Saturday, February 26, 2011

one for you and one for me

Sometimes you knit something twice just because....

When I saw a certain someone * you know who you are* wearing a honey cowl in Madelinetosh recently it wasn't long before I cast on one for myself. The yarn was waiting for me at home after all and I had just enough for a medium sized one. I believe we are twins now because I think hers is the same color.

And, my boy got one too in his favorite color in cashmere because I had some yellow cashmere. I had enough to make his small which is a good size for him.

I've named mine rubies and his honey bee.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

little betty blue

Liberty of London Betsy print combined with hand knit cashmere lace border. A simple sundress with exquisite materials.
I bought the fabric almost 3 years ago with a gift certificate I received for my birthday knowing it would work it's way into a dress for my daughter. I have some pieces leftover for small projects. I am thinking patchwork and braided jewelry.

It's still very much winter here but the way the sun is shining in the windows seems different and you can tell that Spring is coming and soon not so far off in the future there will be a little girl running around in this dress which she thinks is beautiful.

Do you know the children's rhyme:

Little Betty Blue

Little Betty Blue,
Lost her holiday shoe.
What will poor Betty do?
Why, give her another,
To match the other,
And then she will walk in two.

-The knit portion is from Veyla by Ysolda which I showed a few weeks ago.
-Posing for Mommy lately seems to take a tiny bit of convincing with one magic word: lollipop

Monday, February 21, 2011

buttons, a tea brunch and the jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels

The jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels. Images from Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.

On Saturday morning I took the train into New York to meet up with my friend Carolyn to see the exhibit, Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels and a day of galavanting around in style. Our first stop was Tender Buttons.

I stepped in alone as I was the first to arrive. The walls stacked with boxes in neat rows, exquisite buttons in frames hanging on the wall. I immediately knew I was in over my head in the best possible way. I wondered how many could I bring home with me, where to look first. I had come with an idea of a wooden dutch hand painted button but, that was not there. No worries, I will find that another time because surrounding me where beautiful collections of glass, rhinestone, vegetable ivory, asian, wood, enamel and metal and buttons for children. I didn't have projects that I needed buttons for but, as a woman who will build an outfit around tights I knew I could build a knit or sewn piece around a button.

The first set I chose I actually forgot to purchase and it was a wooden city and country mouse. I do hope my little mouse will still be there next time I pay a visit. My children are very fond of mice. I wanted to buy some brown vegetable ivory buttons for myself but held back on those for some more spontaneous choices that are both beautiful and whimsical.

Here are some of the buttons I chose:

Those cats! That blue!

We had originally planned on going for tacos but, Carolyn informed me we that we were very close to Alice's Teacup. I did not hesitate on this idea as the idea for a tea brunch sounded fun and it was. Again, I had not been here before and I most certainly must have a date with my daughter one day here as the girls get sprinkled with fairy dust and are given wings to wear while they eat. Dolls and playing cards were inside our glass top table.

We shared a Mad Hatter's Tea for two. Our brunch included and we selected
*three scones- buttermilk, lemon blueberry and pumpkin
*two sandwiches- cucumber and watercress, carrot and goat cheese
*two pots of tea- chocolate mint and a rooibos blend which was chocolate caramel with a bit of spice
* 5 cookies and a chocolate mousse

Quite decadent and delicious. A big sugar rush for sure though dessert was bagged up for us after only a few nibbles. We lingered and sipped a lot of tea. We were surprised that we even were able to start working on the second pot.

Our next stop was the Cooper Hewitt for the Van Cleef & Arpels exhibit. The wind was so strong on Saturday. I had to 'hold my hat.' We came accross a yarn and needlepoint store called Annie and Co. Needlepoint that I had not heard of but, was quite impressed by. There was a nice selection of Noro yarn but what most surprised and delighted me was the amazing selection of Madelinetosh. I had never seen a selection this big in person and the colors are so pretty and they had what seemed to be all of them but, maybe not. I had to summon all my willpower to not purchase anything as I had already splurged on buttons. The yarn has been lingering in my thoughts.

We then went to the jewelry exhibit. I don't know what words can convey my feelings about this show other than this jewelry is truly art and it produced giddy bubbly childlike feelings within me. It was a stunning exhibit and artfully curated.
My favorite pieces were the Art Deco ones and anything with rubies and/or diamonds. Carolyn suggested that the rubies look like candy. It's true they do. Are those emeralds really real we wondered? I also loved examining the drawings behind the pieces. All of the standard jewelry items; earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, pendants, watches are here however, also you will find cigarette lighters, clutches, compacts, a tiara, a nécessaire and more.

Words from Cooper Hewitt's website about the exhibit:

Van Cleef & Arpels was founded in Paris in 1896 by brothers-in-law Alfred van Cleef and Salomon Arpels with the latter’s wife, Estelle van Cleef Arpels. Both families had long been in the diamond and colored-stone markets in the Netherlands and Belgium. Almost immediately after the new company moved into the place Vendôme in 1906, an international clientele flocked through its doors, drawn by VC&A’s creative design, avant-garde forms, and high-quality stones and settings. The recipe for making an exquisite piece of jewelry is akin to haute cuisine: masters employ special techniques to mix and adorn top-quality ingredients, creating something that is far greater than the sum of its parts. This approach permeates the essence of Van Cleef & Arpels’ jewelry.

Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels, the most comprehensive exhibition ever organized of Van Cleef & Arpels’ masterworks, is divided into six themes which resonate through the history of the firm: Innovation, both stylistic and technical; Transformations; Nature as Inspiration; Exoticism; Fashion; and Personalities. This unprecedented assembly of 350 pieces from VC&A’s collection and international private collections, augmented by never-before-seen drawings from VC&A’s design archives and by related objects from Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum’s permanent collection, illustrates the firm’s celebrated history and places its contributions to design in a broader context.

Standout pieces for me included all the art deco jewelry which predated the term, the peony mystery brooch, all of the mystery set pieces, a bracelet worn by Marlene Dietrich in Stage Fright (which she apparently hid behind a cupboard after wearing it for the movie and it wasfound after her death), convertible jewelry that comes apart or can be put together to form separate pieces and the entire nature section.

It was a perfect day trip and always wonderful to see you Carolyn.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

someone else got a sweater

A fairy tale cape for Kit.
The pattern is called Kit's Christmas cape but we are calling it Red Riding Hood because we are not only heavy into Babar these days but very big into fairytales with Red Riding Hood being the favorite. I am so blessed that my Mom saved the Red Riding Hood costume my Nana made when I was a little one because we now know what we are going for Halloween this year with her brother as the Big Bad Wolf.

Monday, February 14, 2011

playful stripes cardigan

Happy Valentine's Day to you!

SEW has a new cardigan. Oh, you didn't know my daughters initials were SEW did you? Ha. Well actually the blog came first but, it is sort of funny.

This is the playful stripes cardigan by Never Not Knitting and it's just the sweetest little button down cardigan. I love the details in this pattern- the picot edge at the hem and cuffs and the way the stripes are worked so they are stranded. Like ribbon candy. Or, a rainbow.

I think she likes it too.

I was initially a bit worried because I bought Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK back in November by accident for this pattern instead of the Baby Cashmerino but I swatched and went down a needle size and just used a US 3 throughout and it worked out fine. It has a nice soft hand and a bouncy feel to it.

So, how many chocolates have you eaten already? You can tell me....I'm not going to tell anyone.
I've had 6 caramel hearts.

Friday, February 11, 2011

birthday purse

Another handmade birthday gift was a purse. I've made this before for S but, I originally had bought 2 sets of handles so I thought it would be fun to make another one for her. I went with the larger size this time. The sweet cheater hexagon fabric has been held onto for a couple of years. It says 'Happy Birthday to you'... 'Hello'... 'My heart'..'Hi'. It got paired with the polka dot and has a little pocket inside.
She will carry her valentines to school with this on Monday.
For now she has just been slinging it over her shoulder while practicing riding her scooter all over the first floor of the house. She has gotten quite good in a few days.

The instructions for this are over on the Purl Bee- Molly's Little Purses. It would make a sweet valentine's day gift for any little girl.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

calico critter house

This little house was made shortly after Christmas for Scarlet's birthday.

My parents gave S the calico critters bunny doll family for Christmas and she immediately loved them. They are tiny and easy to carry and animals really appeal to my daughter.
I was reminded by a contact on flickr (who also made a similar house) of this tutorial and thought I'd give it a try. I didn't know how much fun it would be making it but, I really enjoyed every step and it wasn't too hard at all.

I used a pale feather grey linen for the outside and a tiny rosebud floral and polka dot on the inside. The windows are made of cotton and wool felt and the door is wool felt. Those details were appliqued on at the end. The little fabric accessories just lie on top and can be moved around. There is a green lawn, a flower patch, a pond and bridge, a floral circle 'rug' for circle time, indoor windows and a lesson board (the alphabet). Tiny buttons and hair elastics hold it closed and with the handle it is easy to tote around or bring on a car trip.

I had to add a little typewritten label to the back.
For her birthday she also received the caramel cats family, two babies, a see-saw and swing from Aunt Jane and family.

Monday, February 7, 2011

happy birthday scarlet

Yesterday, you turned three. You wore your kitty cat birthday dress I made you last summer. You had been asking to wear it for days and finally the day arrived. You have been practicing holding up three fingers with your other hand holding down the pinky so it doesn't pop up for weeks.

A kitty cat birthday with your two requested cakes: chocolate cake with pink frosting (and raspberries) and a Hello Kitty cake.

Unicorns, dollies, dresses, merry go rounds, cats, stickers and masks, charm bracelet and necklaces, a jewelry box with a dancing ballerina, a bunny/cat house, a new purse, your first ballet class on Friday, singing in the tub with your Mama like a mermaid on Saturday, a party at school with cupcakes and a crown made by your teacher, books and blankets, stamps for stamping, silver shoes, a doctor kit for taking care of everybody and tutus to twirl.

A very happy birthday indeed!

I love you sweet girl!

Friday, February 4, 2011

dresden plate quilt

This beautiful handmade vintage dresden plate quilt came into my life last year. I bought it because I love quilts especially from this era (1930's) and the fabrics that are used in them. I also bought it for research purposes because I have a collection of dresden plates that I would like to someday turn into a quilt though I have quite a few ahead of them that have been started and should really be finished first. I wrote about them here and made a pillow with one here. You see I am very good at starting quilts but keeping the momentum is hard for me. I am writing this in hopes that this will encourage me to push forward.

This quilt is in excellent condition and it so pretty and cheerful.

All images La Brocanterie

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

a fresh coat of white

An ice storm last night. We woke up to the world looking a bit like the book I read Ms. S last night, The Story of the Snow Children.

A newly painted kitchen table and chairs. It was long overdue as I never really loved it before in red when we painted it a few years ago..
A polka dot oilcloth covers it almost always as it's used for crafts and meals all day long.

-I started reading The Little Prince to Matty today. There has been much discussion about The Baobabs.

-Getting ready for a kitty cat birthday party this Sunday. Ms. S is turning 3!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


A shawl to wrap and twist or wear loose and draped.
Knit with madelinetosh in a deep shade of scarlet.
A little valentine for me.
Row upon row of garter followed by a bird's eye lace and then the edging -pretty points.
A gorgeous pattern called Aeslight Shawl

So delicate and light.