Fancy Antlers

Antler alert!

Uncle Buck, from Pindler and Pindler’s Gentleman’s Retreat Collection.

Yesterday I had the joy of spending a full work day at the San Francisco Design Center doing product research. It was the sort of day that makes being an interior designer worthwhile. For the entire day I set aside emails, appliance schedules and all of the nitty gritty to focus on the creative side of the job…

Now, most of our clients and many of my fellow designers fall into a very specific mold. Let it suffice to say that they are not antler people. So, when I came across the wonderfully whimsical fabric above, I knew that it would be much more appreciated by the Fancy Antler crowd.

 

Holy Woolly Winterness!

Christmas may be over, but we can still enjoy the season that chills our toes while warming our hearts: Welcome Winterness!

Winter is wonderful… Our homes are cozy, a warm meals feels like an indulgence, and a hot cup of anything is endlessly gratifying. (Coffee, tea, cider, glogg? Bring it on!)

I must admit, however, that since moving to the West Coast, I have not been weathering the bitter cold like I did as a child. Here, the temperature is never more than slightly uncomfortable and my nostalgic side sorely misses “real” winter. Thus, I have developed a finely tuned system of overcompensation:

  • Denial: Wear winter clothing whether it is necessary or not. (65 degrees? Looks like it’s time for the down jacket!)
  • Showmanship: Everyday, whether it’s warm or cold outside, I walk into office saying “brr” while rubbing my hands together. (This helps to sell the aforementioned down jacket)
  • Cooking: I suspend fish tacos from my diet for the duration of winter. I stick to true heart warming meals: Chili, Shepherds Pie, Beef Stew, and anything made with cream of mushroom soup.
  • Knitting: I like to develop a long cue of woolly knitting projects to keep me busy all winter long. This successfully keeps my hands busy and my eyes averted from the inevitably temperate exterior conditions. Below I have shared a few prized pieces from this years winter knitting cue….

Winter Knit collage

  1. Super Soft Merino Fluted Cowl, by the purl bee. This will be my first project, I have been on the look out for a cowl that is just the right length for a double loop around the neck and it looks like this one is just perfect!
  2. Ethel Wrap Shawl, by Monique Gascon
  3. State Street Cowl, by Pam Allen for quince&co.
  4. Hats for Everyone!, by the purl bee.
  5. Grand Tour Stole, by Annie’s Crafts
  6. Coffee Cup Cozy Mug Sleeve with Cable, by Richmond Hill Knits

Keep your needles sharp, take the kink out of your yarn and enjoy!

Happy Birthday Mom!

Me-n-Jdawg

My mom is the best…

My mom is smart and funny and beautiful and creative. She talks in strange little voices, does goofy little dances and draws funny little cartoon people. She doesn’t take herself too seriously.

We have always been best friends because we’ve always had a lot in common…. We both went to design school, as a matter of fact, we went to the same design school and had some of the same professors. We have the same nose and ears (slightly larger than average). Luckily, we have the same smile too… (also slightly larger than average). We like coffee in the morning and a glass of wine at night. We aren’t natural morning people, but we tough it out if we need to. We think that snow is magical and that the downtown city lights are special. We like to knit and cook and create and decorate.

If somebody said “Hey Kate, you are just like your mom…” I would do a goofy little happy dance (just like her) and consider it the best compliment ever. After all, she is the most sweet, caring and loving woman that I have ever known.

Happy Birthday Mom 🙂

Back in the saddle (again)….

My father-in-law lovingly refers to their cozy Missouri homestead as "The Roost." I always look forward to our relaxing Christmas's there, enjoying the peace and tranquility of a slower pace of life.

The Missouri homestead is lovingly nicknamed “The Roost.” I love our relaxing Christmases there, enjoying the peace and tranquility of a slower pace of life.

My husband and I spent the holidays in small town Missouri with a bustling houseful of relatives. This biennial holiday event affords us many pleasures that we miss out on in our day to day Silicon Valley life. We take the dog out (without a leash), feed the neighbor’s horses, chase our nieces through my father-in-laws 7.5 acre property, drink Folgers, spook guinea hens and at the end of a long day we lay in bed listening to the freight trains whistle through the night.  The lack of strong internet connection, traffic, stores, restaurants and entertainment transformed what can be a commercialized holiday into a true family occasion. It also meant that I got copious amounts of knitting done and ate vast quantities of homemade cookies. Here are just a few photos of the backdrop to our wonderful family Christmas…

Horse1

Landscape

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Wagon

Holiday Gifts: Just give the man what he wants!

So I realize that I’ve been a bit MIA… However, I have been taking on that challenge that comes but once a year: finding my husband’s Christmas present. Tis the season for pouring yourself over catalogs and webpages, digging through your significant other’s internet bookmarks, and desperately trying to read his mind in an attempt to know exactly what he is hoping to unwrap this Christmas.

I am a poor gift giver. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses and my weakness is gift giving. This is only further perpetuated by the fact that I KNOW that I am a poor gift giver. I wish that I was blissfully unaware of this trait… I wish that I could prance around all season long handing out ugly sweaters, lava lamps, and gaudy ornaments to all my nearest and dearest while remaining completely ignorant to their best attempts at feigned gratitude. Sadly, this is not the case. And since I am aware, I put a bit of extra pressure on myself in the days before Christmas. I research, bookmark, and make list after list after list.

This year, I was especially vexed over what to get for my husband. I had a few ideas, but none of them seemed like a home run. I wanted a grand slam! Deep down, I know that the gift doesn’t matter, but who doesn’t want to see their spouse’s face light up with surprise and joy and Christmas morning?

Last week, I realized that I was in BIG trouble. My husband was on the phone talking with his parents, with whom we will be spending the holidays. He started asking about a package… “Did you get it….” “Were you able to bring it inside…?” Then he closed the door so that I couldn’t hear and I knew he must be talking about my gift. It was more that 15 days until Christmas! He obviously had planned ahead. My heart sank, this could mean only one thing…. clearly, he had done something thoughtful.

Suddenly, I knew that I needed to get down to business. I googled… I brainstormed… I even made my poor husband do some word association exercises (his patience wore off quickly). Finally, I decided to do us both a favor: I bought him what he had asked for. No more pouring myself over strange “man” blogs, performing web searches for “cool husband gifts” and spending hour upon hour perusing thefancy.com. Just give the man what he wants!

Now, so that all my hard work may not be in vain, I feel it necessary to share some of the spoils of my toils with you. In the end, these items were ruled out for my husband (too much like last years gift…. too predictable, too fussy, too expensive, or in some cases too “flannel-y”). However, they might be just right for somebody on your shopping list.MensGifts1. Old Calgary Whiskey Wallet

2. Autodromo Monoposto Silver Dial Watch

3. Lander Urquijo Gloves

4. Gentleman’s Survival Kit. Get tips for putting your own together via pscmpf

5. Dan and Dave Vintage Plaid Playing Cards

6. Campfire Cologne. Worth watching the humorous “how to” video if nothing else…

7. Lander Urquijo Wool Plaid Ties

8. Gotham & Son’s Mercer Speakers

Cozy Historic Home

All Christmas, all the time.

I came across a tumblr today that is nothing but page after page of festive Christmas images. Do YOU need a little holiday fire lit under your bum? Are ya feeling a little Grinchy? You’ll be shooting tinsel out your ears by the time you hit page three of this tumblr…

Enjoy a little preview below and be sure to visit the real thing: Merry Christmas!

MerryChristmas2

images from merrychristmaschristmas.tumblr

MerryChristmas1

images from merrychristmaschristmas.tumblr

Deck the Halls: Holiday decor in our small space.

Gifts that give back

I loved this photo from Glassybaby’s tumbler. Check out this great tumbler, but don’t miss the company website, glassybaby.com where you can find out how Glassybaby got started and why the great people who make them have donated over $1,000,000 of their proceeds to charity. What’s a glassybaby? See below…

Hint hint, it’s a great gift idea!!!

Don't be deceived by the photo, these beautiful hand blown vessels are available in every color under the rainbow.

Don’t be deceived by the photo, these beautiful hand blown vessels are available in every color under the rainbow.

This year I purchased one for my grandma, “Oma,” for Christmas. Each glassybaby is named and I found a beautiful simple white one called “remembrance.” My grandpa passed away this fall, so I felt that this would be a thoughtful gift for her.

2012 Christmas Cards

The turkey has been roasted, the sweet potatoes mashed, and have finally recovered from Black Friday shopping, sooo, it must be Christmas time!!!!! This year’s first major project: Bring on the Christmas cards!

I used leftover charcoal cardstock and cut each 8.5" x 11" sheet down to fit my envelopes.

I used leftover charcoal cardstock and cut each 8.5″ x 11″ sheet into quarters. While trimming by hand is a bit more labor intensive then buying pre-cut cards, it is much cheaper. Each 8.5″ x 11″ sheet yields four cards that fit into a standard A7 envelope.

The front of each card is stamped with a snow covered winter tree. I used a metallic white ink pad and a great stamp from Paper Source.

The front of each card is stamped with a winter tree. I used a metallic white ink pad for contrast on the charcoal background. Tree stamp from Paper Source.

Using a red paint pen I added dots to resemble ornaments on each tree.

Using a red paint pen I added dots to resemble ornaments on each tree.

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For some extra Christmas flair… I bedazzled. I’m not typically the bedazzling sort, however, around the holidays I proudly wield my glitter and rhinestones. Self adhesive rhinestones: Michaels Arts and Crafts

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Silver pen to write our well wishes on the back of each card.

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You know your husband is a designer when you ask how the Christmas card looks and he says, “It needs something at the bottom to anchor it.” Wouldn’t most husbands either grunt or just smile and nod? Oh well, I married the designer and in this case, I think he was right. These glittery present stickers were $1.00 at the Dollar Tree. I cut off the bow and put them on the bottom so that the tree would look as if it had been planted in a festive pot.

The final product!

The final product! Simple but festive. Red envelopes: Paper Source.

My card wound up being pretty playful, which is okay with me. However, looking back on the first image of the tree before the ornaments, rhinestones and glitter pot, I think that this stamp could be used again in a whole new way. The stamped image alone is very elegant and peaceful. Perhaps next year it would be fun to use again as a tone on tone sort of thing. Maybe orange-red and embossed on a burgundy background? Also, since it isn’t the typical coniferous Christmas tree, I could use it for spring or fall… oh the endless options!