Friday, December 30, 2011

A Brooklyn Christmas - Part Two

I hope all of you are enjoying your New Year's holiday! I've decided to start 2012 with some good old work around the house. I know it probably doesn't sound like much fun, but I think there's nothing better than freshly painted walls and new curtains to make a fresh start in the new year. And as it happens, I actually enjoy painting, seeing how color can completely transform a space.

Anyhow, to continue my New York saga, Christmas day itself included a trip into Manhattan. First up, lunch at one of New York's famous delis, where meals begin with a plate of pickles and cole slaw, and end with a shot of chocolate soda... yumm!

The bright green pickles were my favorite, they had a milder, garlic flavor.

Too bad my mile-high pastrami sandwhich didn't last long enough to snap a picture, but take my word for it, it was divine! (As were the potato cakes and apple sauce). Once fortified, we continued our trek through the city to find a bit of ice skating, along the way snapping pics of well known landmarks.

The Empire State Building (my personal favorite), Grand Central Station
and Rockefeller Center. 

As you can see, Rockefeller was jam packed like sardines in a can, so we decided to check out the rink in Central Park. It was also busy, but a much prettier setting nestled amongst trees and greenery with the New York skyline all around.

Ice skating in Central Park.

And of course, the views at night were breathtaking...

Central Park at dusk.

And then it was back to Brooklyn for another big meal, our vacations always seem to revolve around food!

Roasted turkey, homemade stuffing, green beans with toasted pinenuts,
raspberry jell-o salad and limpa bread.

And here's a shot of all of us chowing down... all of use except dad who is almost
always the one behind the camera.

I just have one more post I want to share from this trip. I think the High Line and the Garment District warrant their own space, both of them being such amazing and inspiring places. And, to take advantage of this long weekend off from work, I'm also busy sewing up some softie kits I bought on Spoonflower last month... look for that soon!

A Brooklyn Christmas

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! One word and one word only sums up my holiday this year.... magical. And it was a first for my husband and I to spend it in New York, though we've often dreamed of how wonderful it would be.

We usually gather in Maryland where the majority of my family lives, but this year my brother and his wife invited us all up to celebrate in Brooklyn, and to say we jumped at the chance is an uderstatement. This was the first time they could accommodate so many people, and while their previous one bedroom apt was charming, their almost renovated brownstone is a bit more practical for all 11 of us to stay in!

My brother and his wife's amazing place... I really should post pics of the "before".

On Christmas Eve we spent a delightful afternoon wandering the Brooklyn Botanic Garden which was within walking distance of the house. The grounds were magnificent and I can only imagine how splendid they are in the spring.

Looking through the Osborne Garden toward the main entrance, an inside view of the
white trellis and arbors in the Rose Garden and a lovely twisty tree. 

Patrick Dougherty's sculpture "Natural History".

Outside in the lily pool terrace I was surprised and delighted to find the following plaque honoring a local business right here in Katy, Texas where I live:

Nelson's Water Garden.


After walking the grounds, it was a nice respite to explore the indoor Pavillions, which housed plants in different temperate environments. 

Bonsai Museum

Desert Pavilion

We returned home to a big Christmas Eve meal consisting largely of Swedish dishes... homemade potato sausage and lutefisk with white sauce (for those of you not familiar with the latter, I don't know what to say except google it). No herring this year, but it was sorely missed by most. My sister-in-law's family was also in attendance, I think 18 people is a proper house-warming party!

I can see I'm obviously going to have to break this holiday post up into sections so I don't drown you in pictures! I haven't even gotten to our time spent in Manhattan, (including the garment District where I bought lots of fabric), the amazing view from the High Line, or wandering around the Brooklyn Library and Park Slope neighborhood.

To be continued... 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Holly Gift Tags

I designed and printed up these oversized festive gift tags for my family and thought I'd share them with all of you. For an extra touch, you can round the corners like in the photo, but they look nice either way.

Hope you all have a festive and joyous Christmas season!

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

(Tags are 4-up and sized to print on 8.5 x 11 paper/cardstock
set to landscape orientation at 100%.
Download the pdf here.)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pattern Review - New Look 6067

I'm so excited, I finished my first dress! It's New Look #6067 and I've been drooling over this pattern since I first saw it. I originally intended to use some of my "Soft Ikat" sateen fabric from Spoonflower, but decided I'd better make a test one first. Instead of muslin, I chose to use some of my sample fabric (Snake Skin Gray) from my Backyard Baby collection and I'm so glad I did b/c I just love the way it looks on this dress.

In fact, I think the subtler, tone-on-tone is nicer than the busier Ikat would've been b/c it allows you to see all the lovely pleating and details. Unfortunately, it's a bit small on me, I had to let out the side seams just to be able to get the zipper up! In fact, it's so tight it's starting to pull the pleat stitches apart as you might be able to tell in the closeup shot, maybe I should've used a shorter stitch length?

I also like that this dress has a separate belt. I plan to make some more of these to use with other outfits. The pleating on the bodice does seem to pucker a bit, but when I'm wearing it and moving around I don't think it's that noticeable. I'm pretty sure I'll be making more dresses with this pattern, and using the next size up.

I  have a second dress in the works using the Ikat fabric, a pattern with a simpler shape that I think works better with it. All it needs is a zipper and a bottom hem and it too will be finished. I had no idea sewing my own clothes would be so addictive!

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