 feet or so.
On cliffsides with hair-pin turns.
I'm not driving.
I'm complaining. And whining. And hollering. And not at all happy with Kevin's driving.
Which is when Emily says she's going to vomit. She does this a lot, so we believe her. And pull over to give her Benedryl (Doctor's recommendation.)and some air. She does not vomit this time, thank goodness.
Finally, thankfully, we are at the end of Highway 1 and on Highway 101. No cliffs. Much fog.
We know now that we have over 100 miles to go before Santa Barbara where we think our hotel is right off the highway.
It's now 8:30 PM. We have been looking for somewhere to eat for an hour. We stop at the only chain restaurant we can find, Marie Callendar's, because we don't trust the roadside one-offs for a decent meal.
We fill our bellies and hit the road. 60 miles more, we think.
The hotel we made reservations at is in a town we think is right outside Santa Barbara. Right off highway 101. Here's how we found out it wasn't:
Kevin: What exit do we get off at?
Me: (Looking down at the map I printed out a week ago when we made the reservation) Uh, ummm, uh. Well, it says to get off at [such and such] exit and then we, uh, turn at [such and such]...
(I go on and on with directions off the highway. The hotel is not right off the highway.)
World War III begins.
"Well, YOU booked the hotel."
"Uh, no. YOU said you knew where the town was and that it was right outside Santa Barbara."
"Well, why didn't you look at the map?"
"You said to book it. You knew where it was."
This kind of conversation goes on for the next hour as we drive through darkness for 40 more miles back toward the coast.
At 10:30 pm we find the hotel. We still don't know quite where we were. We were no longer blaming one another, but then, we weren't speaking to each other either.
Nine hours later we hit the road. We've got what we think is six hours of driving ahead of us. Through L.A. (that's a discussion for another day) through the desert and onward to Grandma's house in Arizona... For the next NINE hours.
Not quite over the river and through the woods, but we made it.
The good news: We had an incredibly memorable trip and then a fabulous Thanksgiving... And so much to be grateful for.
Plus, I did some shopping in the historic district which I will show in tomorrow's post. That is sure to be far more interesting than this entry, I'm sure.
Jessica Hood of Funky Finds.
Congrats, Jessica. Tell me where to send it & off it will go Monday morning.
Don't fret if you didn't win. The Alison Wristlet is now available for purchase here.
BTW, the winner was fairly picked by my cookie monster nephew, Jack. Lucky Anna and Emily slept over at Auntie Lara's last night and were not available for picking this morning.
Hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving! I'm stuffed!
The Alison Wristlet is ready!
People have been asking for a wristlet for years and I've finally gotten around to it so, I'm celebrating.
The day after (the American) Thanksgiving next Thursday, Anna and/or Emily (they'll fight it out) will randomly pick a winner from the hat.
The piece featured here is made of baby whale cord with fabric flowers quilted onto the front. It also has purse feet, a plastic coated lining and a fabulous spring closure that shuts tightly and holds open when you need it to.
To enter, all you've got to do is leave a comment.
Aargh. Aargh. Someone pleeeeeease, don't make me do these horrible must-do tasks. Accounting! Ick. Web Updates! Ick.
Just let me make pretty things... I'm good at that. I can handle that.
I'm not good at this technical stuff diddy stuff.
Here's the scoop (and why I'm whiiiiiinnng)... Although my website was professionally designed, when I made changes (which I do, like, all the time), I was supposed to look at the changes in various browsers. "Huh???!!!" (That's me acting all confused).
Apparently it doesn't look the same in all browsers. Now, how was I supposed to figure that out??? And why didn't anyone tell me sooner?
My sister, (XOXOXO, Miss Ilisa.) pointed out that on her browser, Internet Explorer 6, the products drop to the bottom of the page where they can't be seen. This was a very frustrating bit of news.
Worse yet, I come to find out that 50% of all people using the internet are currently using Version 6. Oy. Oy. Panic in the streets. (I panic over anything I can, so bear with me.)
The good news is... My web designer, Deb, is going to fix the situation this weekend so that no matter what browser you are looking through you will get the real deal. Hallelujah.
The catch... I promised her that I wouldn't promptly mess it up again next week and call her crying and begging and pleading for some of her time. I promised, but I think I may have lied. Not intentionally, but if I'm honest, that can't be promised... I like goofing with stuff. (I also like using a lot of dot, dot, dots. Have you noticed that?)
Also good news... for those of you still using Internet Explorer 6, there is a new version... IE7.
You can download it for FREE here.
But wait, there's more! If you download it, your internet will run better and you will be less susceptible to the latest viruses (at least that's what my husband told me. Don't hold me to that.)
I know you do. There's a bunch of you out there. And, there is no cure.
CPS is a recently (self)-diagnosed medical issue otherwise known as Creative Personality Syndrome. I have a serious case.
You see here it manifests itself in loopy ways. A prime symptom? Blog Header Switcharoo Impulse (or BHSI).
You may have noticed a series of blog headers here. It's not my fault. I have an illness.
If you put your pointer over the headers, you'll see they have names like, "reallyfinal" and "finalfinalfinal". One of the most difficult symptoms of CPS is the inability to let small flaws roll off your shoulders. For instance, "Awww, that brooch is slightly too high... I'll let it go", sounds more like, "That brooch is completely off. Re-do that now. It's awful!"
After the brooch issue above was fixed, and the header was posted, CPS reared it's ugly head again. It started to annoy me, the header. It seemed all wrong. Too Spring/Summerish. Too bright. Too something I couldn't put my finger on.
The one below... I don't know. I just decided I don't like it.
Fortunately, I posted the most recent header after my diagnoses. Although there is no known cure for CPS (You're just born with it. It's in your genes. I bet your mother, and her mother before her had CPS too.), there is relief once you know you have it. You can control it. We'll see how long this little "state of control" of mine lasts. I could soon have another episode of BHSI (blog header switcheroo impulse). You never know when the power of CPS will take over.
Some of these bags came in and went out last week, but all can be made to order. I always enjoy seeing the design your own handbags. Here's some of what Bari J. customers have come up with lately...
Anna in Midnight
(It had a patent leather bottom and handles.)
Emily in Pink Plaid
Lara in black and white patchwork... (also with a patent leather bottom)
Lydia in black and white patchwork
Zoey in Pink Pin Stripe and lacey (This customer requested the pocket on the front.)
Maybe it's because it's almost time for Thanksgiving or maybe it's because it was raining yesterday, but I'm in the mood for sewing and cooking and baking.
I've had a stew in the crock pot since early this morning. I baked muffins (I'd show you the muffins, but my family is not used to this kind of domesticity. They ate the whole batch before I had a chance to take a photo.) and made us some new placemats.
Now, if only something could put me in the mood for cleaning and doing the laundry...
(And no, this isn't a staged photo. The vacuum cleaner has been sitting there next to that pile of laundry for 24 hours. And I'm pretty sure that sock has been there right along with it.)
The internet is a small, small world. Remember this summer when I said I "needed (ummm, "wanted") some espadrilles" and that I'd found some from a site in Spain, but it was too late to order for my trip? And then sweet Laura from Espadrillesetc.com sent me a pair as a gift. Too sweet. Well, today, I met Laura in person.
As it turned out, Laura is from the San Francisco/California region and she still has family here. She was in town this past week so we got together for lunch today. How cool is that? I brought my camera with, and wouldn't you know it? I forgot to take a picture of us. Poop.
It's funny, I felt like I knew Laura from the moment we met. She seemed so much like some of the people I grew up around. I had such a nice time talking to her (and you know I don't get out of my studio much, so I definitely needed an adult human to talk to... I do a lot of talking to myself and the dogs who don't answer back except to beg for cookies). Laura was a reallly great person to share some of that time away with.
Of course, I brought Laura a handbag which is always a lot of fun. I love giving them as gifts, and Laura brought me some espadrilles to embellish as my daughter had suggested when I was first looking at the shoes. I'm a total shoe ho, it's true. I've got a buncha' buncha' ideas in my head as to what I'm going to do with this cute babies. I'll fill ya' in when they're done.
Anyways, thanks Laura! It was so nice meeting you.
And girls, visit her fabulous site. She's got an espadrille for everyone.
Since that's not happening anytime soon I made a stop by Jen Merrit's Etsy shop, Persephone's Awakening (also the name of her wonderful blog), to see if that scarf that I've been coveting was still there.
(Must have. Must have. Must have. I'm an Etsy Zombie and probably should seek therapy for the condition.)
Ching! Into my cart it goes. La la la. Now I have to wait 'cause Miss Jen has it in an art show right now. Oh, poop-dee-doodle!
Now I digress... Because the color of this scarf reminds me of Irises. And Irises remind me of my China. Iris by Nikko. You know how when you get married they say to get something plain because your tastes will change as the years go by? I didn't listen. Kevin tried to talk me out of this pattern saying it was too busy, and even he now loves it almost 14 years later. Gee, I'm right all the time, it's so true.
This was the first thing I put on the wedding registry and the only thing I still totally adore. And let me tell you, those pots and pans need to G-O. I think on your 20th wedding anniversary you should get another shower, don't you?
****We interrupt our regularly scheduled programing to tell you about some good stuff at Bari J... ***
I have been daydreaming. It's nothing new. As long as I can remember I have had a romantic notion about running away and living in the country. My husband shares this daydream with me. Although I'm pretty sure, not on the same level that I seem to have arrived at.
Life in Northern California is wonderful. It's beautiful. The weather is fabulous. There's tons of art and fashion and culture.
But I'm tired. I'm tired of what can be called no less than a terminal rat race. Housing is exorbitantly expensive. Schools are outrageously competitive. There's even a race for a spot in line at Target. And forget about the traffic and parking. I can't even talk about that because it makes me start to curse and sweat.
So, I'm dreaming of just taking off. Finding a place where life is just slower.
I dream that we'd buy a beautiful old home with a wrap-around porch and renovate it. I've always wanted to do that. We'd plant beautiful gardens there.
I'd have to take my sisters with me. Neither of them live here, but if I'm running away to my ideal world, I'd have to have my sisters and brother too. Right next door would be good. Anytime I needed someone to talk to, I could run over to my sister's houses on the acres of land to the right and left of me. I'd bring a basket of scones. We'd have tea. Our kids would play together.
Mom and Dad would have to come too. I've been dieing to take a ladies lunch with my mom. She doesn't live here either. And the little country town that I'd live in would have fabulous antiquing and sweet little lunch spots.
Of course, I'll need an internet connection. But that's doable. I think if I have my internet connection and there's a city within an hour or two away, it's all good. I won't feel too isolated.
I'd love to do this. Just go. I have started to even have the notion that we might actually be able to do it.
But let's get back to reality. I obviously can't take my siblings and parents and transplant them in this magical place. How would our kids feel about this? They're pretty happy and content where we are. What would Kevin do for a job? Would I be able to just transfer my whole business someplace else? And most importantly would leaving really make me happy?
I don't know the answers to any of these questions. But I do know that as happy as I am in my life here, there's something missing. I know I'm missing my family. But it's something more than just that. Simplicity. Balance.
Can you find those things in a place? Or do you have to just create those things where you are? Wouldn't it be easier somewhere else? Or would I still crave something different?
They say "Wherever you go, there you are.". I'm not sure who said this first, but I've heard it often. And it's true. I would still be me. Whatever difficulties I have with simplicity and balance and ease would come right with me.
But despite my knowledge that much of what I think running away would look like is simple fantasy, I can't help but believe there's someplace better for my family and for me. I don't know where it is or when we'll ever be able to go. But the roots of this fantasy are starting to grab hold of me more often and not pull, but gently tug to tell me it's time. I think it's time to listen ... for whatever that means.
[Note: I believe the above photo is from Country Living Magazine, but I can't be sure because it was torn out and put on my bulletin board years ago.]
When I make the lists (and this is all the time), I believe I'm going to get through them. I think that this time, once and for all I'll become an organized, efficient person.
The problem is, I have no concept of how long it takes to do stuff. So the lists go on and on. Today is Friday. I am on Wednesday's list. Remember Monday I bought Quickbooks? Thought that little set up would take an hour. It took six. This threw off the whole week. That's what I'm blaming it on anyways.
So today after an hour or so off trying to check off little items from the whole week, I decided I was going to tear up the list. I sat for a minute just staring at it (wasting more time) ... I couldn't do it. So, I buried it in a drawer and did something I actually wanted to do.
This is the beginning of what will go on my "art bag" page. It will be a Zoey Carry All with a patent leather bottom and handles. It was still work, and I think somewhere on The List is "Make Art Bags", but marked with a "C" priority. And there were plenty of "A" priority items that I didn't do yet. None-the-less, it made me very happy.
But I could practically hear that list calling my name from the bottom of the drawer like a big bag of Oreos. And blogging is not on it.
I've just done the happy dance. The website is updated. And, the ready to buy page is refilled and stocked. Hallelujah. More will be coming as we get closer to the holidays. Here's some of what is already listed.
A one of a kind Stephanie Mag Bag... This is the back side... the front has a gathered pocket. Oo-la-la.
View my line of licensed fabric designs at
Art Gallery Fabrics
In stores now...
In stores now...
In stores now...
In stores now...