Monthly Archives: October 2009

Back in the bay area…for the last time this year

I’m on the final leg of my fall recruiting trips, back in the bay area until Friday.  Luckily, my hotel is right next to Union Square so the first thing I did upon checking in was change and hit the shops. 

Since this is the last time this year I’ll be up in the bay area, I figured I might as well make the most of the shopping opportunities here.  At Anthropologie, I watched the employees in the middle of creating their winter store displays – using plastic cups, straws, chicken wire, cotton balls, cash register tape…how the heck do they come up with such whimiscal displays using the most random items??

I also bought a pair of grey boots, which I’ve been searching forever for, and long-sleeved shirts (which I have plans to embellish with some flower pins that I’ll make in the future). 

My last trip of the year!  Bay area, I love you, but after  5 trips in 2 months, I’m ready for a break.

Take a peek at my house – living room

Although we moved into our new place about 5 months ago, we waited a while to have a housewarming because of some pretty major renovation work after we bought our place.  Some work we did include opening walls, replacing all windows with energy efficient ones, expanding master bedroom closet, completely gutting and redoing a bathroom, adding a sliding door in the kitchen, painting the entire interior and exterior of the house.  We’ll hopefully be done once our new driveway and walkway are complete (which should be this weekend).  I wish I took some before and afer pics to document the transformation that took place.

Here are some pictures of our living room.  We added plantation shutters, mounted a flastscreen above the fireplace, and installed some nice mirrors above a buffet table.  We scored huge deals on our furniture through buying stuff at the Z Gallerie Outlet and at Crate & Barrel’s floor sample sale.  Woo hoo!

Here’s our buffet (Z Gallerie Outlet ) and 2 mirrors (Crate & Barrel floor sample sale).  I think the vase &  flowers were the only item we paid full price for.
This was my wedding rehearsal bouquet, with ribbon flowers made from instructions found at Martha Stewart Weddings. 
Couple of pics of the flatscreen tv (craigslist), white couch (Z Gallerie Outlet), bamboo & vase (vase had a crack so we got it for 40% off!).  Though you can’t see this too well, the moss green floor rug from Crate & Barrel was also from their floor sample sale.
I’m having trouble figuring out how to decorate the bedrooms.  That’s my next home project!

That’s Sew LA!

So after my skirt-to-apron attempt, I realized that the sewing skills from my 7th grade home ec class aren’t up to par anymore and it’s time to take a sewing class.  I found a really cute one in Silver Lake called Sew LA which isn’t too far from my place (well, without hideous LA traffic, that is).

Sew LA offers classes for students of various levels, including private lessons, but they also have a great selection of really cute fabric, plus supplies and books.  I’m gonna have to check this place out soon!  They actually have a class on making vintage aprons…

Wedding Day @ the Cravens Estate

Our wedding day was truly magical.  During our rehearsal the evening before, the weather was cold, misty, and gloomy, and I was freaked out that our predominantly outdoor wedding would have an unexpected guest in the form of rain.  The next morning, I woke up to more gray skies and all throughout the time my bridesmaids and I were getting ready, I anxiously watched the weather forecast, crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

The morning and early afternoon continued to be overcast, which was actually great for pictures since it diffused the lighting.  Half an hour before the ceremony began, sunshine broke out from among the clouds.  The rest of the day was splendid indeed…not too hot, not too cold.  Phew!!

Without further ado, some pictures…

Our venue, the Cravens Estate, is the home of the San Gabriel American Red Cross.  They have a beautiful old building in Pasadena that they also rent out for filming and special events.

The house, inspired by a french chateau, has many beautiful areas for pictures.  What sold me when I first saw the venue was the beautiful wrought-iron staircase in the middle of the house.

The backyard had a lovely grassy lawn with trees that was also a great setting for pictures.
The ceremony was held at the front of the house, in front of the main entrance. 

Reception was held in the backyard, facing the back of the house. 

It was a fun-filled, stress-free day (surprisingly!), and our awesome photographer, Paul Lee, did a fantastic job capturing so many wonderful memories for us.  It’s hard to believe almost 6 months have passed since then!

LA Sample Sale – Rock Scissor Paper!

Rock Scissor Paper Studio sells a variety of cute, modern stationery with vintage flair to stores like Anthropolgie, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, and smaller boutiques.  Fortunately, they’re located in Los Angeles, and even better, their sample sale taking place this Sunday in the San Fernando valley is close to my house!

I’ve seen a lot of their merchandise in the stores above, and always forced myself from not buying too much of it since I already have a ton of stationery at home that I find too cute to use. 

Take advantage of this offer, LA denizens!!!

Details: Semi-DIY skirt to apron project

Okay, so here’s what ya’ll been waiting for…my instructions for converting a skirt into an apron!
This is my first tutorial, so please bear with me if some instructions are totally obvious. 
Step 1:  find an old skirt, knee length or a couple of inches shorter, to start with.  Mine was a cute retro-inspired one from Red Dress Shoppe that’s a bit too pink and floral for my tastes now.
Step 2: Take your skirt and lay frontside down, and cut out the back of the skirt.  I left about 4 inches on each side (sorry no picture of this!).  Set this piece aside, as it’ll be used later!
Step 3:  Take about 1/2″ on the left and right edge, pin, and iron down.
Step 4:  With a sewing machine, sew the hems on each side of the skirt, then remove the pins.  I just used a basic running (?) stitch with white thread. 
Step 5: Take the piece of fabric you cut from the back of the skirt, and cut two 4″ strips from each piece.  Fold in half wrongside out, pin, and iron.  Sew around bottom and side edges, then turn inside out.  These are going to be the apron ties.
Step 6: Pin the apron tie to the inside of the top edge of the apron skirt and sew.  I made two parallel running stitches to make sure that the tie was securely attached to the apron skirt.  Repeat on other side of the apron.
inside of apron

what it looks like from the front (sorry my stitches suck)

That’s it!  Now, try on your apron and see how it looks!

What’s sad is that as simple as this project was, it still took me several days to finish since I’d only work on it an hour or so every few days.  And as you saw, my sewing skills are pretty depressing.  Hopefully I’ll get the hang of it soon and start creating Etsy-quality items soon!

Semi-DIY: turn a skirt into an apron

I love the idea of crafting and creating cute, functional items. But the reality is, I’m terrible at DIY projects.  Horrible.  Undisciplined.  Impatient.  Easily distracted.

So I’m trying to start off slowly, by doing easy projects that don’t require complicated steps or extensive preparation time.  Have you seen that show “Semi-Homemade” on the Food Network, where the host take something like 75% store-bought items and combines them with 25% fresh ingredients to create something that emulates homemade goodness?  Well, my version of this is “Semi-DIY: Even You Can’t Mess This Up.”  This involves taking already made items, applying a little bit cutting, tearing, gluing, and sewing to create something that you can pretend was entirely handmade.  You can stay quiet on the details and bask in praise from others when you proudly show off your finished product.

My first project was a flower headband made from an old shirt, which turned out okay, actually.  Current project is an apron made from a skirt.  Since this involved a sewing machine, it was more complicated and maddening (especially since I haven’t used one in ages).  It’s still in the works…after more than a week.  I’ll post pictures soon!

Mad for AMC’s Mad Men

One of my favorite shows on TV is AMC’s “Mad Men.”  Every Sunday night at 10pm for the past few months, my husband and I have eagerly watched the drama unfold in Season 3.  Character development throughout the series is very intruiguing, as each person has many layers and facets to his or her past and personality.  Simply put, it’s a superbly addicting show.

I love how much attention to detail is paid on each episode of the show – from the dialogue to hairstyles to clothing to decor, every aspect has been meticulously researched and authentic to life in America in the early 60’s.  Especially delightful are the wardrobes of the leading ladies on the show: Betty Draper, Joan Holloway, and Peggy Olson.  There’s so much inspiration to draw just from the clothes and accessories the women wear on each episode.

Betty Draper

Betty’s like the quintessential 60’s desperate housewife – reluctant suburban housewife bored to death with a lot of anger and resentment pent-up inside.  But her outfits are faaabulous.  I love how easily she transitions between squeaky clean Stepford wife to fashionista.  That last picture reminds me of a blonde version of Audrey Hepburn.
Joan (Holloway) Harris
Um, how hot is Joan?  She channels Marilyn Monroe and Jane Seymour with her curvy figure and sexuality.  The bold colors and confidence she exudes makes her stand out and shows that she’s not someone to mess with.  She’s someone I’d be scared of hahaha. 

Peggy Olson
Peggy’s probably the most boring fashion-wise.  She seems to be somewhat naive and innocent at the start of the show, but her character becomes more worldy and jaded as the show progresses.  This development’s also seen in her wardrobe – it goes from being somewhat old-fashioned to more modern (though she’s definitely the most conservative dressed of the group).  Who knows though – she seems to have a wild streak that she’s holding back, so maybe when the sexual revolution emerges in the late 60’s, she’ll go crazy.
Anyways, I can go on an on about the show, but you get the picture.  Watch the it 10pm on Sunday nights!

Home sweet home

I’m finally back from my extended trip along the west coast!  Compared to others I’ve done in the past, this one was a piece of cake, especially since I only had to go to airports 6 times (compared to 12+ on other trips).  What’s all the travel for, you ask?  Well, I work in graduate admissions for a large research institution, and every fall the admissions team travels throughout country and around the world to recruit high-caliber applicants to our program. 

Yawn…so enough about work.  The nice perk to the job is the opportunity to visit lots of different cities and countries, though after several weeks on the road, going home and sleeping in your own bed is something I look forward to more than anything.  In the past, I’ve had opportunities to travel to parts of Europe and South America.  This year, as luck would have it, I’ve done only domestic events.  But that’s totally fine by me…it’s nice to give my passport a break once in a while!