Sunday, March 23, 2008

Doin' my Homework

Between South by Southwest, old friends and family in town, and the bathroom renovations, it's a miracle I have accomplished anything above and beyond keeping my hair clean and my kitchen clean. I eek in time when I can these days, and my Superbuzzy stash is finally going to good use.
We bought this rocker at Ikea when we first moved to Austin. When we got home, there were no cushions included. I am not sure if we got ripped off or not, but I ended up buying some foam at a local upholstery store, and making my own covers for Harlan's very own rocking and reading chair. I used a cotton/linen blend on the back of the chair, and the sides of the bottom. I also used a green Kona cotton, some of the Joel Dewberry faux bois print, and the Superbuzzy trees. My brand new Janome machine came in super handy and I decided to trip out my pillow with this stitch along the borders of the fabrics:
Fancy, don't you think?
I also finally got around to buying a new foam seat for my mid-century love seat, and I covered it with some velvet Crypton fabric, and of course added some pillows made with Japanese fabric from Superbuzzy.

The blue leather ottoman is from John Derian in NY. It's one of my favorite stores of all time. In fact, I would be perfectly happy if Anthropolgie would move in next door, and City Bakery would move in on the other side. They could knock down all the walls, and I would move in and only let in my friends, people who promised to take in and care for stray animals, orphans from Africa and any eastern block country. O.K. you can also come into my store-house if you give me personal Pilates lessons each day with your expensive Pilates machine.

Those pillows on the sofa are also from my Superbuzzy stash, and I must admit that I sewed them a couple of months ago but forgot to post them. Here are details of all the pillows.

Here is a sneak peak of bathroom number one which is just about finished. The tiles are by Cocktail and the color is Mojito. They are made from recycled glass and they are super light and remind me of the ocean. I'm going to make both bathrooms pretty much the same, and my theme (yes, I'm giving my bathrooms a theme) is of course, the sea (or if you want it make it sound really fancy, let's call it la mer).

I've been slowly making more items for Rose & Duke, including more of the tree applique with painted deer shirts, onesies, and pants. I will be adding them to the shop tonight or tomorrow. I decided to stop hand painting the deer and go with using freezer stenciling them for now, since it's a little more crisp looking and leaves less room for error. A few of the hand-painted ones were not what I was hoping for and so I'll be adding them to a new SALE section of the site. I've also started sewing together the long-awaited waterproof play mats. These are great looking quilts with PUL waterproof backs. The PUL is the same fabric used in some cloth diaper covers to prevent liquid from getting to the other side of the cloth. The idea of the waterproof play mats is that they can be used with young babies whose diapers often leak (and who often puke all over the place unexpectedly). This way, mothers can protect their floors, beds, couches, and those of people whom they visit with baby in tow. The play mats are also perfect to bring to a park where grass may be wet from morning dew or rain. I hope these are a hit. Here is the first one I've put together:
As you can imagine it will be a challenge to photograph these since they are quite large. I'm probably going to make them in a large size and a small size, so that customers can have options.

As many of you know, I love to bake, and each week I make a batch of muffins, scones, or something else both tasty and full of fiber for us to grab in the morning and eat as we scurry out the door. I realized that if I at least post the breakfast of the week each week, along with accompanying recipe, that I'll be forcing myself to check in here four times a month. I think this is a must as I tend to get distracted easily and forget to post on a regular basis. This week's breakfast is a mixed-berry lemon muffin.
The special ingredient is a Meyer lemon which have been in the supermarkets around town this week. For those who have never had one before, those suckers are super sweet and delicious. I also made a big batch of vinaigrette with a few of them for salads.

Mixed Berry Meyer-Lemon Muffins:
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
Mix in mixer for about five minutes until light and fluffy. Add a swig of vanilla, and then slowly add four eggs, one at a time, being sure to mix well after each addition. Meanwhile, have four cups of well-mixed grains. I vary what I use here, and this week I used 1 cup of white flour, 1 cup of oat bran, almost 2 cups of stone ground whole wheat flour, and a dollop of ground flax seeds and wheat germ. Total grains should be 4 cups. Add to this 1/2 tsp. salt and 4 tsp. baking powder. Mix well. Grate the skin of an organic lemon (non-organic lemon skins are supposedly pretty chemical-laden) and add this to the grains. Have a cup of buttermilk set aside, and squeeze half a lemon into it. With the mixer on, alternate pouring in some flour with some buttermilk, ending with buttermilk. Add three cups of mixed frozen (or any kind of) berries. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.
Last but not least, I'm excited to have joined Ravelry, the knit and crochet community. I first heard about over at Futuregirl's blog, and boy am I psyched to get back into my projects. If any of you are on Ravelry, please look me up (VioletteCrumble) and make me your friend! You know I love this web-community jazz.

Also, I need your opinion on something. Should I cover the rest of my mid-century sofa in the same pumpkin fabric that I just made a new seat in. I love the funky pattern of the original fabric, but I'm not sure if it's just too many crazy things going on at once. I am slowly learning how make my surroundings a bit more minimal looking. What say thee? Yea or nay?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Second post in two days!

I forgot to do self-promotion last night.

This past week, Rose & Duke was featured on the blog Cuteable:

I was also asked to participate in Funky Finds' March Giveaway of handmade baby items. One lucky winner will receive a Rose & Duke gift certificate for any shirt or onesise.

Be sure and enter the contest :)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Picopter Pants and other tales

Now that life is falling into place a bit, I am returning to doing things that I enjoy, such as working on projects planned for before we moved to Austin.

Case in point: I bought some helicopter fabric from Superbuzzy (do I even need to link it anymore?) back in August to make curtains for Harlan's room. It turns out that the blinds in there don't offend me as much as I originally thought they would, and the kid is totally, completely, obsessed with what he calls "piecopters". There are quite a bit of piecopters flying around Austin for some reason. We have even seen two of them make landings on near by hospital roofs (there are about a trillion hospitals here for some reason. They all have special purposes too, like the heart hospital, the children's hospital, the eye hospital, the trauma hospital, the big toe hospital, and the eyebrow hospital). I broke out the fabric and made Bub some pants that he refuses to take off:

I also recently bought him some frog rain boots at Target which he is quite fond of wearing:
This is the outfit he picked out today to wear to Ikea. We went there to pick out new bathroom supplies because we are finally getting the bathrooms renovated, hooray! I will post before and after photos when the work is finished. The bathrooms are way too gross now to simply post before photos. Seriously. If you thought our balcony looked like Sanford and Son's, you don't even want to know what's in the loos.

Harlan's latest obsession besides piecopters are pillow houses. We discovered pillow houses last week over at chez Ellen & Brennan. Their sons pull all the pillows from the house together and dump them across the living room floor. They then proceed to throw themselves on top of the pillows and one another. For, like, hours. It seems to never get old. They like to be buried in piles of pillows and pretend to be chickens coming out of the eggs too. That's good times. Here they all are at Harlan's first pillow house:

And here is Harlan at home with his own pillow house. Please note the pillow I made from Superbuzzy fabric!
Doesn't he look just like a newborn chick?

Here are the guys at a trip to the zoo last week:
And here is a lousy shot of an amazing band called the Quebe Sisters. You can listen on that link.
They are a family with three sisters who all won Texas fiddle contests (one is the national champ as well) and they sing the loveliest harmonies I have heard in years. Plus, you really can't beat triple fiddle.
If you're wondering how we got to see a band play, just notice the playscape (that's 2008 speak for "jungle gym") structure behind the tent. The local fancy supermarket has a restaurant and a huge deck and playground (with a heart hospital right on the other side! And the hospital that Ladybird Johnson died in, one block away) attached to it. On the weekends they have bands play for free outdoors so that suckers like us with kids can pretend we still have social lives. I don't want to make all of you who are freezing feel jealous, but it does feel pretty awesome to spend a winter evening sitting outdoors in a light dress and watch the sun set while drinking a margarita and listening to a kick-ass live band play. Did I mention the playscape behind the tent where Harlan is happy to run amok for two hours?

And now, I am introducing my new blog collection of local bumper stickers. Here are the best of the past week.

Irony and humor:

Scaring you away from hell with the threat of an angry and wrathful God:

That's right sistah:

Whatever it takes to keep you away from the devil: