Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A gift for Beverly W.

I mailed this framed embroidery today to Beverly, the talented midwife who delivered my giant baby boy after I labored for 36 hours. Without her expertise and encouragement (as Joe put it she is part drill sergeant and part cheerleader) I would surely have had a C-section. She even told me at one point during the end of the laboring that the OBs were sharpening their knives outside the door so I had better hurry it along. Two weekends ago Beverly's daughter threw a party to celebrate the opening of Beverly's private practice, Fruition Midwifery. Unfortunately we were all sick at the time and could not make it. I wish I could be there to see her when she opens this gift, but I'm happy just knowing she'll receive it. I embroidered the sign using a vintage pattern for the daisies and Joe drew the bumble bee and the lettering for me. I bought a new piece of glass for a lovely antique frame that I am sad to part with, but it's for a good cause.
Now that that's done with I am getting back to work and embroidering several pink cherry onesies to sell on a new site through amazon that will be showcasing "up and coming" designers. It's supposed to launch in a week or two so stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It's a beautiful fall in the neighborhood

The global warming or, "Climate change" as the republicans would like us to call it, is working out pretty nicely this fall in Brooklyn (as long as you don't think about the dying polar bear cups up north). I am seriously adverse to cold weather. I do not understand why this is since I was born and raised right here, but my body practically shuts down when the thermometer dips below 40 degrees. My nose turns red and my fingers and toes freeze and turn purple. Part of this can be attributed to Renaud's syndrome, which unfortunately it appears Harley J. has inherited. Whatever the reason, me and cold do not mix almost as much as me and dark days don't mix. Put the two together (cold and dark) and there is very little chance I would do well in a Scandinavian country which is really too bad since my politics and their politics seem to go hand in hand. I do not mind paying higher taxes for the return of universal health care and scant poverty. There are many other aspects of Scandinavian living that appeal to me (the safety, the landscape, the fish) but sadly I know that I would end up going shithouse crazy like a Shakespearean Dane who just can't take it any longer. Living in Portland OR for five years gave me a taste of how little I can endure dark days. There are few experiences I hate more than waking up and having to turn the lights on, and in good old PDX one has to do this all winter long practically. I wish this were not the case because Portland has so many wonderful things going for it: No sale tax, lovely outdoors, a great bus system, world class thrifting, amazing food, the best live music west of Austin, and of course tons of loons just dying to talk to me on the bus. I would move back there in a heartbeat if it was not for those long dark rainy winter days. All the Prozac in the world would not be able to keep my head out of the oven.

That said, fall in Brooklyn has been unseasonably warm and sunny and I could not be happier.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Getting back to business

Well, Thanksgiving was fun and low-key after a week of my entire family being sick. I was really feeling good and sorry for myself for not having a nanny or even a mother who is retired and could come watch poor snuffly Harlan while I lay around in my joint aching feverish misery. Our pediatrician reported to me that we suffered from a virus that apparently everyone in Fort Greene has right now. I'm seriously getting a flu shot next week. It's difficult enough taking care of myself when ill, but taking care of a sick baby on top of it really just breaks the proverbial camel's back. On to bigger and better topics: Crafting! I made a new design for my business and I love it.
Sacred hearts have always fascinated me, along with a lot of other Catholic imagery. I have two great aunts who are nuns and as a young girl I always wanted to be one too so that I could wear the cool outfits and a big old cross around my neck. For some reason that didn't exactly work out. Regardless, I got the inspiration for this particular design from a painting in my bedroom. It's an antique from Mexico painted on tin.

I also made one of my older designs Banana Cowboy on a blue shirt instead of a while one, and I must say I quite like it.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

About Violette Crumble

I tried typing this jibber jabber in the "About Me" section but it was too much text apparently.

1. Violette Crumble because I love chocolate candies, and Violet Crumble is one of my favorites. Adding an extra 'te' to the end of Violet makes me sound French even though in French the word would be spelled Violet. See's Candy is my favorite American chocolate, so if you live in CA and want to stalk me, please do so by sending boxes of See's.

2. I am a SAHM, and if you know what that is, you may be one too.

3. I am also a WAHM, and if you know what that is you are wasting time online right now instead of working.

4. I have a small business designing and embroidering baby clothes. My website is up and running but in the middle of a major redesign, so please check it out but also check back in a month or so. I am also a special education teacher who is part way through her masters and not working because the salary would cancel out the cost of childcare in NYC.

5. I grew up here in NYC, but also lived in Portland OR for a rockin' rainy, cheap-eatin', bus-riding, Mt. Hood Skiing, college going five or six years. From there I lived in SF for a year, and then down to Austin TX, before coming home to a city that is no longer affordable for the middle class. I will gripe about this affordability issue a lot in this blog, so if you don't want to hear it, you have been warned.

4. I am a direct descendant of Nathaniel Greene, namesake of the neighborhood I live in. I think that this lineage entitles me to a free house on any street in the neighborhood that I choose.

5. I choose one of those houses that looks like it belongs in Lafayette Louisiana, over on Cumberland or Adelphi. Maybe even one of those giant victorians on Clinton Ave (but not one facing those ugly ass co-ops that were built as PJs).

6. If you own one of those homes and can spare to donate it to me, please call me right away. You can have my crummy rental apartment with the leaky windows that the landlord has been promising to fix for the past eight years.
If you can not tell that this photo is of a window that is because the window is being held closed with an umbrella and a French/English dictionary, as well as covered by plastic that has been adhered to the malfunctioning frame by staples and duct tape. The landlord last promised that the windows would be replaced NEXT WEEK. I will keep you posted on this, as it's become a running joke around here. P.S. If anyone can tell me how to post a photo anywhere I want in a post as opposed to at the top of the post, please let me know!

7. I have a lot of crafty projects going on. I will photograph them and post them next week.

8. I consider myself a very good baker, but not as good as Nancy F. who also lives in the hood. She has a real gift. Everything she has baked that I have tried is hands down the best version of whatever recipe she made. This includes red velvet cake, gingerbread cake, lemon poppy scones, ice cream, crazy dips with ingredients from Sahadis, and much more.
Today I made a lovely Italian almond plum tart to bring to our hosts' house for thanskgiving. I wish I had photographed it, it was divine. I plan on doing a serious post about the best baked goods in Brooklyn. You need to know where they are, and I can tell you. I've done the research.

9. I love my life and thank the powers that be for it every day, in between kvetching about the windows leaking and lugging the hefty toddler up the four flights of stairs along with the bags from Pathmark and Do Reams. I constantly seek ways to be as charitable as possible and to help the world by starting locally, but I also won't hesitate to call someone on the street an assface if they yell at me to put a hat on that baby when it's 70 freaking degrees out.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hello, I have a blog.

Bargain-hunting is a great talent of mine, inherited from my mother and Yankee Irish grandmother who to this day buys Christmas presents for the entire family at the local 99 cent store in Boynton Beach Florida. She does not try to pass the gifts off in Sak's boxes as my Jewish grandmother may have done, but instead brags about how little the gifts cost.
I do not necessarily do all my gift shopping at my favorite Fort Greene Brooklyn store Dollar Dreams (otherwise referred to as Do Reams due to the signage on the front of the store whose light bulbs have only illuminated the D-O R-E-A-M and S for the past six years) but I do like to brag each week about the booty I acquire at good old Do Reams. The chicken pillow pictured above is my latest score. I found it while purchasing a brand new giant laundry bag since ours had finally disintegrated and the local Laundromat charges $6 for new bags. Did I mention that everything at Do Reams is $1 or less? I felt a twinge of guilt for not patronizing the wonderful family who run the Laundromat but let's be honest, a family of three living in NYC on a public school teacher's salary does not leave much room for philanthropy.

So, get to the point of this blog
Yes, I have waited until 2006 to jump on the blog bandwagon, despite having been a fan of reading other blogs for almost a decade. Why now? I have no free time to spare, so what better way to overwhelm myself than by creating a new, technologically intricate, and of course very fashionable way to keep track of everything I have to do and to write snarky comments about the neighborhood. Also I am a bonafied freak-magnet, as is my husband, so there are often pretty juicy tales to regale you with, just from a simple walk to the corner store.

Is this going to be some kind of cyber to-do list?
My lists of books I've read and movies I had seen evolved into "to-do" lists around age ten or so. I recall the summer of 1981 when my friend Kim S. came to visit at my parents’ summerhouse as she did almost each summer. We woke up and planned our days with very important lists of what we needed to do. We called it the daily schedule, and from what I can remember the days began by sweatin' to the oldies with Richard Simmons in front of the 13" television in the living room before we headed down to the beach to spend the rest of the day in the ocean. It was obviously very important to us to work out before swimming for eight hours. We slipped our braided cotton sweatbands under our bangs and went to work, determined not to get fat with Richard's help (anyone remember the vanity plate that inspired Richard to diet? If so, post answer below and you may win something from Do Reams). I have no recall of anything else on the list. Perhaps a bike ride into town and buying some ice cream and looking in the record store for a new J. Giels Band or Ramones album.

Don't worry, I won't bore everyone by literally using this blog to keep "to-do" lists, but I will use it primarily as a way to track my creative projects. I also will ramble about the important minutia that makes each day so special.