Saturday, October 30, 2010

Downtime

Marty here. Our network server for both Brabarella and Little Pink Dress based in Los Angeles is experiencing significant outages as they are upgrading their system (ironically enough so that there will be fewer outages). Both of our sites are down at the moment, as is our email server. If you're looking to shop and can't get on either site, please check back. It should (better) be very temporary.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Weekend Market



Working in a flower shop as I do now, I have started revisiting the floral play of my childhood, namely when I’d make clover and buttercup chains to wear as crowns or necklaces. I love herbs, wildflowers (some consider weeds) and simple old-fashioned flowers. There’s a particular artist whose work I truly admire and her work inspires me to try playing with the petals again. She is Jaime Giorgi of the Monkey Flower Group, recently returned to Napa from the Green Mountains of Vermont.  She creates designs meant to hold, wear or share. I particularly like her floral fashions -- wristlets, earrings, crowns and even masks! Jaime’s work is brilliant because besides using locally grown materials, she doesn’t limit her work to the usual petals, but uses a fantastic array of leaves, berries, acorns and other botanicals. She is also generous sharing her talent by offering tutorials on Design Sponge!

(More ideas here, too, from a talented little girl appropriately named Ivy!)

**photos from Monkey Flower Group website

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Few Eggs and No Oranges

In between library books (when I’m stuck for what I want to read next), I read Vere Hodgson’s WWII Diaries entitled Few Eggs and No Oranges, published by Persephone Books.

Persephone Books resurrects out-of-print titles from our not too distant past, the 20th century and sometimes obscure writers who turn out to be surprise hits (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day) for today’s world. The name Persephone itself is clever and literary as Persephone is the goddess and queen of Hades underworld. She returns to the earth every spring with new beginnings. The company is my fantasy career involving books, genteel domesticity, new found appreciation for a slower pace and the domestic arts -- cooking, gardening, budgeting and so on. The end papers are beautiful images of surface design representative of the book title’s era.

Few Eggs is great for me because I can pick up the story where I left off -- it’s simply the day to day of one woman’s life in London during the Blitz. There is something comforting in the not so ordinary yet ordinary everyday-ness of it. Comforting in knowing that even if I am not working my dream job, the ordinary everyday can still have adventure in it.  In the meantime I sell classic lingerie whose design hasn't changed much since the times of a Persephone Books' character. And this makes me smile.

**Images from Persephone Books

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesdays in the Kitchen

For my mother’s 72nd birthday, I made her the yummiest lemon cake. It’s funny -- the day before I had been browsing paints and canvasses at a local art store, and I resisted them as I am on this kick to use what I have without buying more supplies (easier said than done). It seems that as soon as I give things away, I’m out looking for more. Later though, as I browsed an assortment of whole grain flours in another shop, I realized that while I love playing with paper and pen, my real passion is baking, fresh and interesting ingredients are my supplies. I like the simplest tools and recipes to assist and guide me.

So back to this lemon cake. I used Alice Waters’ recipe for 1-2-3-4 cake found in her book, The Art of Simple Food.  You can also find it here. Rather than homemade lemon curd and butter cream, I bought a jar of Trader Joe’s lemon curd (less than $3./jar and very good -- made in England), whipped some heavy cream, folded the two together, split the cake layers, and slathered lemony cream between and over the layers. It was simple and delish!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

GwenBeads Etsy Shop

By now, I expect just about everyone knows about Etsy, a site for handmade and DIY goods. I have several favorite sellers on Etsy, some I’m experienced with, some I’m not, but I admire their work. Gwenbeads Etsy Shop is one of them. While I’ve never bought from her, I love her ruffled bloomers and can imagine them for a low-key Halloween or Mardi Gras costume. With a Rago or Grenier waist cincher, an Arianne top, some thigh highs or knee-highs, a mask, a headscarf, boots, bangles and dangles, I think they’d make for quite a fetching pirate wench, don’t you?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mad Men

We are now done with the fourth season of Mad Men. Seasons seem to get shorter with network shows and I’ve heard a rumor that its fifth season will be its last. That being said, it’s high time to think about Halloween.
We’ve had at least one order from a Mad Men fan who will be Joanie this Halloween.

Marty’s haircut reminds me of Don Draper (any Don Draper Halloween characters out there?), and this season I’m having a hard time liking any particular character.

Don’s daughter, Sally? I can’t stand Betty. I do like Peggy. In seasons past, I’ve developed an admiration shall we say for different characters, but this season, there are none I feel strongly about. I don’t know if it’s because this season so far has been weaker than the previous three, all of which were rich with character development, or if it’s simply because like many good series, the writing and story development idles/plateaus at about the fourth season. Some series take a dive their second or third season (like Ally McBeal). I wouldn’t call Mad Men’s fourth season a dive, maybe a dip as it levels and coasts with which way the story goes, e.g., will Don/Dick’s house of cards finally crumble? At any rate, who will you be during this year’s season of the witch? Betty? (Or Roger’s wife, Jane?).



** New York Magazine image via Huffington Post

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Wee Packet Takes Us Around the World



One of the restaurants we tried this past summer was The Wee Packet  in Dennisport. We tend to go on the early side so it was quiet the Saturday afternoon we went and we sat out on the enclosed porch with the vintage glass awning windows. The food was tasty -- we had the Fisherman’s platter (the cornbread it comes with was just a hint of sweet with a light crumb, very good!) -- it was fresh, piping hot, made with fresh grease and a crispy batter.

It’s a restaurant that harks to the bygone era of Patti Page’s Olde Cape Cod and we enjoyed the food as much as we did meeting our waiter.

Hayri Erleblebici, a Turkish student, over for the summer, was inspired to talk about photography with Marty when he saw our camera.  In the summertime we meet people from all over the world, either here on work visas, or just pleasure traveling. We are lucky that the world will still come to us as sometimes we end up stuck on this side of the bridge far too long.  I googled Hayri and found him on face book. He was a delightful representative of his nation, and Turkey is another country I find fascinating. The European countries that interest me are not necessarily the most popular ones to travel to, and that, perhaps is why I find them fascinating.

**A packet was a small sailing ship that delivered the mail between countries a couple hundred or so years ago. Funny how  a couple from the USA ends up chatting with a young man from Turkey in a restaurant named the Wee Packet.
 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Handmade Spotlight



I am going to try to feature a weekly "handmade" spotlight each week sharing some of my favorite creators out there on the web. This week's is a Swedish artist.

I love what she calls her wrist worms and some are on sale now. She is Sandra Juto and I believe she crochets them. While I can crochet, I prefer to knit. I’ve knit several pair of “wrist worms” for myself and others but I love the crochet stitch, color scheme and material of hers. That being the case, I have learned that just because I can make something myself doesn’t mean I will or want to. Why reinvent the wheel when I’ve found someone who does the job well and offers me an opportunity to support them in their craft endeavors? I am trying to look at my purchases of goods, music, food and so on in a more personal way, in terms of an energy exchange. Someone mentioned to me once that money merely represents our energy and how we want to spend it. I would say thoughtfully is how I would like to spend it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Art of Parody



SNL 1975: I’ve rarely watched any of the contemporary Saturday Night Live’s but back in the 70’s I watched it regularly. Now it’s on past my bedtime. Lately, Marty and I have been watching reruns of the first season, and while much of the humor can fall flat (it is stand-up comedy, more or less), much of it is hilarious for its absurdity. What amazes us is how political it was back then too, without the current hang-ups of political correctness. Take Garrett Morris’s character on the newscasts. He represented the headmaster of the New York School for the Hard of Hearing. His “yelling head” in the upper corner of the screen parodied assistance for the hearing impaired. I know hearing impairment is not funny but Morris's parody sure is.

Somehow, I cannot imagine this occurring nowadays. We’ve become so self-conscious about the language, gestures and more we use that we’re losing our expressive voice. There's a fine line between hateful disregard and tasteful good-natured ribbing. Many people never learned the difference -- kind of sad because we can use some levity once in a while -- the ability to laugh with and at ourselves. Perhaps this has contributed to the rise in cyber-bullying, the new hate crime. That inability to tell the difference anymore. The black and white has become too gray...or perhaps too sanitized.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Elila Embroidered Microfiber Underwire Bra, Style 2301

Elila bras are designed from the start with the fuller figured woman in mind. Using quality fabrics together with a highly focused attention to detail, these are some of the most comfortable and supportive fuller bras on the market. Given their prices, they also represent great value. The Embroidered Microfiber Underwire Bra, style 2301 is one such example. It has beautifully embroidered cups, wider shoulder straps, metal (not plastic) strap hardware, a contoured band, and more. If you’re not a fan of underwires, it also comes in a soft cup version, style 1301. Sizes 38-46, D-G

Elila Embroidered Microfiber Underwire Bra, Style 2301
Elila Embroidered Microfibre Softcup Bra, Style 1301   

Friday, October 1, 2010

Update

Marty here. Patricia's been in Ireland but she'll be back over the weekend.  This blog has been slow of late but will pick up soon.