28 October, 2007

this is halloween (2007)

if there were a winner at greg and dana's annual pumpkin-carving party, this year it would have been greg, hands down.
this was his pumpkin. it was fantstic. he even made the spider that is hanging out on the side of the web -- made it by cutting off the bottom of the pumpkin, carving it into the spider shape, and spray painting it black.
good work, friend.

and these, (below) were my pumpkins:

itty-bitty happy and sad.
(i love carving the super-small pumpkins; every year someone says, "you can't carve those pumpkins!" and every year, i say, "i do it every year, watch me." i think that i've carved the very same face every year -- since college.)

and a mustache!

i also made chocolate bat cookies -- because, they're not just for christmas!

(and greg made THE most delicious cranberry-apple crumble. it was so good, i ate way more of it than i should have. i didnt get a picture -- i was too busy shoving forkfuls of it into my mouth.)

17 October, 2007

kj and the dream of horses

ponies! ponies! ponies!

a little crazy to be working on so many pony projects at the same time (i am currently working on four separate ponies) - and a little premature to be posting about them... but i'm just so excited i had to share some pictures of the works in progress.
i hope that not a single one of these turns into an eternally-unfinished project.

(yeah yeah yeah -- ponies/horses are sooooo three or four years ago. big deal. 1 - since when do i give a hoot about trends? and 2 - i grew up with horses and ponies -- and, i have been bitten by a horse two different times in my life {spiderman was only bitten by the spider once - so what does that make me?} so -- i've got horse-cred; i'll embroider ponies if i want to.)

ruffle my feathers

this is what i had actually planned on doing with the silver embroidery thread -- feathers.
but the silver was too difficult to work with for detail this fine; the strands couldnt be separated and the texture was too stiff and wiry. but this ivory floss is juuuust right. soft and fine.
this is the first time i am working with linen -- and i positively love it.

i embroidered the feathers a week or two ago, and finally got around to hemming the edges to turn this into a handtowel.

i am actually really really pleased with it.

wouldnt you know, though -- the day after i finish this first feather handtowel -- i go out on my lunchbreak and pick up the new issue of Martha Stewart Living, and what does it have in it -- feather linens...
hers(theirs)are different than mine (they are so nice, actually) -- but still!

feathers! on linens! (image of page from martha stewart living november 2007)

AND! cross stitch (image of page from martha stewart living november 2007)

AND! gold leaf! (image of page from martha stewart living november 2007)

it wasnt enough that she painted her house the same pink color as i painted my bedroom a year and a half ago (the may 2007 issue)... i swear her people are watching me...

14 October, 2007

gold leaf

first there was the silver thread.
and then there was gold.

i bought them both at the same time, but was slightly less excited about the gold than the silver. i'm not much of a gold girl; i guess i usually find it to be a bit garish -- i'd much prefer silver or platinum, please. (then again, i'm not much of a jewelry girl at all, really.)
however -- i've found much inspiration lately for the combination of black and gold.
first -- it was beautiful jewelry chains of sparkly gold and dull black that my good friend janna has been making (and if she ever gets her website up, i will link to them!), then -- it was a black and gold ring worn by sweet miss julia, my new co-worker.

and then -- it was the hues of autumn -- it has enabled me to make another step in the whole cross-stitch kick i've been on..
black tree silhouettes (which i do love so very much - especially when you see them at dusk, with a dark, but still colorful sky behind them -- central park is an especially lovely place to see this...) -- but it isn't quite winter yet -- they've still got their leaves. the leaves may have dried up, but they still have a sparkle to them.

maybe nature's last green is gold, too? (not just her first...)it is the hardest hue to hold...

(hmmmm -- ponyboy -- more foreshadowing?)

06 October, 2007


here's how i framed the cross-stitch silhouettes that i did.
i used the tops of cigar boxes. these things have been with me for a loooong time -- since i lived in boston.
when i first moved to boston, i worked at a great old-fashioned cigar/tobacco/old-cool-stuff shop (leavitt & peirce in harvard square). we went through a lot of cigar boxes, many of which were separated from their lids for display purposes. well, i took the lids home with me, painted them to look like dark wood, and then mounted postcards to them and hung them up as frames.
recently, when i moved into this apartment in brooklyn, i repainted them (glossy black this time, to match the decor of my room) and put new images in them.
and now i have taken those images out and intend to fill all of the "frames" with cross-stitch pieces.
here's the beginning.

more to come -- eventually.

cloudy with a chance of great

i'm happy to say that i have completed the little series project that i was obsessing over for the past few weeks.
it all started with this beautiful silver embroidery thread.

i saw it and i had to have it, though i didnt know exactly what i was going to do with it. and then i came up with an idea and tried it out with little success and much frustration. this stuff is not really so easy to work with. it cannot easily be split into single strands, which is what i had intened on doing with it....
and then that little saying popped into my head, "every cloud has a silver lining."
and that is how it started. i had already been really into cross-stitch, and was working on all-black silhouettes, which is the style of cross-stitch that got me hooked in the beginning. so i thought, hmmm, a black cloud silhouette with a silver lining. okay.
and here it was.

well, i knew it wasnt exactly as great as i had intended, but i saw the potential and the idea was growing.
and then i conceded that cross-stitch didnt HAVE to be all-black silhouettes. and so i mixed it up. i got embroidery floss in varying shades of grey.

i was increasingly happier with the shape and execution of each cloud that i did. after a bunch of single clouds of varying colors using the same size embroidery hoop, i moved onto little groupings of same-colored clouds. and by this time, i was obsessed. i wanted to make more and more and more and more.
eventually, i was limited by the number of embroidery hoops that i had. and that was probably a good thing, because really, i would have kept going until i had a whole wall-full.
the last one that i did was this white cloud.

i liked the idea of barely being able to see the white stitches on the white fabric. (and, once i get more hoops, i will do one that doesnt have any filler at all - just the silver lining). but then i got excited by the idea of giving the cloud a little bit of dimension through shading. it worked. i was pleased.

i wanted to hang these floating all over a wall. i framed them within their embroidery hoops, painting the smaller, cheap hoops black (i tried white and it just didnt look good at all), and leaving the quality, vintage hoops as they were.

um, and this is just because i am a geek:

i finished the clouds yesterday. and then last night i was making the dough for a tart that i am making for a dinner party tonight (mmmm, pear-ginger tart....). well the tart dough called for egg yolks. so i had left over egg whites. and what can one make from egg whites? meringues. oh, i do love meringues. anyway, while i was piping the puffs onto the parchment, i was struck with the idea -- hey! clouds! light, fluffy, white -- just like meringues -- and so i stopped making standard swirly meringues and made cloud-shaped ones instead. what a sweet little stroke of serendipity.

04 October, 2007

clouds in my coffee

this is how i like to start my mornings.
a big latte bowl full of lots of frothy milk on top of espresso-brewed coffee. i like to sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top and then eat the top layer of sugary froth with a spoon like creme brulee. mmmmmmm.

oh, and while on the subject of coffee: here's my latest embellishment to every-day life: the jar that my coffee beans live in got a little crafty make-over with a scrap of fabric, some bias tape, and some glue..

a note to my dear readers: the title of this post is a case of what is known in literature as "foreshadowing." now, usually (except in the case of post-modern literature) the author does not point out the foreshadowed element. however, i am caffeinated, and giddy with the excitement of being close to finishing and revealing the project i've been working on for the past month. watch for it. oh, and it has nothing to do with carly simon, or, for that matter, janet jackson.

02 October, 2007

a-la peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

so, you are thinking, "um, yeah, kimberly, pb&j, big deal..." well, i retort, it is a big deal when it's A PB&J COOKIE! hahahah! these things are hilarious. a few weeks ago, i bought myself some new cookie cutters (from my top-secret source; sorry). i was helping to throw a mustache party for my sister's 30th birthday, so i needed (needed, got that?) a mustache cookie cutter. while shopping, i came across the bread-slice-shaped cookie cutter. i debated about if i needed that one or not and ultimately decided that yes, i did need it.
well the other day, i was out with my good friend greg. we stopped into Moon River Chattel (super fantastic store on Grand Street in Williamsburg) and i happened to admire a lovely set of oval fluted cookie cutters. greg, being the great friend that he is, bought them for me. while he was paying, we chatted with the woman at the store about cookie making. she suggested i make peanut butter cookies, and greg, usually not much of a cookie fan, agreed. so -- i had it in my head to make peanut butter cookies. but to find a recipe for peanut butter roll-and-cut cokies... tricky, as most peanut butter cookie doughs are too dry and crumbly for rolling and cutting. martha had one, though (although it is DEFINITELY not written correctly -- it calls for 7 cups (!?!?) of flour - i used 3 and they were almost too dry).
so -- i thought pb&j cookies would be a great use for the bread-slice cutter.
they look just like sandwiches! hooray!

here's a plain piece of toast cookie.

and here are those beautiful new fluted-oval cookie-cutters put to use. (thank you, greg!) these ones are sandwiched with chocolate filling in the middle.. mmmm. peanut butter and chocolate...

01 October, 2007

mis en place

i spent sunday crafting at janna's house. she worked at her jewlers' bench while i used her big dining room table for cutting fabric. while we were working, she asked if i could make her a new tool roll -- as hers was looking pretty funky thanks to a student spilling rubber cement on it. i was happy to take the challenge and worked only with materials that she and i had on hand.. some fabric that i had brought with me, a ribbon from her sewing box, and the tread that was in my sewing machine (which i also toted over to her house).
i do believe it turned out pretty well!

all wrapped up and ready to go...

the old tool roll and the new one...