Monday, October 28

DFW spells Metroplex

I spent last weekend in Dallas so that my sons, Tex and Bandit, could compete at the St. Mark's Invitational Debate in the Cross X Policy Debate division. I have no idea what most of that means. I told them it was going to be just like a vacation except they got to do exactly what they wanted. And so did I. Friday was spent in Ft. Worth where I visited some old and new haunts. First, was a trip to the Cabbage Rose Quilt Shop where I had purchased my Kaffe Fassett Hot Diamonds Quilt. The shop has moved across the street, it's bigger and even better than I remember and I picked out some perfect solids to calm down those hothothot prints. Lunch at the Swiss Pastry Shop where they use the exact same recipe for their killer Black Forest Cake(no cherries) from when I was a teenager. I made a trip to the Kimbell Art Museum(I worked there one summer during college) to see the Picasso/Matisse exhibit (very well curated---Brancusi, Modigliani, Max Ernst treats) and to view some old friends (loves me some Vigee Le Brun). And I even had time to see the Cowgirl Museum (I snuck in the photo above). What a treat! And the gift shop is a lot of fun!
Debates start early, end late and there's a dress code. I feel like I'm living with teenaged Mormons on the weekends. I decided to introduce the boys to the retro side of Dallas dining. We had a great dinner at Javier's (filete Cantinflas, of course) and the next night was a total blast at Campisi's Egyptian Lounge where we all maxed out on really cheap and really good RatPack Italian. Speaking of cheap, I had the most amazing Vietnamese food at Bistro B with my old SNB pal, Renee. The combo Banh Mi was YUM and be sure to order the crunchy pork rolls as well as the duck rolls. We decided to stop by The Woolly Ewe for dessert.

Epic fail. The shop is VERY different from what I remember. It used to be the hot chick of yarn, full of surprises, new lines and amazing samples that turned you into a zombie marching up to the register with a full year's yarn budget in your basket. Now? Divorce and menopause. And I know what divorce and menopause feels like, ladies. A cry for normal surrounded by a rare hot flash of sexy surrounded by mom jeans and some really tired scarves. It was the first time I've ever walked out of a yarn shop empty handed. Yeah. I know.
So, here are the solids I picked out for my hot prints.

And here's one of the first blocks. It's a little fussy with the piecing and you're not going to bang out 10 in one day BUT look at how pretty it sets up!

Wednesday, October 16

Fabric Therapy and the Diva Princess Bordello

Yesterday, a neighbor asked me if I quilted and we proceeded to have a nice chat about charm packs, jelly rolls and layer cakes. (these are all pre-cut fabric packs, FYI) Quilting really has gotten zippier in the past few years! Especially since the fabric companies realized that we all enjoy a little instant gratification when it involves NOT having to cut a bunch squares.

 With quilts on the brain, I took the morning to 'curate' my collection of quilting and fashion fabrics. Looking through my fabrics is like flipping through an album of the past 20 years or so. There are fabrics that I bought on trips and others that I stashed while living in France (toile, provencal prints, silk chiffon). Some are clearly for skirts and dresses while others are strictly patchwork. Scraps remain from quilts large and small, curtains from another house, skirts long since retired and a little bit of everything else. Why do I have 3 yards of a bold watermelon print? And am I really going to make a pale pink Jackie O dress with the linen I bought at Rex fabrics in Miami like 10 years ago? Do I really need to hang onto every dinky quilt scrap? Mainly, what this album shows is someone who was clearly trying to bury herself in busyness to avoid some big holes in other parts of her life. (And let's not even talk about the yarn stash right now) A little wave of melancholy passed over me and then...
I rediscovered the Kaffe Fassett Hot Diamonds quilt kit.
I had seen this quilt on the wall at the Cabbage Rose Quilt Shop in Ft. Worth, TX. It was big and beautiful and had more hot pink and fuchsia roses than a Diva Princess Bordello. I wavered about 5 seconds before pouncing on the pretty little package that included over 20 prints and a copy of "Kaffe Fassett's Kaleidoscope of Quilts." I swear to God I was going to make that quilt, fly to Malta and drape it over the first stone wall I found just like almost every supersaturated quilty photo in that book. It was going to be Diva Princess Bordello time with some earthy red wine, night blooming jasmine and that quilt on a big 'ol four poster bed just waiting to be violated. Well, that was the idea until Ex took one look at all that red, pink, fuchsia and magenta and starting blinking like he just had a visual hairball and was desperately trying to remove it. And so Hot Diamonds went into the depths of a Rubbermaid bin, patiently maturing like a fine wine.
 Now, the thing is, I still love the fabrics but I'm not so keen on Hot Diamonds anymore. I want a pattern that is a little calmer, more cohesive. So, I started perusing my other Kaffe Fassett quilt patterns and came across Sunny Frames.
But the squares looked a little too chunky for my taste.
My neighbor had mentioned how much she loved the My Sister & Me charm packs, so I went to their website to look at their patterns and voila! Pin Curls (reminds me of the Tory Burch logo) would allow me to use a solid to unify all the prints and have a distinctive design. Now, which solid works best???
We got yer turquoise, rusty brown and fuchsia. Feel free to weigh in on this because I haven't made my mind up and I'll need to buy the solid color. I decided to blend the two designs and came up with this. Now, does that scream Diva Princess Bordello or what???

Wednesday, October 9

I'm not the only one...

who is intrigued by the world of perfumes and scent! I just finished "Coming to My Senses: A Story of Perfume, Pleasure, and an Unlikely Bride," by Alyssa Harad. Go read the proper reviews elsewhere. All I can say is that Harad's book is utterly charming. So charming, that I spent all afternoon reading it with my copy of "Perfumes: The Guide," by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez at my side. So charming, that I then went online and figured out her signature scent, ordered a sample of it plus three others that I was interested in. And there wasn't any sex or swearing (I loves me some dirty dirty every once in awhile)---now, THAT really is charming!

 I have always enjoyed identifying perfumes on people. For instance, I had drinks with my ex-husband and his parents last week. After his father asked me to consider remarrying their son in 10-15 years, I leaned over to kiss my former mother-in-law goodbye. "Ah, you smell great! What are you wearing?" I asked her. "Yves St. Laurent" was her reply. Well, that is an old trick, my friend. Just like getting a recipe from a French grandmother who 'accidentally' leaves out the key ingredient. Yves St. Laurent can mean any number of fragrances but I went into my mental scent vault and pulled out...Paris. A big-assed floral that almost has a tantrum before drying down to the "Come sit by me and I'll tell you a secret" school of perfume. I'm more of a spice, earth, touch of lemongrass kind of gal with a true appreciation for what a really well done floral can smell like. Like the most gorgeous bouquet of flowers all smooshed into a bottle. Now, is that charming, classy or sexy....you decide.

 Sooo, this morning when I volunteered to oversee the Homecoming election table between voting times at Austin High School (after my sons fairly sprinted away from me in the parking lot like I was the original MomCootie), I pulled out my book and mentioned that I was interested in perfume. "Oh, really?" was the response I got from one person while "Ahhhh...." was from the other. I'm used to it. Harad gets used to it beautifully!

 OK, for yer information: I ordered samples of Coco Chanel, Malle's Une Rose, Guerlain's Plus Que Jamais and Ginestet's Botrytis. Botrytis means 'noble rot' in winemaking terms. Did you ever see the episode of "Big Bang Theory" where the girls go to Disneyland and dress up as princesses and the show ends with the responses of their respective boyfriends? Uh, Botrytis would be Penny and Leonard. FYI: Alyssa Harad curated this scent for the All Souls Book Trilogy over here.