Monday, March 31, 2014

Sip n Sewcial This Friday in NYC

Happy Monday! I hope you had a nice and productive weekend.  It rained here in New York but the weather is in the 50's!  What did you do this weekend? Any sewing? Are you working on any tough projects?  This Friday on April 4th I will be teaching at the first Sip n Sewcial at the Sewing Studio in Manhattan.  I am so excited about this event!  I know when I was single and childless sometimes I just preferred to hangout at home on a Friday night and do some sewing, enjoy a glass of wine or two.  The bar scene gets very old, very quick.   Who am I kidding, I still like to hang out at home and sew or do some other craft on a Friday night! 

Apron making

Busy bees

A student's shirt coat from Intro to Sew 2

If you are working on a project, want to start a new project, want some guidance or just want to be crafty and meet some new creative people you should come to the Sip n Sewcial.  It starts at 6 pm and goes until 10 pm.  You have full use of the sewing machines, the sergers, irons, and huge, spacious tables!  You can't find that in NYC!  If you need some help on a project I will be there to answer any questions.  Or if you want to try something new I will be teaching my Spring Infinity Scarf. 

Spring Infinity Scarf

To secure your spot you can pre-pay for your ticket here on Eventbrite

If you would like to make the Spring Infinity Scarf bring a half yard each of two different fabrics and matching thread.  For my scarf above I used 3 scrap pieces of Liberty of London and this reverses to Essex by Robert Kaufman.  

I almost forgot to mention, wine is provided!

Hope to see you there!
And have a crafty week!


Friday, March 28, 2014

Help me pick! New Liberty of London Pocket Squares and a Giveaway!

Bourton Pocket Square

Spring is finally here! Well at least the calendar says so.  I am adding a new Liberty of London pocket square to the collection in my Etsy Shop.  I am hoping you can help me pick which design to add.

And to thank you for your hard efforts I will be giving away one pocket square with the new design. Just leave me your opinion in the comment section.   As you can see each style has the name written in black.  The pocket square will have a folded hem with matching thread.  Similar to this one:

So tell me what you think!  Will it be the birds in Strawberry Thief?  Or maybe the pink trucks in Hunter?  You have until Thursday April 3rd 11:59 pm EST, to leave a comment.  The winner will be announced Friday April 4th.

And have a great weekend!


Monday, March 24, 2014

City to Farm: The Bucolic Plague Book

photo from I just want to hug these cuties!
 The story starts off with a trip to NYC, a 2 plus hour drive, bringing baby goats to the Martha Stewart show.  Babies ate too much milk and end up having diarrhea.  If you have a baby or ever had a kitten or puppy and you were traveling and they have become sick you can understand the humor of this situation.  Just this past year I was on a train from Boston with Harper, now 10 months old, and she was sick.  There were lots of diaper changes and it was an unpleasant smell.  At one point the conductor just kept walking past us while we were mid diaper change.  I digress.  My point is you can appreciate the situation.  This is the opening of Bucolic Plague.  A book I finished recently and thoroughly enjoyed.  Maybe it is because I, like many New Yorkers dream about having a place outside of the city.

Josh Kilmer-Purcell is the author.  He and his boyfriend head to upstate New York for their seventh annual apple picking weekend when they put on "their best Ralph Lauren plaids".  Being a designer, a gardener and lover of outdoors I already am enjoying this story a few pages in.  On their way back to the city they loose their way and land in Sharon Springs.  A historic town west of Albany.  They see a beautiful, very old mansion and it is getting dark.  The rest as they say is history.  Briefly, these guys work in the city.  Josh as a writer and works in advertising; Brett, his boyfriend, is a physician and works at Martha Stewart Living.  They end up buying the Beekman Mansion right before the recession hit in 2008.  The book is about their first year at the mansion.  Trying to keep the mansion up and running, bringing in goats, building an heirloom garden all while maintaining their relationship and shuttling back and forth to the city for their regular paying jobs.
Bucolic Plague
  It was a great story to read as I wished for winter to be over and spring weather arrive.  It inspired me to get my heirloom tomato seeds planted.  It also gave me some insight to the reality of owning a farm.  However I think I would prefer something a tad smaller. now has a gorgeous variety of items to purchase from their mercantile.  Videos of the goats are ridiculously cute and there also are a few more books out about the Beekman Mansion, mainly cooking and dessert.  You can learn about farming, gardening, decor and animals.

Photo from Beekman1802 Facebook page

A good read! I loaned it to a friend so we shall see if she agrees!
Have you read this book or seen their show, the Beekman Boys?
What do you think?

Monday, March 17, 2014

It Ain't Easy Being Green

Happy Monday and Happy St. Patrick's Day! Being half Irish-American I feel an obligation to do something to celebrate my heritage on this day!  Here are a few green things that caught my attention in the past few days.  Starting with a lovable friend to many... Kermit. 
Photo from the NY Times
This past Friday in the NY Times was an article about the new Muppets movie coming out.  How I look forward to when Harper is old enough to enjoy these types of flicks.  Kermit the frog has an impostor, an evil twin named Constantine.  Another reason to check out the movie, Tina Fey is in it and with a German accent. Oh boy!

Whiskey is an Irish favorite and on of my latest favorite websites, Food52, I spotted these hand blown glasses made in Seattle. 

Handblown whiskey glasses from Food52
Why not enjoy some Jameson tonight?

How about some colorful cabbage? Spotted on Martha Stewart, since I am not a big fan of corned beef, having some colorful cabbage is a good way to give a nod to the Emerald Isle.

roasted mixed cabbages from
There is a new Irish bar opening in my neighborhood.  Although I usually do not like to partake in the festivities on St. Pat's day (too many people are out getting drunk), Andy and I may visit this new bar to toast my heritage.  Then come home, have some turkey reubens with a potato dish and maybe a Jameson. 

How will you be celebrating?
However are celebrate I hope you have a lovely St. Patrick's Day!

Tracey O'Toole

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Inspired by Nature

Puur Anders from decor8 blog

I am not sure if it is because of the long winter we have or global warming or maybe it is becoming a trend but I have been noticing so many forms of artificial flowers.  I have seen them in many forms of media; mostly a paper or fabric version.  They are so simple and beautiful but I have a feeling a little bit difficult to make.
On Decor8 this past week Puur Anders was featured.  Based in the Netherlands and also sells on Etsy she sometimes prints pictures on to fabrics or buys vintage photos.

photo from Puur Anders

Another version of paper flowers is being seen in a book by wife and husband team Thuss and Farrell.  The book is called Paper to Petal.  The cover is absolutely beautiful, as well as the photos inside.

Brooklyn Craft Company based in Greenpoint has been posting paper flowers this week.  Stay tuned, maybe they will be having a class on making a lovely centerpiece to welcome the spring!

Photo from Brooklyn Craft Co Instagram

Some more paper flowers that will usher in spring sooner, hopefully.  A cute little shop on etsy called Flower Thyme. Love that name!

So if you are slightly impatient for the warmer weather and picking your own flowers, you can craft some up for your table.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Craft Monday: Lace Collar Necklaces, Delicate Sophistication

From EPUU on Etsy

Independent collars remind me of dickies.  Dickies remind me of my mother.  I think she may have made me wear one when I was younger, which was traumatic.  Ok I am not talking about Dickies the clothing brand, but rather the mid century sleeveless and bodiless turtlenecks.

See the dickey thru the sweater? Thanks theNatos blog for the photo.  I watched this movie twice over the holidays. My sister didn't get why I think it is so funny.

But let me move onto something I find very pretty, delicate and a new trend. 
I opened up Etsy one day and saw this beautiful collar made of handwoven lace.  From designer EPUU in Turkey these beautiful vintage inspired pretty.  Not at all cheesey, in my mind, like dickies.  Of course this is just my opinion, I am sure dickies were quite popular among my mother's generation.  And Randy Quaid's character in National Lampoon Christmas Vacation.

A few years ago when I was designing mens sportswear full time, I received a shirt sample from a factory in Korea.  They were looking for business and factories will send samples to show off their work.  Well this sample was a sweater with a woven shirt collar sewn into it.  It just didn't work.  It's interesting, it seems on mens clothing the dickey or collars alone just don't work.  However for women, like above or below, a single collar can look so unique and Victorian in a very simple and sophisticated way.

Lace Peter Pan Collar from Luminia

The above collar is from Luminia on Etsy. It is handmade lace with a black satin collar.  The floral details will look so pretty on a basic knit or woven top.

On Burdastyle I found this very pretty lace collar.  If you follow the link you will land at Mod Cloth which is another fave website of mine. 

lace collar from Burdastyle

I love the lace collar because it is a simple, different and an economical way to change up a top.

Now, I just need to learn how to crochet lace!

Happy Crafting and Happy Monday!


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

In Like a Lion out like a Lamb

Harper bundled up in her neon pink stroller bag and her new flannel/fleece scarf.

Really? At the moment I am so bewildered by this phrase.  In like a lion out like a lamb.  What does that even mean?  I am starting to feel like this winter is more like an elephant; heavy and slow.  But if the true meaning of in like a lion and out like a lamb really does ring true then the end of this month should be lovely!  I woke up today to 13 degrees Fahrenheit.  The weather is on every one's mind.  I went to the wine shop last night, weather conversation.  Next was the grocery store, weather conversation.  This morning I dropped off the bundled up little Harper, weather conversation.  Coffee shop afterwards, yep you guessed it, we talked about the weather.  Oh how drab and boring but no the conversation doesn't get boring but yes it does grow tiresome.

One can't help but naturally be drawn to warmer weather things.  I ordered my seeds last week from a newly discovered website, Seeds Savers Exchange.  They seem to have a large variety of heirloom seeds and promote the history and heritage of native plants.  I have a very small area in my own yard for a garden but I just learned I am number 5 on the wait list for the local community garden.  I have been waiting two years.   I ordered the heritage farm favorites, I think I am most looking forward to growing and eating the dragon carrot!

This last month I was busy blogging about fabric definitions so I do have so much to tell you.  My other warm weather obsession has been a book I just finished last night.  And it was one of those books I really did not want to end; The Bucolic Plague.  A book about 2 men who buy a mansion and farm upstate while still living in the city and try to make a go of it.  I really enjoyed it and it only makes me want my only little farm a bit more.

Bucolic Plague

I also have been working on a Colette Pattern, the Negroni.  I am first making it in muslin since I have never worked on one of her patterns before.  I am almost done.  It is interesting to see how others create patterns since my training is in mens woven shirts.  I really like her company.  The company is based in Portland, her website is fun and user friendly and she sends out great newsletters.  I tell all of my students they should sign up for them.  

In the meantime I will just wait for my vegetable seeds to arrive and keep braving this weather. 
What are you doing to stay warm and keep your spirits up?