Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas!

under the Christmas tree
I'm the tiny baby... my first Christmas - and that's my brother, looking adorable.

Well, I know it's not Christmas yet, but if all goes well I should be headed home tomorrow evening and be gone for a little while. I was thinking of Christmas traditions, because there's a running list on Feeling Stitchy right now (feel free to take part!) Christmas and Thanksgiving always were (and continue to be) my 2 favorite holidays. I love the shorter days and darker nights, the extra twinkle the stars get when it's chilly, and just that feeling of happy expectation. When I was a kid, these were the times when my whole family got together - my oldest brother would come in from the navy, his dark peacoat full of mystery and unfamiliar smells. I would ask for him all year, and be ecstatic when he walked through the door.

I remember being so small I needed a boost to reach my chin to the table, and for many years sitting at the "kids table" in the kitchen with all the plastic-ware. I remember feeling so grown up, when I, the last of the kids, finally graduated to the family table, with the china we pulled out twice a year and heavy glassware. My sister and I would always consult the World Book Dictionary to remind us of the proper way to set the table....

We would eat turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and rolls. My job for many years was to put the ice in the glasses and serve the iced tea - I loved the clinky sound the ice cubes made as they hit the glass and the tinkling sound they made as I poured the tea over them. I loved bugging my mom as she basted and re-basted the turkey hour upon hour (but I'd mysteriously disappear whenever dishes had to be done.) There was always a long family prayer before we ate during which I'd fidget and peek hungrily at my plate.

As I got older the Christmas turkey tradition was left behind and replaced with a huge tamale feast - heaping platters full of all kinds of tamales: pork, beans, chicken with chile verde and beans with jalapeno. I loved the steam rising from the hot corn shucks, and of course, eating the tamales. I'll never stop loving the holidays because no matter where they are, or how you spend them, they always remind me how beautiful it is to have a family you can feast with. And sometimes the families you make are not necessarily the ones you were born with. But even change is beautiful.

I hope you and everyone you hold special is blessed and happy this holiday! See you next year!

P.S. Spam Alert - I'm sad to add this on a holiday post but my blog has been found by a human spammer. I assume they are human because they enter in the "captcha" phrase and have set up a Google/blogger account and blog. Their "blog" is just a collection of links that hawk car insurance. (Susan) FYI to keep an eye out for them. These human spammers go out of their way to say something that seems related to your post, then throw in an unrelated link to a site. So I've turned on comment moderation for all my blogs - please bear with me if it takes time for your comments to appear, especially now that I'll be out of town. I really appreciate your holiday wishes and will read and enjoy them all!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hello, hawk

hello, hawk

Lately we've been seeing a red-tailed hawk flying outside the windows and wondering where he roosts. Our guess is one of the tall terraces in the building across the street since he's (?) always in our area. Yesterday I saw him fly up to an AC unit and sit there for a few minutes, scoping out the view. I raced for my camera but went a bit crazy with my digital zoom, so pardon the fuzzies. :) His tail looks bright red in the sunshine when he flies - it's amazing to watch.

I've had such lazy afternoons, planning projects and not necessarily getting upset when I don't carry them out. I love the holiday season - the feeling of happy laziness and expectance. Hope you guys are enjoying it too!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Festive reds on the brain

festive reds
Festive reds by the following peeps:
1. piksi, 2. woolyhoodwinks, 3. kittytown / ghost academy

The holiday season always has a special delight for me: being surrounded by lots and lots of festive reds. So, above, are a few delights I've had on the brain - that last one from Megan of Ghost Academy really says what you think it says: "If you were a zombie, I would totally let you eat my brains." She is beyond awesome. :)

I found the amazing Piksi's photostream by way of another wardrobe genius whose closet I covet: Ranna of Only Shallow. So I thought I'd share a few of my faves from Ranna's wardrobe as well:

fave 1, fave 2, fave 3

What's your favorite color this holiday season? Are you all about the reds? Greens? Whites? Blues? Hope all is well!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

6 random shots

So, I've been tagged once more, this time by the lovely, beautiful Megan (whose wardrobe I covet on a daily basis). I was also tagged recently by Akazukin (who has some wonderful flickr pics, by the way) so I'm killing two birds with one stone. Not that I would ever kill birds, but, you know what I mean. :)

I've done the random things post a few times, so this time I thought I'd show you 6 totally random photos from my stream instead:
squinty Santa

by the window

snaggle toes

(My great aunt Flora, who I was not named after. I love her eyes.)

(Yes, I love Steve Martin, particularly in The Jerk.)

final photo session goodbye

Hope all is well - I've been busy enjoying the light snow (and today the light rain) and having tons of new ideas for stuff slosh around in my brain. And I'm mailing a menorah to a certain special someone tomorrow morning!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

I am in love with and want to marry this Kings of Leon song. To me it's what happy sounds like. Or it makes me happy. It's a chicken and egg thing, I don't know. Minute 1:57 - 2:19 in this song is how I've been feeling lately, enjoying the cool on my face and the clomp of my new shoes and the early December. Hey Tonight and Suffragette City are just the icing on the cake. Man, do I love Suffragette City. And Maggie May in the morning? What happy sounds like.

So much fun!

amazing bear (with fangs)

The Thursday night class at Madewell was awesome! We had the perfect turnout for the denim bar area - just enough stitchers to fit in the cozy space. We had stencils to trace but almost all our stitchers just picked up the chalk pencil and drew something all their own. My favorite original design had to be the one above - a cute bear with fangs. How awesome is that?

This stitcher used part of a coffee cup stencil, but inserted her own cute bunny:
cutest bunny cup ever

I was blown away by these stitchers: they just picked up a hoop and created amazing stuff and for many it was their first time stitching! We showed a basic running stitch to get started but some stitchers quickly moved on to lazy daisies, split stitch, and french knots! It was a blast chatting with them, sipping martinis, and everyone was surprised at how relaxing and fun embroidery can be.

The awesome ladies at Sublime Stitching sent over some goodies to hand out, so everyone left with a sheet of free iron-ons and amazing little heart + hypodermic needle button (who thought of that one? Jenny? genius!) I've been getting to know Cal mostly through blogging so it was a treat to sit down with her and watch her stitch. She showed me a "magic knot" and really rocked the french knot instruction. :) I know I've said it before, but it's an extra-special experience to share embroidery in person.

cool stitchers at Madewell

I'm so bad about taking pictures, but at least I got these two ladies who closed out the night with us! Thanks to everyone who came out, and especially Cal and the great ladies at Madewell who worked so hard to put this together: Gigi, Alix, Laura, and Casey.

Were you there? I would love to see photos of what you made - leave a comment or send me an email (unafloresita AT gmail DOT com)! Or better yet, join the Embroidery group on Flickr (totally free) and show us your stuff!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Exciting News... Free Embroidery Class at Madewell!

So, I have some exciting news... I'm teaching a free embroidery class at the Madewell store in Soho tomorrow (Thursday, Dec. 4) from 7-9 PM with an awesome designer, Cal Patch. Remember my holiday embroideries? We'll have everything you need to make a mini holiday embroidery of your own: hoops, denim squares, tracing paper, needles and thread. Free! There will even be some goodies from Sublime Stitching to take away!

small ideas

I'm so excited to be doing this event - I'm not sure how many of my blog readers live in New York, but if you're at all in the area, please come out! Madewell has a Facebook page you can check for more information and RSVP. Everyone in the store is super-friendly and absolute beginners are welcome. There's always great music and complimentary drinks (lychee martinis, anyone?). To me it's like a great club without all the sweaty people, and this time there's crafts, to boot! :)

Madewell is located at: 486 Broadway (at Broome), NY NY (click for a Google map)

And by the way, my legs are really not that long. And, ok, that's not even me in the photo... But you'll never know unless you come and see me in person, huh? In which case I am totally that girl and my legs are twice as long. Come see me if you want to prove me wrong! ;)

Seriously, though, come out and craft with us! :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Three things: Beads


From the following Flickrites:
1. Rosiecheeks, 2. irregular expressions, 3. Ula~

I like putting photos together in a small mosaic, and finding connections I didn't necessarily see at first... When I began, I thought the relationship between these 3 photos was bright green... then red... then red and green... then finally, when I looked harder I realized the relationship was beads. :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How I spent my birthday


An early breakfast of my favorite waffle with raspberry sauce at a diner, and narrowly missing cold and beautiful downpours that left every surface laden with wet, sparkling yellow leaves...

Then, listening to phone messages from loved ones and smiling, opening packages - one from my sister: full of craft supplies. Which led to an hour of delight arranging buttons in size, shape, and color:
button arranging

And, finding unexpected mysteries like a six-holed button:

Thanks to everyone who left a comment or linked back to my holiday ideas - wow, I'm still amazed at all your comments! :) Stay tuned for the event I made those for (I'll reveal soon!) :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Holiday ideas

a few holiday ideas...

I've been doodling ideas for awhile now for a little project I have coming up... this afternoon we finally got some sunshine so I sat down at a sunny table and crafted them up. These are all very small hoops - I used some dark blue corduroy from some pants I'm not digging anymore...

I have piles of old mother-of-pearl buttons which I finally used for this menorah:

I wanted to keep everything as simple as possible, using very basic stitches and only one color of thread:
small ideas

I'm kind of liking them... what do you think? :)
tiny snowflake

Thursday, November 6, 2008



I love the sunsets in the fall, and the way the evening light creeps in much earlier... I embroidered at another Madewell Denim After Dark event in Soho - so much fun. I'm always a tiny bit nervous being around new people, but it fades quickly when I see how excited and happy people are with their embroidery. There's also something so wonderful about having people be able to touch, comment on, and ask questions about what you're doing. I love the blogging experience, but having someone there in person, interacting with your craft is so exciting.

I also got to meet an amazing quilt artist, Julie Floersch, and buy one of her custom embellished bags:
beautiful bag I got at Madewell for $10

Seeing her work in person is incredible - it's so detailed and perfect. I can't even imagine how much her fingers must kill her after hand-stitching those tiny pieces of denim together. I'm not sure how long her pieces will remain in the store, but if you're near Soho you should definitely check them out.

I'll be embroidering at another event next Wednesday, and getting ready for a special event in early December, which I'll be sure to fill you in on as I know more about it. Things are so exciting now... I've decided I love fall the best in New York - the quiet, the cool, the light rain, the leaves. Hope all is well with you, too!

Friday, October 31, 2008

le Carotte in his bandit costume

le Carotte in his bandit costume

le Carotte just had to show you his new bandit costume... Trick or Treat!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Flashback Friday: Happy Halloween!


Here's a picture from my family album that I've always loved - I think that's my oldest brother on the far left - you can just see his cute smile behind his mask. Hope your day is spooky (but in the most fun way possible!) :)

Three Things Thursday: Coziness

1. green-apple, 2. bun-bun, 3. Living room

Each of these three photos bring me a feeling of happy coziness. I love October, as it is the very beginning of the cold, when the world is changing, the leaves are falling, and being warm in your coat brings a perfect feeling of coziness. The change in weather brings a rare desire to cook for me - tonight I made a chocolate rum cake and oodles of cupcakes. I'm never big on eating them - I just give them all away. My favorite part is the warm smell of the cake while it's cooking and licking the bowl, of course. :)

Wishing you coziness and happiness on this night before Halloween... and the next to last day of my blogging every day schedule! I've liked the schedule a whole lot more than I thought... it's really helped to focus my many thoughts. Thanks to everyone who has left encouraging comments, what a month it's been!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wardrobe Wednesday: Coats


I was trying to take a good photo of my new favorite coat and this happened instead. I believe in happy accidents. :)

Speaking of coats, I saw Penelope yesterday and thought it was so charming - but especially the set design and her wardrobe. At one point, she was wearing a purple coat with buttons of different sizes and colors all the way down, and I absolutely loved it. And I coveted her mary jane heels and tights. I also loved the beautiful interiors of her room, filled with old books, bugs, plants, and thread bobbins. I love films like this that create a fanciful, colorful, mysterious world my brain can live in for an hour.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tutorials Tuesday: Make a Color Image Black and White

before and after

I get this question A LOT by email, at Vintage Transfer Finds, and at Hoop Love, and I'm glad I finally found an easy, free way anyone can do this on Flickr.

Let's say you have a color scan or color photo of a vintage transfer and you want to make it black and white. Do you have to scan it all over again? Do you need Photoshop and a bunch of fancy image editing applications? Absolutely not! Instead, take advantage of the free editing options built into Flickr (using Picnik). For my example I used a color image I found in Hoop Love (thank you Lori, for adding it to the pool!)

How to Make a Color Scan or Color Photo Black and White
  1. In Flickr, click "Edit Photo" just above your photo (on the right hand side).

  2. When Picnik loads, click "Colors".

  3. Drag the Saturation bar as far left as possible (-100). Voila! Your picture should look like a grayscale image now.

  4. Now, to make your image black and white, Click "Exposure".

  5. Drag the Exposure and Contrast bars to the right until your image is a nice sharp black and white.

  6. Optional: Add Text! Click the Create tab, then click "Text" to add your name and any message you'd like to leave.

  7. Click Save (you can either save a new image or replace the old image in your Flickr stream). Here's the finished image: not bad for a free editor, eh?

I hope this quick tutorial was helpful! Later I may do a longer tutorial on how I scan my vintage transfers - it'll be more time-intensive since I use Photoshop for a lot of the steps.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mosaic Monday: Ghosts

1. Ghost*World, 2. Jenny S, 3. Halloween embroidery

Thank you so much for your movie suggestions! I love The Orphanage (so creepy!), The Devil's Backbone, Asian horror, and all Hitchcock. I haven't seen the Charlie Brown special in a long time... I'll have to look for that this week on TV. :) I love hearing about your Halloween traditions - keep them coming! I hope to watch the village Halloween parade (preferably on TV), a few scary films, and stay inside with some sweet treats and Mexican hot chocolate...

One of my favorite things to do as a child was listen to scary stories. I'm not sure if Hispanic culture was bigger on ghost stories than others, but we had TONS of stories / urban legends we'd whisper to each other at sleep overs. There was la Llorona, el Cucui, the goat man that haunted the bridge, the haunted train tracks, and midget mansion. What about you? Do all of you love ghost stories too? And, just because I'm curious, do any of you believe in ghosts? :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Stitchy Saturday: Ghosts and Gouls

ghosts and ghouls

Stitched from free patterns by Annie Oakleaves. Am I the only one that craves a good, scary movie this time of year? Does anyone have any good suggestions? Hint: I am not big on gory films, but I am very hard to scare... :)

Oh, and here's a frequent problem I have with French knots, which at least ended up looking like a creepy hanging eyeball (perfect on a ghost):
unintentionally hanging eyeball

I'm so excited about Halloween this year! Are any of you going to any fun parties or events? Do any of you have any fun yearly Halloween rituals? Please let me know so I can live vicariously! :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Flashback Friday: Tricycles

Me and my big brother, on our tricycles. I particularly love our unintentionally matching outfits... :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Three Things Thursday: Indigo and Purples

1. A Child's Garden of Verses, 2. ~maive~, 3. little-yellow-hen

Lately I've been pulling out my hair putting together a site design. One of the most challenging things for me (aside from predicting how a site is going to look on 5,000 different screens and browsers) is color. So I've been creating little color chips in Photoshop of sites that inspire me, using the color picker to pick out little bits of loveliness. Using the same method I picked out colors from the 3 photos above...

3 palettes

And lastly, 3 things I saw that delighted me:

  1. A young man reading Pablo Neruda on the subway, near enough for me to eavesdrop and read snatches of beauty over his shoulder...
  2. A guy in a puffy parka just behind him, composing a rap out loud and saying to his friend, "I need pen and paper, I gotta write this s*** down!"
  3. Fat, fluffy sparrows hopping in the underbrush.