It All Started Out So Innocently...

I'd posted a few comments on the blog Crazy Mom Quilts, since I admired both the craft and simplicity of the posts by its author, AmandaJean. She, too, posted a few comments on my blog. And as blog friendships tend to do, ours quickly developed. AmandaJean and I found that we had quite a bit to chat about, most significantly, the idea of moving. But that's a whole different post. Anyhow, one thing led to another and... yep, you guessed it. A swap was arranged. I must admit, I love to swap with crafters who sew. I mean, I can sew a straight line and all, and if a piece of my clothing rips on a seam , I can take care of it. But I can make nothing like the fabulous pieces that AmandaJean sent me. Just look:

The woman has three kids and not only did she make me a tissue cover and all of the beauties below, but she even made the adorable card! Sheesh!

I'm in pouch heaven.
Black and white (and quilted!) is always right up my alley.
And it was AmandaJean's variations on the vinyl pouch theme
a while back that really got me hooked on her blog.
I'm so giddy to now own one myself!

But this is the mother of the swap goodness. This tote rocks my world! The fabric - blues, greys, blacks. The print - bold, graphic, mod. The shape - simple, straightforward, functional. The straps - just-right over-the-shoulder length. This bag is perfection. I could not have hoped for a more generous, funky, useful, and thoughtful set of swap items. Thanks, AmandaJean. I only hope that you're as happy with your swap gifts as I am with mine.

A Dime a Dozen

Well, not exactly twelve for ten... more like ten for twelve. In honor of Mother's Day, I've put ten pairs of earrings (mother appropriate, in my opinion) on sale in the sulu-design etsy shop.

The following can be had for $12 a pair, shipping included
(click on images for a link to their etsy listing):

And there are, as usual, several items priced at just ten dollars, like the following:

I always provide immediate shipping, so U.S., Canadian, and even some oversees orders should arrive in time for Mother's Day. Just thought I'd let you know. Enough with the shameless plugs. I've got more posts to write... Be well, all!

Family Ties

There's nothing like getting out of the city to spend a gorgeous spring weekend with my family in my hometown. Two days (super quick as they were) in Cleveland perked me up and a bit and helped to get me out of my blahs. It was especially nice to:

hear about my dad's plans for his cross-country drive
on his Harley this June (Go, Dad!)

receive gifts of vintage buttons and hankies from my mom

be hosted at the home of my sister
who can cook and throw a party like no other

listen to the tunes of my multi-talented brother-in-law -
I bet you didn't know that a button box could be so cool

hang out with my niece and nephews, the cutest little nuggests ever


Blahs and Ahhs

a gorgeous week turning into a rainy mess
an abandoned, dissheveled bird nest in our flower box
a rejection letter from the Art Star Craft Bazaar
crabbiest students ever

yogurt-covered almonds and candied ginger in bulk bins
getting the heck out of Dodge
a weekend with the family
plans for a Saturday morning soccer game
bagels around the breakfast room table

Back on Monday!


How Cool is Kathy?

So cool. A while back, she posted about a swapportunity on her blog, While Tangerine Dreams. She offered to make her lucky swap partners pairs of felted slippers in exchange for [fill in the blank with craft of choice here]. I like guidelines like that and I was pretty taken with the pair that she had made for herself, so I contacted her, traced my feet, and we were on our way. Then Kathy thought of the coolest thing. When we were discussing what colors she ought to use for my booties, she suggested that I send her a photo and she'd work from it, you know... a la Original Intent. Cool. I was so down. Since I'm blue-obsessed, I passed along this photo of graffiti on the back of a billboard:

A huge grin spread across my face today when I opened the envelope that she sent and found that the slippers were wrapped in the image itself. My smile cracked even wider when I saw Kathy's interpretation of the photo. The booties, named "Tag, You're It" (isn't she clever?) are the perfect shades of blue and, on the top of each, have little references to the lines of graffiti in the photo. These are my new dress up slippers. As in, I will not stand in front of the sink and wash dishes in these slippers. As in, I will not ride the elevator in our apartment building down to the laundry room in these slippers. I will put my feet up, drink endless amounts of coffee, leaf through magazines, and gaze out the window in these slippers. Cool.

And to top it all off, Kathy included some yummy Potty Mouth Hemp Lip Balm from her handmade soap and stuff line, Do Be Clean (you can also check out her etsy shop here). My cozy-loving toes and my chapped lips thank her. (My swap package to Kathy will be thanking her in person next week...)


Tyra Made

As I mentioned in a recent post, just nine months ago I rarely checked my e-mail and I almost never used the internet for anything other than work. At that time, I never would have guessed that I'd be at the point I'm at currently. I'm guilty of using the computer a little too often now - in fact, I'm on the verge of imposing some time rules on my home computer use (are you psyched, Barry?) - and I've done something else that I honestly never thought I'd do. I've gone and met yet another internet friend in person. Not only am I still alive to blog about it (I always love it when internet friends turn out not to be murderers, you know), but I had a great time this afternoon connecting with my new pal, Tyra.
Several months ago, Tyra contacted me through my etsy shop. Turns out that she, too, is a jewelry designer and she is a New York City teacher. She's even taught in the Bronx! How's that for having things in common? We've been e-mailing (or "convo-ing," as they say in etsy speak... but I don't like etsy speak) back and forth for a while and finally decided to meet up in person. We got together at Settepani, a cute cafe in Harlem, and chatted on and on about school, NYC, jewelry-making, etsy... it's so nice to have easy conversation with someone you can relate to so well.
Anway, Tyra was wearing a fabulous pair of earrings that, of course, she made, and I'd be sharing a photo of them with you now had I stopped yapping away for a moment of our time together and taken a picture of them. I mean, I brought my camera and all, but get me talking and... well, since I didn't remember to take a photo, you'll have to go to her etsy shop, tyra made, to check her earrings out. And while you're there, you can take advantage of some serious sales she's posted, including my favorites, here. Thanks, Tyra, for a fun afternoon.
And thanks to all of you who have been leaving such sweet comments recently. You've really helped me keep my chin up through a pretty hectic week. Be well!


Blatant Color Theme Ahead

Of the multitude of earring pairs that I made the other day, quite a few fit into a specific color combo category:

These, of course, are available at the newly updated sulu-design shop, and through direct links by clicking on the images above. More to come (but don't worry - I promise I'm not going to post all 56 of them here)!


Oh, Sheets!

A crisp, clean set of white sheets is currently gracing out bed - the Spring weather called for it. And crisp, clean whiteness is in abundance in the sulu-design etsy shop today, with the following pieces now added (click on the image for a link to its etsy listing):

The pieces below were made in response to all of the kind feedback that I received regarding a pair of earrings that I made for myself out of vintage buttons, which I posted about a while back. While we were in a vintage shop in Texas, Barry was able to find the same buttons in white. Yee haw! The top pair hangs on antiqued brass-tone clasps, the bottom on silver-tone clasps.

Loving the sunshine... and those crisp white sheets.


Go Outside

weekends are heaven:
last night's dinner at Otto
(you can't go wrong with fried egg on top of a pizza, can you?)
perfect spring weather

early morning bike ride

whole wheat everything bagel
Sunday Times in the park

trying to add a few more items to the sulu-design etsy shop
only to find that etsy is down this morning -
a perfect reminder to get back outside


Spring Fights Back

All morning, a pale grey bird has been busy at our bedroom window, taking dried stems from our window box and weaving them into a nest, right next to the flower box. I'm looking forward to a new little family moving in. And I've been a busy bird, too, keeping an eye on her and her progress as I've been taking care of a bunch of sulu-design business myself. Tags have been stamped and punched with holes. The fifty-six pairs of earrings that I made on rash day have been put on tags, photographed, and shuffled into place: a box to be sent to JetSet, my on-hand stock box, and the sulu-design etsy shop. I've added a bunch of pieces to the shop this morning and will be adding several more throughout the week. For the next couple of days, I'll be posting photos and links to the results of that itchy day. Starting with these (click on the photos for direct links to the etsy listing for each pair):

and a similar pair, with three green beads and antiqued brass, here

Have a wondreful day, all. It's absolutely gorgeous outside in New York City today, so I'm off to soak up some of this much-needed beautiful weather. Enjoy.


Star Struck

Last summer, I started the sulu-design blog after seeing the amazing things that the ladies in my knitting group we doing with their own (see the sidebar links to check them out). I was so impressed with the work that they were posting and with the crafting blog community in general that I changed my non-computer ways and dove in. (At that time, I was checking my e-mail about once a week - that being the one time that I'd even turn on the computer. My, how times have changed.) I remember that as I explored more and more blogs beyond those in my knitting circle, I found one in particular that brought me overwhelming delight - A Bird in the Hand. Lisa Congdon's site was so fresh, so friendly, and so spot-on in sync with my tastes that I fell in love with it immediately. (By now, most of you know that Lisa has since started a new blog and has her own website.)

So, last night, when Lisa, who lives in San Francisco, had the opening of her show, anatomie, at Rare Device in Park Slope, Brooklyn, I had to be there. During my subway ride there, I actually found myself getting nervous about meeting her. I wanted to tell her how much I loved the quilted bibs and wrist bands that I first saw on her blog last summer. I wanted to gush on and on about the fabulous home furnishings - the Danish furniture, the mod prints, the plastics - that she's collected and pictured on her blog. I wanted to tell her how her commitment to her craft, her career, her family and friends, and to her physical health was so impressive. I wanted to tell her how great it was that a former teacher - yes, she was a teacher, too - was having such success in the arts and crafts world. I wanted to tell her that her encouraging, postive tone in all of her posts was so uplifting. Really, I wanted to tell her that she's a rock star. Instead, after checking out the pieces in her show, I saw her standing alone and, overcome with the celebrity status that I've elevated her to in my head (so out of character for me... weird), I approached her, mumbled a few words about how great the anatomie show was and shuffled off for my subway ride back to Queens. But it was worth it. I met my blog idol.


Totally Off Topic...

We don't have cable since we don't watch much t.v. at our place. Which means that when we do actually want to watch something, there's nothing good on. That's how Barry and I happened upon The Pussycat Dolls reality t.v. show last night. Ack. Were I the kind of person who belived in the horrible inferno, I'd say that we're going to hell in a handbasket. Hell. What have we allowed to happen to our children?


When Does 1+1+1=56 ?

Consider these three factors:
1. I was hit with another one of my random, insanely irritating rashes yesterday just as I returned home from work, and it lingered on, all over my arms and legs, into today. Did I ever tell you that I considered starting a blog on my random skin issues? Didn't think that one would go over too well...
2. I got my latest credit card statement in the mail last week. It was a shocking reminder of how often I visit my favorite bead shops.
3. I've been enjoying Amandajean's blog recently, and her huge stacks of gorgeously folded fabric that she's not been using (for which she has started berate herself) reminded me of just how many beads I'm already in possession of, and how I don't really need to make another bead shopping trip any time soon.
All of this added up to me:
a. staying home from work (as it was, I'd already told my principal I'd be leaving work early today for a dermatologist appointment - it would have been a lovely coincidence that I already had that appointment... except that anything related to a nasty rash can hardly be referred to as lovely)
b. deciding that I'm not going to buy any more beads until I greatly diminish the stash I've already got, and
c. making fifty-six new pairs of earrings. They barely made a dent in my bead collection. A few of the pieces that I made today will end up in the sulu-design etsy shop (which I've updated just a bit), and the others are on their way to shops.

Now, to keep my hands busy so as not to scratch, I'm going to put them to work on making more sulu-design tags...

By the way, I am no daredevil. The photo of the billboard walkway from a recent post was taken while I was standing on the elevated train platform from which the billboard hangs. Thanks for your concern, dear commenters!


Original Intent (Revisited): Day Sixty

view of a laundromat from the outside looking in, astoria

inspired earrings found here


Original Intent (Revisited): Day Fifty-Nine

billboard walkway planks, astoria

inspired earrings found here


In Defense of Texas

...but a couple quick asides first.
I'm scared at how many of us share in the peeling/picking habit! I posted yesterday's random piece after midnight (so I guess that makes it today's random piece), after I'd been blog reading and commenting for hours. I was a wee bit out of it when I wrote it. This morning, while I was getting ready for work, I thought, "Oh, no. What the heck did I post last night? People are going to protest my blog in disgust over the divulgence of my skin-peeling obsession." But, no! Check out all of the comments on that last post, Mom. I don't want to be scolded any more for messin' with things! As far as I can tell from a random sampling of bloggers, it's a completely common drive. Peel/pick on, girls!
Also, a quick note to let all of you bloggers know that the neurotic commenting that I do on yours and others' blogs is not at all out of a feeling of obligation (or stalkerdom, for that matter), but rather because I am so energized and driven by your collective creativity that I am compelled to let you know how much it means to me. So you can try beating me off with a stick, but I'm still commenting, y'all.
So... that "y'all" is my attempt to turn things in the direction of Texas. My intent is not to drive up the tourism rates to the Lone Star state, but I do feel a need to let you in on the wonders of this amazing state - a state which I, at first, had no interest in going to. I had all of the pre-conceived notions about Texas that many of us come to the table with, but honestly, I can barely remember what the stereotypes about Texas are anymore becuase three visits in the past three years (yes, I love it that much - I mean, it's not like it's on our way anywhere - these are intentional trips we've been making) have completely changed my impression of Texas. I should note that Barry and I have been really enamoured with a particular vacation format of sorts over the past six or so years, and that trip pattern is part of what has made our visits to Texas (as well as Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, several states in the the northwest U.S., the southwest U.S., the southeast U.S., and other destinations) so enjoyable. The plan starts with both of us getting into some good literature and music from or inspired by the region we'll be visiting. In this case, Cormac McCarthy's border trilogy and T.R. Fehrenbach's Lone Star and Comanches (for Barry, the non-fiction reader) played big roles. Second, we plan our trips as kind of fly-and-drive excursions. Really, I can't think of a trip that the two of us have taken that hasn't been a roadtrip of sorts. Oh, and I use the term "plan" loosely. Often we travel without reservations at hotels or motels (this trip being an exception - you'll see why) and go where and when we please. And we always make sure that, even if we're visiting big cities, we find little "middle-of-nowhere" towns that, without fail, have ended up providing us with great meals, vintage/junk finds, photographs, and stories. So, without further ado (I mean, I can't play the after midnight card that I used for the skin peeling post to justify this rambling), I present my defense of the wonderful state of Texas. I love Texas for:

awesome live music,performed by bands like Heybale, who are the house band every Sunday
at the Continental Club in Austin

the Hotel San Jose, also in Austin - I would live there if I could,
which is why we make make an exception and make reservations

more vintage sources than you can shake a stick at... also in Austin

well-planned and maintained running trails and parks along the Colorado River

the world's best Barbecue, hands down,
served on sheets of paper (that do a great job of soaking up the fat)
at Kreuz Market in Lockhart

the slow pace and peaceful views in Marathon

Big Bend National Park - I get a lump in my throat just thinking about it's beauty

vegetation that is far more dramatic than what I'm accustomed to
in the northeast and midwest

the Rio Grande

the option of walking over a bridge to hang out in a Mexican town square in Ciudad Acuna

ghost towns and their cemetaries

the coolest 0ne-traffic-light town of Marfa,
which hasn't let the art scene that has moved in take over its character

the Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa,
which was origianlly owned by the Hotel San Jose's owners, so you can't go wrong

high desert weather that causes a sunburn one day and snow flurries the next

Liberty Bar in San Antonio

freight trains

towns untouched by the passing of time

big, quiet, open spaces

I'll admit - other than Austin and San Antonio, I haven't been to the big cities of Texas, which probably have a very different feel than the southern and western portions of the state that we've vistied. But all I can say after our third fabulous trip is... Don't Mess with Texas! Really.