Archive for April, 2010

Mother’s Day Gift Guide #2

Acquiring a second family is one of the joys of marriage.  Seriously.  I know that not everyone feels this way, but I have been lucky in that my “in-law” family is warm and loving–and has a lot of funny quirks and interesting drama.  So, pretty much perfect.  My mother-in-law is a lovely lady who I first met before David and I started dating when she came to visit him in college (that was almost ten years ago, now!).  She drove all the way from New Jersey to Kentucky by herself, which is shocking to me because I can hardly drive 30 minutes to work without dozing off at the wheel.  Just before she started her trip, she took in a stray kitten.  She didn’t trust David’s dad or little brother to keep it alive while she was gone, so she brought it with her!  There was a lot of drama with hiding said kitten in the room at the B&B where they were staying–no pets allowed! 

My MIL is the kind of person who Dresses.  We will go out to eat and I will scramble to find a shirt and jeans that are not stained/wrinkled/dirty and she will show up in what I think of as an ensemble–sweater set, skirt, pantyhose and heels, hair freshly done, makeup perfect.  It’s impressive, to say the least.  Is your mom or MIL like this?  Well, here are some things she might like:

Piccola Ninfea pouch in blue cement  I think MIL would benefit from a clutch wardrobe.  I am willing to start that wardrobe with this handmade modern, but still classic one. 

Chanel Lip gloss.  I think it’s time for a lip gloss upgrade. 

 

The Top Ten Literature and Fiction books from 2009  I could talk books all day with her–she reads the best books and then passes them on to me!  (lucky me!)

Eagle Creek Pack-it Custom Travel Bottle Set

Airplane charm, Moleskine Travel Journal, Pack it Custom Travel Set.  Somebody’s now a Jet-Setter! 

Rubberstamp bookplates–for all those books I borrow and never return 🙂

We built a table!!

After discussing AT LENGTH what kind of furniture we would need to accommodate our exhausting summer social schedule*, we finally decided that we needed a small conversation area and a gigantic table. We need to seat at least eight people, because we like to set up our single friends with eachother and it’s a bit more subtle if you have a larger group than if it’s just Us and Them. Also for flipcup.

Before I talk more about the table, I will say that I got THE BEST DEAL EVER on patio furniture. We got this set

from World Market (it’s not available anymore) for less than $200 with shipping and everything! 

ANYWAY, with the table, we weren’t so lucky.  We were looking for a farmhouse-style table, but just couldn’t find one that we could agree on.  Then, I found knock off wood (by way of one pretty thing) and the simple instructions that she gives, along with the regular people who built nice things empowered us to make this table! 

First, we built the frame:
SAM_0184
As you can see, Maxwell was extremely interested in this whole process. I’m pretty sure he thought we were building him a bed. What a disappointment we are as his owners.

Then, we put in some supports:

SAM_0185
Did you notice the wet deck, there? Yeah, it was raining. I was so obsessed with this project that I made David work in the rain to finish it. Poor thing…

Then we screwed on our top boards:
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Look how bad the weather is! Oh my, I’m feeling a bit guilty now…

And then, I dropped the drill bit and it fell underneath the deck. YES, I CAN SOMETIMES BE FIDGETY. THIS IS NOT A CRIME, DAVID.

The next day, we screwed on the legs and put a table cloth on it so that we can take our sweet time agreeing on an appropriate finish for it.

SAM_0189

We are a lot like congress in that it probably will take us forever to make a decision about that and when we do, one of us will not be happy.

Affected by the Season

I feel the same way about both spring and fall: even though I love these seasons more than any other, all I can think about is how quickly they pass.  The bulbs bloom for a week, then they die back, the trees are covered with flowers now, but come May, they’ll turn into green leaves.  Which are pretty, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something about a 20 foot tree covered in tiny pink flowers that makes me just stare at it.  So spring and fall make me really happy, but also a little sad.

But then that dogwood tree finally opened up for us.

dogwood 1
dogwood 2

So I’m leaning more toward happy right about now.

And, lest you think we are not contributing to the beautification efforts around here, we’ve got some plants in the ground and in pots (not to mention the herbs, lettuce and peas–which are looking lovely already)!

mviolas

Pansies get such a bad rap because of how they treated Alice in Wonderland. I think they’re as sweet as can be and don’t they sort of look like cat faces?

She’s a shy one

After spending week wrapped up in tight little buds, our irises finally decided to open up for us.
iris

I know she doesn’t do it on purpose

My impoverished friends and I have a problem: Our mothers and fathers make themselves impossible to shop for.  Now that their moneypit children are out of the house, they merrily spend their money on the things that they want.  Which is awesome.  Until Mothers’ Day.  Then it sucks.  So, poor children of the world, Aunt Jilly is here to help you navigate the treacherous waters of gift shopping for the people who tell you what they want, and then buy it themselves before you even have a chance to scour Craigslist for a used one.  I am writing some gift guides. 

I think of my mom as a very cutting edge kind of person.  She has the coolest gadgets, the cutest clothes and excellent taste.  She tends to be the first to adopt a new trend and the first to declare it “over.”  She stayed home with my sister and I for ten years or so, then went back to work without missing a beat.  Just like that.  And now, she’s started her own business, travels all over the place for fun, looks better than ever and is pretty much a 5’1 awesome machine. 

So what do you buy for a person like that?  Well, if your mom is like mine, you feel my pain on this one.  I have found that what we’re going for here is #1: something she doesn’t know she wants and #2: something one-of-a-kind, so she won’t already have it. 

Here are some ideas:

A Vintage Danish Modern Letter Organizer. My mom just bought me the cutest vintage thing, so maybe she’s into that now?

 

“Malta Alleyway” Watercolor Giclee print  My mom’s mom is from Malta, so this would be sentimental, but a few steps up from that macaroni necklace I’ve got drying in the kitchen.

Matisse Grey Wool Ipad Sleeve (because you know she’ll have one soon enough)

Falling Leaves Necklace–my mom is all about the statement jewelry.

Let the Beat Drop Speaker

Let the Beat Drop Speaker (your iPhone goes inside).  In the summer, my mom spends a lot of time outside.  No reason Shakira can’t come with her. 

Latitude and Longitude Dress

Latitude and Longitude Dress. Clothes are so hard because, although we have similar tastes in clothing, we’re different enough that I always make sure to get that gift receipt, if you know what I mean.  This seems like a safe bet, though.  Unfortunately, it’s currently out of stock.

Well, that’s where I’m at so far.  More to come on my Mother’s Day Gift List.  Maybe a list for David’s mom (who is also tough to buy for). 

PS: Mom, if you see something you really like, help your child by commenting.

Spring is a happy time

How was your Easter?  Mine was so busy with all the family and whatnot, but overall, it was excellent.  The Turducken was awesome strange disturbing squarish pretty good, actually, once you got over the whole ‘meat inside of meat inside of meat’ thing, as my sister put it.  I got to spend some time with my niece, Ellie, who is the best and cutest almost-two-year-old (OMG) in the universe.  She did not cry even once in two days, can you believe it?  And the cuteness of the fork using and the talking and the sign language and the ponytail is really hard for me to convey, other than to say that I love her. 

Unrelated: Just days before everyone came to visit, David and I realized that we had a fairly serious bee infestation in our front garden, which, by the way, is an awesome thing to notice when you are hosting a toddler for the weekend.  Yesterday morning, our landlady and the exterminator were out front taking care of the problem and blocking the driveway when I was getting ready to leave for work.  And the exterminator was. so. weird.  He insisted on sharing with me that these are not, in fact, honeybees (which is actually good to know, because that would make me feel sad about killing them all), but a different kind of bee which lays its eggs in the ground in the fall and then in the spring, well, you can imagine.  To which I say: FANTASTIC! and also: DID NOT NEED TO KNOW THAT I’VE BEEN LIVING ON TOP OF ONE MILLION BEE LARVAE.  So that was neat.

Other than that, it has been an idyllic spring.  We’ve got daffodils, tulips and hyacinth all open in the yard and our dogwood tree is almost there–so close!  I think our house must be in its own microclimate, though, because all our stuff blooms a week or two after everyone else’s (which is fine because then I feel happy when my flowers are in their prime and my neighbor’s flowers are dead.  I am mean like that.).  For example, this is the dogwood outside of the school I teach at:

dogwoods

Totally open.  Ours is still covered in buds, but I’m patient.  I don’t want to rush Spring. 

This weekend, I will try my hand again at garment making for myself.  I’m planning to make the Yard Sale Wrap Skirt from Weekend Sewing.  I have the perfect material for it–white with blue stripes. 

Wish me luck on this one!