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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jill's Wedding

When I look through photos to compose a blog post these days, I usually find that there are tons of pictures of my (incredibly cute) child and almost none of anything I've made.  My work schedule these days includes sewing and cutting frantically during nap time and then packaging everything up after dark, so it's not like I have a lot of completed projects sitting around here.  

The good news is that there are other people out there taking pictures of my work!  I got a lovely email a few weeks ago from a bride that I'd worked with and she and her photographer, Gavin Wade, were kind enough to let me use the pictures.  


I have had numerous requests lately for a groom's tie that is different than the groomsmen ties, but this is the first time I've seen the final result and I love it!  The groomsmen ties are the ever-popular mint green pique and the groom is wearing a custom solid coral tie.  You can see even more pictures from Jill's wedding here on Gavin's blog.



Aside from making wedding dreams come true, I've also been busy with requests for graduation gifts and father's day gifts this month.  I still have a few new patterns to add to my summer tie collection, before turning my attention to the fall.  It won't be long now before Steve and Arthur will be out in the front yard, posing for scarf photos while it's 90 degrees (I think they're both secretly excited!).  


We're gearing up for the 4th of July and all the fun that entails.  Wearing red, white, and blue!  Putting the flag out on the front porch!  Cookouts with homemade barbecue sauce!  

I can hardly wait.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

summer thoughts, mostly on food


I have a special love for summer rain showers.  It's stormy outside right now and it feels like the perfect prelude to the weekend after a busy, busy week.  


The good news is, I'm caught up on orders.  The good news also is, we barely have any plans for the weekend, except for the plan to sneak away for some hours while Arthur enjoys my mom's company.  I'm feeling that kind of ease that comes with summer- playing outside until the last bit of daylight, making ice cream, reading magazines just because.  I'm claiming a summer break, even though I have a business and a toddler and there is no real break to either of those items in sight.  


Cooking in the summer is my favorite thing, even though I miss the soup.  But I love preparing our food early in the day while the kitchen is still cool and then serving meals just warm or at room temperature.  I don't feel like everything needs to be hot and somehow that takes a lot of pressure off.  

I've been craving meatless meals more often with the hot weather and have tried out some fantastic new recipes.  If this were 2012, I'd have lovely photos of each of them.  As it so happens, I have exactly zero photos of any of them, but I'm not going to let that stop me from sharing the recipes- 

        -Zucchini-Potato Casserole: really more of a tian than a casserole and absolutely delicious.  The thin slices of potato and vegetables melt together into something magic.  

       - White Bean and Artichoke Salad: Steve and I actually can't figure out what makes this salad so good.  We also can't figure out how to stop eating it.  I make several adjustments to the recipe: switch green pepper for yellow or orange, and skip the olives and mint.  

      - Grilled Mexican Street Corn: This recipe is from Shauna Niequist's book Bread and Wine, which was recommended by a dear friend.  I loved the book, have loved every recipe that I've tried out of it, and love that I think of my friend every time I flip it open.  It is like a novel with recipes- honestly, I can't think of a better literary genre.  I'd love to do a whole book review sometime... we'll see.  But the corn!  Sweet and savory and just what I want to be eating on a hot day.  


So that's what we've been eating.  We're growing herbs and cherry tomatoes on the patio and lots and lots of rosemary in the surrounding beds.  Arthur is slowly learning the patience of a gardener and we've actually had a handful of tomatoes make it to orangish-red before being picked.  



Happy weekend, friends.  I hope that you find yourself in a lounge chair with a cool drink!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

May is just an excuse to party


It should be noted that I still often find myself composing blog posts in my head.  It should also be noted that I am currently blogging in a bit of a panic, as I realized that I had only posted once in the whole glorious month of May and I couldn't really believe that about myself.  

Since we last chatted, we have been living it up over here.  We celebrated mother's day and my birthday on back to back weekends and I had such a good time that I almost felt guilty about it.  Almost.  Steve loves me so well and he is teaching Arthur to do the same.  Those two took me out for lovely meals and frozen yogurt and surprised me with a framed photo and M & M's.  Arthur signed his "A" in a card that said "Happy Birthday Mom" on the front and I was unprepared for how that would make me tear right up with joy.  


Steve and I also went on an amazing, five hour long date.  It was exactly as wonderful as that sounds and we're already plotting how we can do it again.  We sipped lattes (sipped, I tell you!) and dreamed about the future, did a little shopping, and ate lunch outside.  I've found myself, in the weeks since, trying to remember that feeling- of nowhere to be and the cool morning air and a warm drink shared with my sweetheart.  


We also took a family vacation to the beach to celebrate nine years of marriage.  We actually stayed at this very same beach condo last year for our anniversary as well, about three weeks after we returned home from Taiwan.  It was so much fun this year to compare everything to last year and see how far we've come as a family.  (Arthur speaks English now!  He's almost potty trained!  We sleep most of the night!)


Taking a few days off for vacation meant that I was unusually busy with shop work the week before we left. I have four new bow tie fabrics (including two florals, which I'm super stoked about) waiting to be sewn into samples, a project I'm hoping to complete in June.  I'm also playing around with a new tie shape- something a bit slimmer in nature.  I was inspired by the bow ties on the most recent season of Downton Abbey and have been wanting to offer something similar in the shop.  


If May was the month of celebrations, June is shaping up to be the month of visitors!  We always host a lot of visitors in the summer and I can't wait for everyone to start arriving.  The June issue of Country Living has about 20 homemade ice cream and gelato recipes and I'm looking for an excuse to try them all!

Monday, May 05, 2014

summer products

 Hello and Happy May!  If you've been hanging around this blog for a while, you might remember that this is my favorite month.  Interestingly enough, the fact that it is my favorite month is only in small part due to the cards and gifts I will receive for several important holidays and mainly a result of the perfect weather.  Well, the weather, and the fact that this is usually the point where I finally stop shocking myself on every light switch in the house.  

 I realized that I hadn't shared any product photos recently and we had a quick photo shoot yesterday, so I thought I'd keep you up to date on some shop news and happenings.  I've added four new "summer" ties to the shop and have plans for at least three more.  My spring and summer ties are fairly interchangeable, but the summer ones tend to be a bit lighter in weight and color.  I added a coral seersucker tie, after having about eight people ask me for one.  Coral is so hot right now!  For good reason too- it's nice and warm and cheerful, close to pink without being annoying.  You know how some pinks can be annoying?  Is that just me? 


Steve has been wearing a bow tie to work every Friday for the past month or so and I love it.  It's fun to see which ones he chooses and also to hear the conversations he has with his coworkers about them.  I always imagine that we either sound really interesting or really crazy- a wife that stays home with a three year old, making bow ties?!?  What a unique life!  


I've been busy with wedding orders and gift orders and just general orders this spring.  Once (if) I get caught up, there are lots of new products I want to try out to prepare for later this year.  One of the best things about my job is that there is always something new to look forward to.  


These new pocket squares were inspired by a recent article in GQ and no, I don't read GQ, but it almost seems like I should.  I'm on the hunt for a certain jacket for Steve that will photograph well with all these blues, as well as a few new shirts for tie photos.  It is funny to shop for clothes with product photos in mind, but we've actually gotten some great things that way.  

Inspired by Cinco do Mayo, I'm making Mexican food all week.  Today I made a black bean salad, onion slaw, and pickled red onions to go with our shrimp tacos.  Later this week- more taco fillings, enchiladas, taco salad.  I'm trying out a new method to see if dinner prep is easier when all of the meals have a common theme- I'll keep you posted!  

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

family day

Yesterday marked one year since the biggest event in our married life: becoming parents.  Up to that point, the most life-changing thing I'd done was get married, and, while that certainly did change my life, I got to ease into it a bit.  Steve and I had met and known each other long before our wedding day and, I think I can speak for the both of us when I say that we tried our best to make the transition a smooth one.

April 2013

There's no real transition period with a child.  You don't have one until- one day- you do.  And you've certainly never met them before (usually).  So I can only speak from my own experience, but I'd say that it's not something you ease into.  Easing into life with a two year old sounds about as ridiculous as easing into the day while your house is on fire.  In both situations, you'd better jump out of bed and figure out a plan, because things are happening and they're happening fast.


April 2014


There have been so many things bumping around in my head these past few weeks about the year we've had and the ones ahead and if I were blogging more regularly, you'd probably have to suffer through at least three more rambling posts about it all.  But life is short and time is precious, so I've narrowed it down to this one thought- 

All of the best things in my life- I mean the very best things- have arrived seemingly late, yet right on time. The things I've had to wait the longest for are the very same things that I can't stop pinching myself over and I don't think that is any accident at all.  

We spent last weekend celebrating Arthur Chen in every way we could think of- sushi and fried rice for dinner, strawberry picking, playing in the pool, ice cream in the middle of the day, a surprise walk to the playground.  He ate like a ravenous tiger, splashed us every chance he got, and kept exclaiming, "Happy day for me!"

Happy day for us all.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

all I have needed












Hello friends!  I was looking back at some pictures from previous Easters (you can see some here) and thinking about how much I want to be sure to document this one.  It will be Arthur's first Easter with us and we just love sharing new things with him and starting (or continuing) family traditions.  We're resuming our Easter lunch tradition this year and have been in full planning mode this week to work out all the details.  

I've also been in full-on bow tie mode and tearing through my stacks of fabric.  I'm seriously partial to spring and summer ties because I love the bright colors and I love to picture these ties parading around fancy weddings and garden parties, looking cheerful.  I've also got a nice new collection of indigo pocket squares in the shop that I'm fairly smitten with.  


This spring has been a cold one, so far, but we've still managed a few picnics and plenty of sidewalk chalk masterpieces.  Last week there were five little boys decorating my driveway at the same time.  I absolutely loved it.  And we need more chalk.  


We've grilled out a few times, have a few things blooming in the yard, and have put away some of the wintry-est of the winter clothes.  We're easing into spring and I don't mind.  I've been thinking a lot about last spring, also cold, when I barely noticed the weather because we were so caught up preparing for Arthur's arrival. And by "preparing", I mainly mean staring at his picture at least 20 times a day.  Now I kiss his little cheeks at least 20 times a day and I like this spring much better.  













Easter is Steve's favorite holiday and we've had so much fun talking about childhood memories and the kind of memories we want to make for our child.  Easter is also the beginning of a season of celebration at our house that will last right on through the end of May.  I'm celebrating motherhood, another year of life, another year of being married to my favorite person, our first year as a family of three.  And it's not particularly Easter-y, but this old hymn has been in my head this week as I prepare for Easter and the weeks to come- 


Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed thy hand hath provided;
great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

Happy Easter, friends!  I hope you find yourself this Easter with all that you need.  



Friday, March 28, 2014

Etsy Pop-up at West Elm


Hi friends!  I really wanted to wow you today with photos of all the ties and pocket squares I've been making this week, but it's super gray here and I could barely get any pictures.  Maybe you can imagine them instead?  

I've been prepping for another Etsy Pop-up event at West Elm this Saturday and am so excited that the day is finally almost here!  The last event I did at West Elm was in November, so I took tons of scarves and felt like it was the perfect kick-off to the holiday season.  This time around, I am debuting my summer bow ties and pocket squares and am excited to help people with their outfits for all the fancy events coming up- weddings, graduations, Easter.  

I know.  I just said "summer bow ties" and you probably looked down to see yourself wearing two sweaters and wool socks.  But summer will come!  And when it does, I'll be ready.  With ties.    


One of the things that I'm most excited about with this summer collection is the fact that most of the items are limited editions.  I found some awesome fabrics and bought as much as I could, but I know I won't be able to get more, so that makes each tie or pocket square seem like a special treasure, instead of a mass-produced accessory.  Not that I'm really mass producing over here, but I did make about 40 ties this week.  

I'd love to see some of you locals at West Elm tomorrow (between 1pm and 6pm), but for everyone else- I'll take pictures!  Have a happy weekend!

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