Thursday, December 03, 2009

New Family Pics

DSC_0005I finally got around to getting our family picture printed. The pictures were_MG_8525 copy taken in August, but life happens, so here it is finally. I had it printed on canvas this time and love how it turned out. We took the picture a few blocks away—right off the trail again—just like last time.  Thanks again to my talented brother Mike.

I love how cute my little family looks in this picture. Paul gets better looking with age, I’ve been converted to having my stylist do my hair the day of the photo shoot (dang my curly hair!), Nathan now wears contacts, Ilene’s front teeth have come in, and Hallie’s hair has been chopped, but I still love the photo. May it be happy for the next two years above our piano.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Christmas Stockings

Christmas Stockings, originally uploaded by meringuedesigns.
Hooray! This was the year to make us all matching Christmas stockings. I embroidered our names in Scriptina font and digitized a few designs--mittens, aluminum trees, and snowmen--to adorn the fronts. Of course, I had to include linen to bring them all together. The front of each is a patchwork of fabrics. layered with cotton batting and muslin, then quilted. The back is simply a piece of 100% linen and the lining is natural muslin. I'm smiling right now at actually having done some Christmas sewing!

Hallie hates her (surprise) because I used a cursive font. She is afraid she won't know which one is hers. "I'm only 5! I can't read cursive!" No matter what I said, nothing could assuage her fears. But that's life as usual in this house--someone is always mad and I can never make everyone happy. Too bad Tootse, 'cause I like 'em and they're staying.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Giving Thanks

DSC_0084Kneading dough.….Steaming pumpkins…. Baking sweet potatoes…. Sautéing green beans…. Making compound butters…. Harvesting sage leaves…Rolling pie crusts…. Frying sausage…. Whipping meringue…. Deglazing with turkey stock…. Drying bread cubes…. Ricing potatoes…. Roasting turkey…. These are just some of the things I did this week to get ready for Thanksgiving day. It was honestly therapeutic to cook for two days. I’ve been in such a quicky-quick-get-dinner-on-the-table-before-we-all-gotta-run-separate-ways mode that to slow cook did wonders for my psyche. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 13, 2009

All Hallow’s Eve

DSC_0037There is something ironic about being a seamstress and yet hating to sew costumes for my kids. I swear I can’t be bothered. Usually my sister Patty comes to the rescue and offers way back in September to sew costumes for at least one of the kids.  This year she made the adorable Dorothy costume for Ilene while I was forced to sew pirate costumes for Nathan and Hallie.

I do like the embroidered pirate on their vests. Makes them look like real pirates, don’t you think? Don’t most pirates wear polyester felt vests and pants with cheap satin head scarves? In this house they do.

Who would do this?

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Oh my goodness, I think I’ve been robbed! Who would break into my house simply to ran-sack my sewing room? I think this  person thought it would be funny to go through every thing in this room, looking for gold or diamonds or something, and not have the decency to put it all back. I mean, who would do such a thing?  Who would open up patterns and leave leave strewn around? Who would toss a bunch of triangle shaped fabric scraps all over my floor? Who would unfold all my fabrics and bunch them up into wrinkley balls? Oh the humanity…….

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fun Fonts

monogram pillow 003, originally uploaded by meringuedesigns.
Can you guess what font this is? It's a Disney font called Waltograph. Kind of cute, huh? I made two of these for a client's teenage daughter. Her mom works for anthropologie. (color me jealous) and commissioned these pillows to go with her daughter's new bedding. Lucky girl!

Happy Little Bird

turquoise bird 2, originally uploaded by meringuedesigns.
Some of the best designs come from a client's request. I just love how the turquoise and red came together. I hope the pillows I made for her brighten up her Chicago home this winter. Luscious!

Going Home Again

They say you can never go home again, but I sure felt at home this last week as I ate my mom’s chile rellenos and tamales. Mi mama es la mejor cocinera.

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And it sure felt like home when I took my kids to Huntington Beach. How many hours did I spend there as a teenager worshiping the sun? (Remind me to feed Nathan more.)

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It also felt like home seeing a layer of yummy brown smog blanket the Los Angeles valley. (Here we are at the Griffith Observatory.)

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It also felt like home watching my mom teach Ilene how to make lemon meringue pie.  I still crimp my pie crust edges just like she taught me.

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Who says you can’t go home again--at least for 5 days at a time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Addicted to Color

stitchInspired by this pillow (Stitch is my new favorite magazine) I made my ninepatchown. Anyone who knows me knows I am addicted to color (tastefully, no hot pink walls around here) and that I shun beige. Life is too short for beige.

Stop Staring

DSC_0013 Does staring at my maple tree make me materialistic? Because it is an object…I do love it…and I can’t stop staring at it while I eat meals at my dining table. I told Paul we could never move because I’d miss my maple. He quickly said that was the best  money he ever spent. Wise guy.

Alas, the crimson leaves are now falling with the temperatures and I find myself baking again and making stews and soups. Welcome fall.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Bye Bye Summer


DSC_0021Every year I write a blog about the end of summer. It’s pathetic really how I lament the end of heat each September. Yesterday Ilene had her last soccer game of the season and the temperature gauge in my care said it was 49 degrees. It was September 30th, depressing. However, it was also windy and I could barely watch the game while I shivered. Thanks goodness my friend Kelly (pictured here) brought a huge thermos of hot chocolate and was kind enough to share plenty with me. At least the mountains looked gorgeous in all their gold and red fall colors.  


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Poppies Dress

linen poppies dressI recently made this linen dress for Hallie. I just love linen. Unfortunately, Hallie doesn’t know that linen is ultra linen poppies dress 2stylish and modern and promptly replied that she hated this gray dress. (“It’s not gray, it’s oatmeal!”) If Hallie’s clothes don’t resemble a drag queen these days, she thinks they are dull and boring and will NOT wear them. She simply won’t. She’ll cry and scream and foam at the mouth. So I told her I’d add the pink sash/bow and that seemed to ease her a bit. Why do I bother? Why don’t I just dress them in sweatshop-made crapola  with nasty sparkly  glittery adornments  with horrid sayings like “Princess” or “Bratz” or heaven knows what else.  I like sweet and simple designs for my girls in natural fibers. Unfortunately, they often like tacky crap.  What’s a sewing mama to do? 
P.S. She hates the Mary Janes I bought from Lands End too. I force her to wear them anyway. I’m tired.
Pattern: Simplicity 4927 with lots of modifications—bound neckline, invisible zipper closure, embroidered poppies, waist sash, etc.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bernina DesignerPlus version 6

DSC_0006I bought the most amazing software to digitize embroidery designs. It was a crazy amount of money that almost DSC_0009required the payment of my firstborn, thank goodness for my sewing business funds.
My motivation to digitize has been the utter lack of modern designs out there for purchase. I have searched high and low all over the internet only to find silly tea cups with smiley faces and butterflies that require 28 thread color changes. As a former valley girl from the 1980s I would say, “Gag me with a wooden spoon.” Definitely the embroidery companies are not catering to the 30-something crowd.
So now I can digitize my own modern minimalist designs. Here’s what I’ve created so far. I’m just lovin it all! Pretty soon I’ll sell my own modern designs to counteract all the old lady garbage out there.technicolor pillow

My Main Squeeze

On 9-9-9 (eerie….) Paul turned 38. We celebrated with enchiladas and a lemon bundt cake—all birthday worthy food. Paul is just so talented I continue to be amazed at his prowess. Here are just a few facts about Paul: He can juggle….he loves rocky road ice cyn and paulcream (for which I can hardly respect him)….he speaks Dutch…he twirls his pen when he’s concentrating as good as any drill team member twirls a baton…he likes Latin girls, hence his wife…he can do any math problem in his head, hence his profession….he once broke the legs off of a piano…he loves to stay in his jammies longer than I think necessary…he plays the piano, much worse than myself…he gives great foot rubs.  Happy Birthday to such a baby face.

paul and bday cake

Monday, August 17, 2009

Give Away: Happy Etsy Anniversary to Me!

I bought a new couch cover last week at Ikea. My old one was dark brown and I did like it but there was something defective in the dyes that caused it to bleach out to an orange-like color. Thankfully, Ikea gave me all my dinero back so I bought 2 white covers instead. (That way one can be washed while the other is on.) I’ve always loved white covers and I know they’re a pain to keep clean, hence the two covers. So I quickly made some new pillows to spice it up. I love it!
So……In honor of my 2 year anniversary selling pillows on etsy, I am giving away one 18” pillow cover. Your choice of any of the five pictured here on my couch. Just leave a comment here telling me one thing you like about my shop (stroke my ego) or one thing you wish I would do differently—or both! I’ll pick one lucky commenter using on August 24th (Monday). I’ll notify the winner then and she/he can choose which of these funky designs she’d like. Make sure there is a way for me to contact you—either through your own blog/profile or by leaving your email. Good luck!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Toothless Wonder

Here’s to Ilene’s 1 year anniversary with still no front teeth.  What a cutey.


Safety First

Because a 5-year old child needs a life jacket in 10 inches of water. She insists.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Discussing the Universe Over Hot Dogs and Zucchini

Paul has been winning me over to the wisdom of Calvin and Hobbes as he nightly (no joke) reads from his gigantic collector's edition before turning out the lights. Tonight's dinner conversation is one of those nights I wish I had taken the wisdom of Calvin's dad to heart tonight. (Trust me, I usually do give some pithy answer that leads the kids astray.)
Alas, Paul and I were trying to be good parents and once again we're not sure if we're doing more damage than good. You be the judge:

Ilene: If you’re born from your mom, and she likes a drink, is it possible you are going to like it too?
Paul: Ilene, anything is possible.
Cynthia: Usually kids like the stuff they grow up eating. My mom, whom I was born from, grew up eating salt on watermelon so she likes it. I didn’t ever grow up eating that so I don’t like it.
Ilene: (the consummate lover of salt) I think I might like to try that—salt on watermelon. Just to see if I like it.
Cynthia: You don’t need to try it. Watermelon is delicious and tasty without salt. Why make it less healthy by putting salt on it?
Ilene: Just to see if it is good!
Nathan: Do we always have to eat healthy stuff (as he scarfs his second hot dog.)
Cynthia: Well then Ilene, why don’t I go get you a dirt clod out in the yard and see if you like that too.
Nathan: What if I don’t want to try it?
Ilene: What is a dirt clod?
Paul: A clump of dirt.
Ilene: What do you call a ball of dirt?
Paul: A ball of dirt and a clod of dirt are the same thing.
Cynthia: (trying to stear the conversations back to the nature vs. nurture topic and away from dirt clods) Ilene, you are growing up eating zucchini so that’s why you like it. You like it because it’s familiar.
Ilene: I really don’t like zucchini that much.
Cynthia: Since when? You guys always eat all your zucchini without complaining.
Ilene: Well, I don’t like grilled zucchini that much. (We are eating steamed zucchini.)

(1 minute pause in conversation)
Ilene: Do people in China like zucchini? I doubt it because it’d be nearly impossible to eat it with chopsticks. It’s just too big.
Nathan: They don’t eat with chopsticks in China, that’s India!
Cynthia: That’s not true, Nathan. (We just had a conversation about this last week.)
Nathan: Oh yea, they eat with their hands in India. (The kids think it would be fun to go to India because they won’t have to use their forks and spoons at meal times. Good grief.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Curiosity Killed the Cat

Nobody ever tells you when you become a parent to be prepared for the most obscure questions ever posed to (wo)man. Truly, they border on the bizarre. Here is a sampling of questions Paul and I have been asked lately by our 3 somewhat intelligent children.

Who invented clothes? Do you know much about Shitzu dogs? What about Labradors? If there were no nerves in my hand would it hurt when I stabbed it? Why are the grill marks on my chicken black? Why aren’t they purple? Do you think there is a way to jump out of a window and not get hurt? Are nuts good for you? Are nuts covered in chocolate good for you? Do those actors in the movie (The Fugitive) get paid extra because they have to get beat up? If I ride my bike without the cap on the tire, will bugs get into the tires? Do you know anyone with really bucked teeth? Well, if you don't know anyone with bucked teeth, do you know anyone with teeth so big they couldn't fit in their mouth?

Sometimes I just have to wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes. How do they come up with this stuff?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Drum Roll Please….

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After many months of planning with an architect, hiring the best landscapers ever, and doing some of the work on our own, our back yard is finished! A  retaining wall was built to raise the level of our yard (we had a 3 foot drop!), countless truckloads of topsoil brought in, a fire pit area was added, new sod, 14 more trees, 13 cubic yards of bark, a new irrigation system, and oh yea, our new fence. I couldn't be happier. Someday when we save more pennies we'll finish it off with a nice matching patio (with stairs leading down to the fire pit area) and shrubs to fill in the beds. I love it, I love it.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Costco Meal

To complete this 15-minute Costco meal you will need:

1 red mini van to drive to Costcoland (or other vehicle of your choice). DSC_0191 Once you are safely past the Costco Membership Guards, grab a shopping cart and quickly purchase:

Fresh Sockeye Salmon (wild please, try to avoid the not-so-yummy farm-raised stuff if at all possible, ) 1 package of Genoa Salami, 1 container of mini fresh mozzarella balls, 1 container of Spring Mix lettuce, 1 package of tomatoes, 1 gigantic sized bag of croutons. Try to avoid the new selection of Shade t-shirts on your way to register. It is ok however to sample the fizzy lemonade. Oh, and pat yourself on the back for buying fresh cherries and blueberries and avoiding the Fat Boy ice cream sandwiches. They’d melt anyway on your way home.

Once home, unload your spoils. Fifteen minutes before you want to eat, pan fry your salmon (which you’ve cut into 4” strips) for 3-4 minutes per side. During those free minutes, assemble the salad which should take all of 5 minutes. Yes, I realize salami in your salad means you’ll be serving fish and pork on the same plate, get over it.

Serve your meal with lemon wedges or the addictive dill sour cream sauce(leftover from last week when you made the exact same meal), and of course a leftover carb. In this case, I had leftover basmati rice mixed with saag aloo from Bombay House. Everybody loves salmon in my house so this meal is a real winner. *pats self on back*

Don’t forget to have the kids load the dishwasher while you wash the one dirty pan. Then quickly retreat to the couch and watch lots of Tv for the evening. Bliss.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Raspberry Yummies

4 cases of raspberries + 2 little helpers = lots of raspberry jam to fill my freezer for one more year.


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