Well for starters “vacation” is a bit misleading. Now that the kids I work with are in school, summers are the busiest part of my year.
Things really started to heat up in June. Not weather-wise, of course. Don’t be silly. That didn’t happen until the end of August.
My sister’s fiance Pete got a job in San Diego, so they moved down to Cali, but before they left they had a surprise wedding on our back deck. I mean, it wasn’t a surprise to them, or to me, but none of the guests knew. Ostensibly it was a going away party before they moved, but then they surprised everyone by exchanging rings and vows. People nearly keeled over out of surprise. It was pretty awesome :)
That was after the vows and rings and you can still see the surprise on people’s faces
It was a lovely, early summer evening with so many of their friends there to wish them well, so much laughter and love. It really was a beautiful thing.
The weekend after, Mike and I spent a couple days leading up to the 4th of July in Roche Harbor, up in the San Juans, with some friends.
DeHavilland Beaver, Lake Union.
We flew up via Kenmore Air (one of my very favorite things out of the whole packed summer) and stayed in an ancient little farmhouse in an orchard, with a view of the water. We spent the days out on our friends’ boat, (it’s beyond beautiful out there) fishing, whale watching (I kid you not. A huge pod of orcas), and seal/otter/eagle spotting. Ok, and drinking, too. Don’t judge me. We were on a boat and it was 4th of July weekend!
We flew back in time to take our own boat out on Lake Union to watch the fireworks and I got a crash(less) course in driving the boat, because everyone else was T-rashed. The one night of the year where there’s a million other boats crammed into the lake, all driven by drunks, and interspersed with police boats. I got us home alive and ticket free. Go me!
Lake Union, July 4th
A few short days after that, Mike and I flew to Alaska. Neither of us had ever been and we’d be been meaning to go for years, so we took a day or two on either side of a weekend and finally made it happen. Also, this happened:
That’s an Alaskan engagement ring, folks! Hand-carved, no less!
Yep! We got engaged! It’s a pretty great story, but I won’t make you sit through it. Suffice it to say, there will be a lot of wedding related posts over the next year or so…
Just a few short days after we got home from Alaska, we threw our annual Summer Party. Just 100 or so of our closest friends, some of their friends, and very possibly some total strangers. Because it was right around Bastille Day, we decided to go with a French theme, complete with French flag bar table
And some French flag fruit tarts.
Why, yes. I did make those myself. -And the macaroons. Why thank you, they do look lovely, don’t they?
They tasted even better than these pictures make them look (not too hard. I have rudimentary camera skills and was pressed for time. Also, they don’t even have the glaze on them yet).
The party was a blast, but man, it was a lot of work, too. Oh, and the weekend after that? Themed dinner party for 17. At our house. Uh huh. And that was just the last weekend of June and the month of July.
-Which brings us to the first weekend of August. Stay tuned for our second installment in the What I Did On My Summer Vacation series…
It’s been a while, but finally my life doesn’t look like a Rube Goldberg machine. I have a lot to post about, but I’m going to start with something easy. A blankie.
My friends Mike and Joni of Dex and the Monkey Blanket are expecting their second baby in November. Dex got a monkey blanket and turned out to be somewhat of a monkey, so for this one, they were hoping to channel something a little more calm and gentle. A giraffe. You have no idea how hard it is to find giraffe fabric. Not giraffe and lion and monkey fabric, just giraffe. And then it had to be soft and washable and unisex in color and meet my taste standards (but mostly the latter). Nobody is making something like that. I had to take matters into my own hands and decided to applique two giraffes onto a suitable fabric and go from there. Way more work than usual, but what am I going to do? Make an ugly one? Please.
Giraffes, unisex, tasteful, soft. My work here is done.
Noun: An activity involving skill in making things by hand.
Verb: Use skill in making (something): “he crafted the chair”; “a beautifully crafted object”.
I have such a problem with that word. It has such a perfect meaning, but such an awful typical application.
“Crafting” should imply skill and talent and beauty, but instead implies dabbling in cheesy materials, scrap-booking (don’t get me started) and bedazzling.
I have an entire, beautiful, much beloved room devoted to crafting, but I can’t bring myself to call it that. “My craft room”.
-And it’s true, I do make cards and sew and wrap and “craft” in that room, and by no means am I a professional at any of it (Ok, maybe wrapping, but no one’s paying…), but that word still galls me. “I like doing crafts” or “She’s very crafty” sounds like the person enjoys crocheting toilet roll covers and decoupage. And who am I to judge, I guess? I’m certain there are some beautifully crocheted toilet roll covers out there and some fabulous decoupaged items…
I have a friend who objects to being called a “foodie”, even though, technically, I think the word applies. The kind of person who loves cooking and eating and making *everything* from scratch, including cured meats and preserved… whatever. He even writes (along with a friend) a rather lovely food blog, for crying out loud. And yet he objects to the term. I’ve never really asked why, but I’ve assumed that one of the reasons is because it’s been cheapened for him in some way. It also sounds somewhat pejorative and dismissive. -Whether or not I’m right about that, I can relate.
I’d like to be able to “take back” the meaning, to re-appropriate it, but I think it’s too late. Forever tied scrap-bookers.*
Now excuse me, while I go clean my ahem office.
*I can’t even explain what I have against scrap-booking! A mere hop, skip and jump from what I do when I make cards, but a crocodile infested mile away when measured by my personal-taste yard stick. Perhaps I’m just a snob. I can probably live with that.
Poor little neglected blog. There, there. It’ll all be ok soon.
The real reason I haven’t been updating, is that I seem to have given up my life in exchange for throwing some parties. I can’t write when I’m too busy doing other things, and the other things I’m doing are for a couple of events where I’d rather not let the cat out of the bag just yet… But when they’re over, I promise you some pretty things to look at and even some tutorials. Yes! Tutorials! I know you’d been holding your breath…
I’ve also been out of town a couple times in the past month (Roche Harbor and Alaska), got engaged(!), threw our annual summer party for about 100 people and hosted a themed dinner party for another 17.
I have not been slacking.
Today would have been my grandad’s 82nd birthday.
He wasn’t your typical sweet, doting grandpa, in fact he was ex-Royal Navy and wouldn’t let you eat with your elbows on the table. He was born in ‘29 and so was too young to be enlisted during WW2, but he lied about his age and joined as soon as he could. -This was back when tobacco and rum were still part of the daily rations for all seamen, so it probably sounded like a good deal, but the truth was, he couldn’t even swim and was terrified of going overboard.
Nan and Grandad before they married. They must have been about 21.
And while he was mostly a crusty old goat, I did learn some valuable lessons from him, like proper table etiquette and how and why to put things away when you were done with them (no wonder we grew up in chaos. How was this a lesson my grandpa had to teach me?).
And on my last trip home before he died, he also gave me these. His vintage pin-up cards from when he was in the Navy.
They’re not very racy, and they’re grimy from years of use and sloppily printed, but I think they’re beautiful, and I love them.
Even the backs are pretty.
Happy Birthday, Grandad!
I know it’s wrong, but I may be ignoring the blog a teeny bit because I’m screwing around with Pinterest. Pinterest is pretty and it gets me. While the blog is nice and familiar, it takes work. -And sometimes it doesn’t shave its legs. There. I said it.
All these pretty things and more, right here.
Randomly clicking links through one blog and into another, as I am wont to do in the evenings, I came across a post about a line of fabrics and wallpapers designed by Quentin Blake. Be still, my heart! Everyone already knows how much I love these two things, but do they also know how much I love Quentin Blake?!
I learned to read when I was pretty young, and there was no keeping my nose out of books after that. Some of my favorites (in the whole world!) were Roald Dahl books. I used to get a new one or two for every birthday or Christmas. The stories were, of course, awesome, but the Blake illustrations that went along with them brought them to life in a whole different way. There was so much life and movement in those pictures. Hilarious pictures that were so evocative of the hilarious words they went with.
As much as I loved those books, I think my first exposure to Blake was the fantastic Dr. Seuss book Great Day For Up.
Such a great book!
Fabric from the British site Fabrics&Papers
Look at that happy dog! Those lumpy frogs!
Also, did I mention I love tea? These are from another English site McGlaggen-Smith
Gasp! Wrapping paper!! (Although I don’t approve of their tape job…)
All of these super things can be found through Blake’s own website, and damn it, I can’t find a single one outside the British Isles. Maybe I should make a few small requests of my parents…
Every year for Easter I like to do something for the kids I work with. Usually I buy or make them a little something each and put some kind of cute package together with a card. This year, I decided that they have waaay too much stuff as it is, and I won’t be adding to the problem (because it ends up being my problem). Also, their grandma is a compulsive shopper, so… they wouldn’t miss whatever I didn’t give them.
I did make them a card and a cupcake each, though, because this is what I do. And I decided that while I was at it, I’d make some for the other kids in the neighborhood that I’ve worked with. -And maybe their parents, too. One batch makes a lot of cupcakes…
Sydney and Henry’s
The O’Leary family’s
Two little cakes sans coconut. The coconutty ones looked like little nests.
I was going to make some for my other two former charges, but they were still in Hawaii for spring break. Their loss was my mechanic’s gain. What else was I going to do with a truckload of tasty, tasty coconut cupcakes? Oh. Wait…
-And we will love you very much.
So it happened. I laid hands on a vintage Casalino children’s chair. Much sooner than I’d thought and for what could be considered highway robbery (on my part). Or information superhighway robbery, I suppose. Thank you, Internet Gods. I’ll burn some Lolcat effigies in your honor when I’m done here.
How beautiful is that?!
Ok, so it’s not yellow, but when you’re adopting, it doesn’t pay to be picky.
I pulled it out of the ginormous box it came in, spent ten minutes removing the mummifying bubble wrap/packing tape and stood back to admire it.
Hmm. Slightly snotty and malnourished. Wait. I mean scuffed and marred. Whatever, I would love that chair no matter what.
I came home later that evening, inspired by the awesomeness of Daniel Kanter’s vintage chair renovation, and shoved it into the shower for the scrubbing of it’s life. Hot water + Scrubbing Bubbles + non scratching, green scrubbing pad = font of youth. That chair looks like it could play the Baby Jesus in the Christmas pageant. Yep, that good.
I will love it and pet it and call it George.
I have to say, it also makes a beautiful sibling to the vintage Cosco booster I already have.
Me and Cassie was like peas and carrots. Funny lookin’ white carrots.
I kind of feel like I need a third type of small, colorful, plastic/fiberglass, vintage children’s chair to round out my little collection. All of a sudden I feel like Angelina Jolie…