Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I am a Material Girl

I've got the fever. Fabric shopping fever. Toy shopping fever. Bicycle shopping fever. What do all these fevers have in common? That's right ladies, shopping. What can I say? I have been diligently cleaning out my closets and shelves and trunks of every single thing I do not love or use. I sell this stuff on ebay and if no one wants to give me money for it I donate it to someone who wants it. In return I am quickly spending my cash on new better stuff, stuff that can possibly earn me money (like fabric which will be turned into crafts for sale if I don't use it all to make stuff for my own family's use).

So why the sudden fevers? Well, for one thing, Kitty Craft has suddenly reopened, and Superbuzzy has restocked with awesome awesome Japanese fabrics and notions. The main stuff I wanted from Kitty sold out before I knew of their grand re-opening. I have been searching for the fairy tale fabric high and low for months, and apparently so have all the other sewing junkies because it disappeared really quickly. I was also dying to buy this Japanese craft bookbut I can not justify the cost of it right now. That said, I didn't pick up anything at Kitty Craft, but Superbuzzy just got a bunch of money from me for items that include this squirrel fabric:

And this pear fabric:
And this pear tree fabric:
And this robot fabric:
I am going to make Harlan a robot jon-jon (overall shorts) for this summer. I also stumbled upon some Amy Butler fabric on sale here which I snatched up a bunch of to make some spring outfits for myself with.
The toy shopping fever extended to purchasing this Plantoys kitchen for Harlan along with some Melissa and Doug food to go with it. These are the kinds of toys he loves every time we are at the local playgroup at the S. Oxford St. church. I decided it would be a good investment since he will use it for a few years to come.
The bicycle shopping fever developed when I came across this fantastic vintage Dutch bike with a baby seat on the back The man selling it is going to bring it by so I can try it out along with a few other three speeds that I have my eye on. He repairs them all himself and I can't handle my old junker anymore, plus I need something more stable to put Harlan on this spring as we ride around Prospect Park on the weekends. I love that scenic loop without any automobile traffic and I'm sure Harlan will love it too. Pray that the bike fits me!
By the way, I should mention that our windows got replaced this past Saturday. After eight and a half years in this apartment I am warm. It turns out the old windows were literally balancing in the building sockets. No wooden frames were built, no insulation was installed. What a surprise.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The elephant in the room

I'm full of good news this Sunday. The jerk whom I sold the boots to on ebay dropped his claim against me, although my negative feedback stands. I suppose I should just be happy that I don't have to deal with a refund and reselling the boots, but the whole thing just left a sour taste in my mouth. I don't know why but I am consistently disappointed when people act immorally. I celebrated the good news yesterday by making some peanut butter chocolate chip cookies:



These sure hit the spot. What's better than a homemade one of these? Not much, except perhaps a completed WIP:



How cute did he turn out? Pretty cute, although I will admit that it was tricky to sew the underside to the main portion of the body and it came out a bit wonky, especially around the trunk. I am going to try another because I think it's such a great animal that I plan on selling a few once I have the seams all straightened out. The giant houndstooth corduroy comes from good old reprodepot and the the felt on the back of his ears is from Brooklyn General over in Carroll Gardens. I loooooove this store so much, not only because it is owned and run by one of my wonderful midwives, but because they carry all the lines of fabric I love the most (Denyse Schmidt, Heather Bailey, etc.) and they also have deadstock vintage fabric and tons of other crafty goodies. They have a fantastic yarn selection too. I could pretty much just move in and be happy. In fact if I did, I could even give birth there pretty confidently (not that I plan on a repeat of that experience any time soon).
In apartment news, my landlord's wife and son moved out of the ground floor apartment a couple of weeks ago and now there is absolutely no way Con Ed or Keyspan will ever get a chance to read our meters. To add insult to injury there is no one taking out the garbage or changing the lightbulbs in the hallway. I attempted to take care of the garbage by buying some giant thick hefty bags and went to put them in the trash cans, but the cans are so full of decomposing food and sneakers and circulars that the smell almost knocked me out. I quickly tossed a bag on top of the compost and figured that the other two tenants and myself could just place our garbage in the remaining area and then we could drag the giant bags to the curb on garbage night. Problem solved right? The only problem with this scenario is that several bags of garbage piled in one large bag is pretty fucking heavy. I wasn't able to life it at all. To add salt to the wound of insult that already was added to injury the landlord rang our doorbell one night last week at 10:30 PM to get our phone number. This is a habit of his. He has rang my doorbell at inappropriate hours to get my phone number at least four times in the past eight years, so I was not surprised. In fact once when I didn't answer he LET HIMSELF IN and knocked on my bedroom door! Gross! Anyhow, this time around Joe went out to deal with him and told him about the garbage and the meters to which Landlord replied with a typical grunt (I swear he is a Neanderthal that could make serious bank up at the museum of natural history). Joe also told him that I paid his $987 Con Ed bill so that they would not turn off service in our halls or the empty apartment with the boiler that supplies our heat and hot water. To this he replied, "No, I think I paid that already." Oh, my mistake! I guess Con Ed sent me a letter telling me I had a legal right to pay the bill and deduct it from my rent just to mess with the landlord. And now for the piece de resistance: The windows. Mr. Landlord was also at our door to inform us that the infamous windows would be replaced on Saturday. The coldest day all winter. We told him absolutely not, so instead he is coming next Saturday. Don't even get me started. Well, I like to end these posts on a pleasant note, so here is shot of my sweet Bub in his tub.


Monday, January 15, 2007

The happy mondays

Well, I could say I have a case of the happy mondays, but it's a dreary cold one and Joe is ill on his day off. This past weekend was fun all around although I certainly did not get any work or crafting accomplished. Saturday turned out to be one of those days for me- it actually began on Friday (the "one of those days" theme that is) when I had my first bad ebayer experience. This guy I sold some vintage boots to wrote me an accusatory e-mail after having received them, claiming they were "all torn up". I asked him to send me a photo because this was news to me. Instead of replying he went straight to Paypal and had a freeze put on the amount of money he paid me and reported that I sent him an item that was inaccurately described. I replied via Paypal saying that the boots were as photographed on the auction. He put a claim on the money and has 30 days to get a letter from a vintage clothing dealer asserting that the boots are beyond reasonable wear for being 50 odd years old. If he can get such a letter he can get a refund. While I would only be out under $30 for shipping and ebay fees, it's the principle that gets me. Not only do I now have my first bad feedback out of over 100, but I just don't understand why this dude would want to go through so much trouble rather than just send me a picture of the so-called "all torn up" boots. I suppose it's because they are not torn up at all and he just doesn't like them for whatever reason. It's beyond my control nonetheless, so I don't let it get to me.
So, that was Friday night. Saturday was rainy and we took Harlan out for a walk hoping to get our heads cleared up. Instead we had to witness a bum's bum. We stood at the intersection of Flatbush and 3rd, at that bummish triangle in front of the pawn shops. You know the one, it's where all the winos congregate and the traffic cops hang out. Anyhow, we waited to cross and suddenly I looked over and saw a guy with his pants and underpants (if he had any) all the way down, getting into the squat position. I turned quickly away and shouted, "Don't look!" to Joe, who of course looked. Luckily the light changed and we were able to scurry across Flatbush without too much emotional damage being incurred. Good old New York. Everything went uphill after that and we had a lovely dinner out at Lulu's over on DeKalb after peeping into the window of the new Bonita Mexican place. It was packed and we decided to try it another time. I had a wonderful boullabaise (sp?) and a glass of well deserved red wine. No cigarette, but apparently even the French are giving it up. Sunday was spent baking wonderful blueberry muffins and making a frittata for friends who came over. Today Harlan is napping and I wasted the whole time adding bookmarks to my new stylehive feed. Check out the new banner on the sidebar to see all the things on the internet that I want to buy when I win Lotto. It's pretty addictive so watch out.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Free things come to those who give things for free.



It's all about karma. Today someone came and picked up our imac after I posted it on brooklynfreecycle.org. I threw in some fun games like Tombraider and Star Wars. On Sat. I dropped a big bag off at Salvation Army containing many unused things which I just don't want. Last week we gave away our working but outdated printer on Freecycle. What did I get in return? Well let me tell you. While reading a bunch of great new (to me) crafty blogs this evening I stumbled across a link to Puchi Collective, a site dedicated to patterns for Blythe and similar dolls, as well as some fabulous Japanese looking stuffed critters that seem pretty easy to whip up by hand. I am fur-eak-ing out (pun intended). I downloaded some free patterns and now my To Do list is ten miles long. My poor Blythe will have a whole new look by this spring. Or at least some animals. What, did you think I was sewing stuffed animals for Harlan? He only things that make noise when you throw them. Hopefully one day he will appreciate his homemade menagerie, but for now they're all for me.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Eatin' + makin' is what I crave

Born on a mountain Raised in a cave Bikin' and F'in is all I crave.

Huh? Why would I have typed such vulgar nonsense you ask? Well, it's because
when I was about ten my father bought a motorcycle and our neighbor whom we kept running into would say to my father, "I got the best present for you, you're going to love it!" When he finally brought the gift by it turned out to be a refrigerator magnet with that very poetic life-vision emblazoned on it. My father was appaled. I found it hilarious. What this episode has to do with my blog is simple: Eatin' and makin' is all I crave these days. Okay, I realize how that might sound to anyone as scatalogically inclined as I am, but I meant making stuff . Today I had my very first Jessica Day where Joe took Harlan out for an adventure and I got the chance to do whatever I please. This day will now occur once a month. This is my new year's resolution, along with monthly Joe Day and monthly Joe and Jessica Date night. Anyhow, I had originally made plans to go into Manhattan and hang out with a friend of mine, but I was not able to get in touch with her. Instead I relaxed and read my brand new premiere issue of Cook's Country- the new country-cousin version of the high-brow Cook's Illustrated.


Now don't get me wrong, I am still a big fan of Cook's Illustrated, the magazine where the editors have their very own test kitchen, where they try every method thinkable for different recipes and tell their readers what worked and what didn't. The end result is always a perfect description of how to cook/bake just about anything. I am also recently addicted to their T.V. show America's Test Kitchen. Without this cooking team I would be making dry chicken and gluey lemon squares amongst other atrocities. The Cook's Country quickly stole my heart with its wonderful late-fifties font and design. Even the recipes reminded me a bit of a lot of foods my grandmother loved to make, dishes like apricot Jello with clementimes in it (although my grandmother would probably omit the fresh clementimes). Check out this recipe for the Monte Cristo. Everyone in France eats them, why not me?


After deciding to try their chicken marsala recipe this week I got to working on my new Dreamweaver 8 tutorial. I have to say I am feeling a bit like a computer geek for loving this new web design program so much. I never thought I would love anything remotely related to programming, but learning about how to set CSS style sheets makes my heart soar. I can't wait to completely redesign my website. Bun Bun Babythreads is seriously a "D.I.Y" venture from top to bottom. When I was finished working I decided to look into my WIP drawer and get a crackin'. I started to embroider a pirate/sea theme quilt for Harlan when I was pregnant. At the rate I'm going I realize that the quilt will be a twin size instead of a crib size, but this is probably better since he will get more use out of it this way. Here are the squares I have so far. The designs are from Sublime Stitching and some vintage patterns that I have on hand.


I'm going to use some type of nautical fabric for every other square and for a border. I saw one I like over at superbuzzy, and some at Atelier Jade , but I can't commit quite yet.
After deciding on a few more designs I want to embroider I put the squares back in the drawer and pulled out this vintage stuffed animal pattern I've had laying around for a while:


I decided on making one of the small elephants. I got out some great stretch cord houndstooth fabric from reprodepot and decided to make this the primary fabric. I'm going to put some mustard wool felt on the back of his ears and use it for his tail. I am out of stuffing though, so a trip to Canal St. is a must this week. I wish there was a damn craft supply store in NYC. Where on earth do people go to get things like pellets and animal eyes around here? I have to get mine out in Riverhead when visiting my mother in Long Island. Oh well, enough complaining. How can I gripe when it was such a great day?
P.S. Did anyone on my block catch the pile of dogcrap with the G.W.B. flag stuck on top of it with a toothpick? Pretty rad.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Morning over Fort Greene