Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Quarter Century

Week of July 19 through 25

This weekend I turned twenty-five. In my head, I'm still 21. My age-lapse memory makes a little sense, I guess, since turning turning 21 is an event in and of itself. "I can drink now, bitches, whooo-hooo!" And then the drinking wiped out the next four years of my life, and here I am, now 25. Or something like that. I can't wrap my head around this whole quarter-century-old concept. Is 25 the point at which one is considered a full grown adult? I'm not in the 18 to 24 age bracket anymore. Since my 21st birthday, the numbers just keep going up, but I feel the same. I hope I feel like I'm 21 for the rest of my life. It was a good year.

In case you didn't notice, internet, I just cursed on our blog. The blog my grandmother reads (Hi, Tata!). I've also talked about sex. But I can do that because I'm 25 now. A full grown adult!

So my birthday lasted for four days this year. That's probably another reason I can't ever remember how old I am. There is so much celebrating that I think I'm having more than one birthday. And that somehow voids the original birthday, like how two negatives make a positive. Or something. I can't do math.

My birthday started when my lovely and talented co-worker brought delicious cupcakes to the office on Thursday. Homemade lemony-goodness with whipped frosting and fresh lemon zest. Oh em gee. And the precious cake stand was a gift for me! Anyone who knows me knows that I have a slight addition to tableware. Ok, I have an entire closet full of dishes. Plus a china cabinet. And our everyday plates. But each of these dishes and serving pieces are vitally important! I might need to throw together a dinner for 12 AT ANY MOMENT. And I will be ready. And then no one will think my hoard of mix-and-match tableware is anything but essential.

On Saturday, my entire family gathered at Perry's Steakhouse (dear God, the deliciousness) to celebrate my age by eating and drinking and eating some more. The food was amazing, and the company was perfect. The Husband called ahead and had the restaurant fancy up our table with rose petals. He also ordered a special dessert for me that came with my name written in chocolate. If you've never seen your name written in chocolate, I highly recommend it. Once you've had your name written in chocolate, signing your name with a pen seems so mundane. And if you try to eat that signature, you might have to go to the hospital for ink poisoning, or insanity. Chocolate is always better.

Sunday morning, The Husband made Belgian waffles with fruit and whipped cream and bacon. Mmm, bacon. We then proceeded to sit around in our pajamas and watch movies all. day. long. While drinking grape martinis. There were also some naps thrown in for good measure. Perfect day. That evening, The Husband made my favorite dinner. Barbeque Chicken. Not just any barbeque chicken, oh no. This chicken is my great-grandfather's recipe, passed down through my family and taught to The Husband just last year. We had to be sure he wouldn't run off with the goods, his plan to marry into the family so he could hijack the almighty Barbeque Chicken recipe now complete, so we waited until we'd known him for a good six years before sharing.

He also made asparagus topped with a poached egg. A poached egg. My husband poached an egg for me. And put it on asparagus. A little trick he learned at Grace in Fort Worth. And a big deal, because my husband doesn't particularly enjoy eggs unless they are of the scrambled variety plus, he'd never poached an egg before. So sweet and so yum.

After dinner, I opened all of my wonderful gifts and we ate cake. Mmm, cake.

Since the day I came home from the hospital, my dad and I have had a birthday tradition. Every year we take a picture together on the front porch of our house. We've missed a few years, here and there, but for the most part, we have a chronological look, year by year, of just how much hair I've caused my father to lose. In this picture he is headless, and therefore has no hair. I think you can imagine what kind of holy-terror I must have been to cause this amount of baldness.

Really, my twenty-fifth birthday was all about eating and drinking and spending time with family. Just like every other birthday. Just as it should be.

All Around Our House Next Week: A Kitchen Shower for the Bride-to-Be

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bachelorette Brouhaha

Week of July 12 through 18

My best friend is getting married in September. Naturally, I want to help make her wedding memories as special as she helped make mine. That means lots of crafting on my part, and lots of partying on hers. I think we effectively accomplished both goals at her bachelorette bash this weekend.

When Melissa got engaged in February, my first project was to outfit her in her very own "Mrs." hoodie. I debated for a long time about whether or not to include the words "soon-to-be" above the bride's new name. A debate I held out-loud, in my craft room, at nearly midnight, until such time that The Husband weighed in, effectively quieting my tirade. (Which I think may have been his goal all along, since he was trying to sleep, and probably didn't really care about the hoodie in question). Ultimately, it was decided that omitting that time-specific phrase made the hoodie more versatile. Of course, without the "soon-to-be", she might not wear it until she is actually married. But, she'll be married longer than she'll be engaged. But, this was an engagement present. The debate wages on.

I've delineated my obsession with these hoodies before. No further discussion is necessary. Unless you were going to say, "Oh MY GOSH, that hoodie is SO CUTE!" In which case - discuss away.

In related cuteness - I made a veil and sash for the bride-to-be to wear at her Bachelorette party/lingerie shower. The colors for the party were black, hot pink and lime green. I tried to use those colors without being too garish and decided that chartreuse is not an easy color to incorporate in a girly-girl veil. (Insert clever Kermit the Frog "it's not easy being green" pun here). My philosophy on life: Everything is better with sparkles. I used as many twinkling gems as I possibly could on Melissa's veil and sash. Any more bling and she would have resembled a character from the Twilight series. (I'm saddened that I just made that reference, but since I learned about vampire glitter by osmosis and not from actually reading the books, I forgive myself).

One of the other bridesmaids had the super-clever idea to give Melissa a cute pin for each new drink she got during her night of debauchery. I designed six mini-buttons to match the party invitations, and another mega-button to encourage fellow revelers to buy the bride some booze. The bride was thirsty, and the mega button did its job well. The mini-buttons didn't even get us through the first bar of the night.

I got a little carried away with the fun buttons, and also designed pins for each of the bridesmaids. The (married) girls balked at being branded for the night, claiming the button put a damper on their free-drink-flirting. I didn't hear any complaining from the single! set.

For party favors, I found a wedding-cake-shaped cookie cutter and frosting-texture set. I was determined to make fun cookies to package and take to starving-to-be-thin-for-the-wedding bridesmaids, but I ultimately ran out of time. My fabulous mother jumped in and spent her day off making monogrammed wedding cake cookies for the party so that my plan to fatten up the skinny girls wasn't foiled. She saved the day and contributed to the bridesmaid calorie count in one fell swoop. Us girls with hips hafta stick together. Plus, the cookies were darn cute!

Melissa's bachelorette party was also her lingerie shower, so in addition to all the fun pink and black bachelorette gear, I had a great opportunity to make some personalized gifts in her wedding colors (brown and aqua), too. I've been itching to try heat-set crystals for a while now, and I decided that panties were the perfect project. Diamonds are so bridal. I used white cotton/spandex boy shorts and a camisole to make a glam pantie set with Melissa's new "Mrs." name emblazoned across her heine. Sexy sparkly fun, but comfy too. Of course I bejeweled her full name, but you, internet, are not privy to that sensitive information. I'm already showing you her underwear, what more do you want?!

I also monogrammed a brown cotton/spandex set with her new initials in aqua. I added a tiny brown and aqua polka dot bow to up the girly quotient. Everyone knows that monogrammed panties prove that you're a classy lady.

My favorite project was making matching his and hers pajamas for the soon-to-be newlyweds. I left it to the other girls to fill Melissa's trousseau with lacy delicates. (And did they ever! Melissa was the recipient of a pair of crotchless granny panties! Hilarious and unnerving at the same time.) I made aqua seersucker striped pants with a mod print hem and a brown polka dot ruffle and drawstring. Then I embroidered "I ♥ Roy" in the bottom corner of a matching racer back tank. For the groom, I embroidered "I ♥ Melissa" at the hem of a pair of brown boxer shorts. The matching hearts were appliques of the same mod print as the hem of the pajama pants. No flannel button-up nightmares here, just kitchy-cute, comfy jammies. I love how they turned out.

I rolled up all of her gifts and tied them with ribbon scraps. Then I stuck everything in a little basket with a Philosophy Bridal Party set (bubbly, wedding cake and bridal bouquet scented bath gels) and a DVD compilation of all of the "FRIENDS" wedding episodes. Nothing helps me relax more than a bubble bath and a sitcom, and no one needs more help relaxing than a bride to be.

Melissa's party was uber-fun and I think she really enjoyed her last night out as a "single" girl. I posted a slideshow of some of the more tame pictures below. Photographs by me, decorations are not. Enjoy.

Around Our House Next Week: Birthday

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wedding Weekend

Week of July 5 through 11

Two of our dear friends, Amanda and Brandon, got married this weekend in Dallas. Their wedding was beautiful and their reception was a blast. We are so glad that we got to share in their special day. We couldn't be happier for them as they start their life together.

No, they didn't have the ceremony "Around Our House", but our preparations to attend their wedding did take place at our abode. After all, dear internet, you wouldn't expect me to attend a wedding without crafting of some kind taking place, now would you? I didn't think so.

I love the adorable hoodies that brides are wearing, proudly flaunting their soon-to-be new moniker on the back. I had one when I got married, and I still wear it. I hate to admit it, but the first place I saw this idea was on BritBrit after her doomed wedding to K-Fed. I don't know if that makes these hoodies hot, celebrity-endorsed fashion, or a staple for white-trash weddings. Haute or not, I loved my hoodie so much that I think it makes the perfect gift for any newly-engaged bride-to-be. And thus, I've started churning out personalized "Mrs." hoodies every time a guy pops the question. Back in February, I sent Amanda her own personalized hoodie, made in her wedding colors of black and white. Her hoodie does have her new last name on it, but this is the internet, so names have been edited to protect those who are innocent of posting on public blogs.

As a girl from the South, I can't get enough of monograms. Monograms make everything classy. If the thong hanging out of the back of your jeans is monogrammed, I assume you came from grace and good-breeding. The same goes for that monogrammed cigarette case you're using to hold your unfiltereds as you balance that baby in a diaper on your hip while buying pregnancy tests and a suitcase of Natty Light at 10 in the morning at the 7-11. Monogrammed undies means classy lady. No monogram means you're just another white trash chick who can't keep it in her pants. The thong, I mean

In all seriousness, monograms are classic and personal, which makes them perfect for weddings. And wedding gifts. Especially in the South where we are obsessed with living well and we crave a touch of nostalgia. My favorite gift to give the bride and groom is towels monogrammed with their initials. I monogrammed Amanda and Brandon's wine colored towels with copper thread to match the bath accessories they registered for.

I also made my dress for the wedding. No big surprise there, huh? It seems all I have written about in the last month has been sewing. Well let me stop you there because I've also written about rain. So there.

I started out making a purple-gray silk shantung sheath, then changed my mind half-way through and started on a simple shift dress made from a lengthened shirt pattern. Using the construction methods described in Simplicity pattern 2593, and adding a lining along the way, I made an off-white shift with a twisted neckline. Then, I cut abstract flowers and leaves from a hand-painted batik fabric and appliqued them to the skirt of the dress using a running stitch. I liked the raw edges of the cutouts and how they would fray and roll after each washing, so I opted against satin-stitching around the appliques. To add a little glam, I hand-stitched black sequins to the centers of the flowers. The result is a comfy dress that is dressy enough for a summer wedding but that I can also wear to work with a cardigan. The Husband did point out to me that I made a white dress for a wedding, something I didn't even think of until he said it. Major fashion faux pas. Now I'll have to show you my monogrammed panties to prove that I'm a classy broad.

Below is a slideshow of a few highlights from Amanda and Brandon's lovely wedding. Photos by me; gorgeous decor, unfortunately, not. Enjoy.

Around Our House Next Week: Bachelorette Brouhaha

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Week of July 5 through 11

Two and a half inches of rain fell on Tuesday, accompanied by thunder and lightening. It was the first rain we've had in more than six weeks. We were free from the oppressive heat, at least for the day. Now, the air is thick and it is sticky, steamy hot again. Ah, Texas.

All Around Our House Next Week: Wedding Bells in Dallas

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Fashionable 4th

Week of June 28 through July 4

To celebrate the 4th of July, I decided to make myself a new dress. That sounds like me, right? The prospect of three whole days over the holiday weekend, completely free for sewing to my heart's content, seduced my right-brain into a thread-induced euphoria of possibilities. Unfortunately, my right-brain has little to no concept of time, and all my big plans for the weekend were distilled into frantic, midnight hem-finishing.

I've made this dress before. This time, though, I made a few alterations. From my previous experience, I knew that I didn't need to build any additional ease into the pattern in order for it to fit. I also knew that the instructions called for a very meager hem, and even still the skirt was a little too short for my liking. So, I added six inches to the dress to allow a generous two-inch hem at my knee. In consideration of the heat-wave currently plaguing the great state of Texas, I opted this time for the sleeveless version of this dress.

I cut the dress out one afternoon on a whim, then put it in my "to-sew" basket for a later date. I am emotionally incapable of cutting out and sewing a project in the same day. The Crazy requires that I cut out every piece precisely, and that level of OCD insanity leaves me tired of looking at scissors and fabric. With the freedom of a long weekend in front of me, I decided to tackle this fully lined project, and managed to finish everything but the hem in one afternoon. Determined not to let this dress be delegated to the ironing-board-of-hem-ridicule (as my previous attempt was), I decided to take the unfinished garment with me to The Parents' house when we left for the weekend, hoping to use my brother's machine to sew the last few stitches. Thanks to hurried late-night hemming efforts, I finished this dress just in time to wear it on the 4th of July. Blue and white stripes are festive. According to my Dad, though, yellow is not an approved color for patriotic merriment.

This dress is so comfy and so easy to dress up or down. The blue striped seersucker makes it perfect for hot summer days. And Independence Day appropriate or not, the sunny yellow midriff brings in (what is supposed to be) the hot color of the season. The altered hem length is just right, but I'm still having trouble with the bodice. The straps of the dress are constantly falling off of my shoulders. Annoying. When I make this dress again, I'm going to have to make an adjustment to the length of the bodice to accommodate my incorrect proportion of boobs to hips. I'm a pear.

I love this pattern, and eventually, I'm going to have altered it enough that it is tailored to fit me perfectly. No matter how many versions I have to make. Persistence! That's what this country was founded on!

All Around Our House Next Week: Secret projects for upcoming events. Posting will be light, so as not to ruin any surprises, but the final results will be worth the wait.