Sunday, February 28, 2010

petites lumières

fish night light (photo by Gabe Holton).

my coyote fence in the front courtyard.

metal star-light on the back deck.

palm plant.

box lights (made by the crafty Margaret Emma Lane).

bedroom star-light.

my bedroom birdcage light.
(i also have a birdcage obsession,
but only own 2 so far because they're so damned expensive.
i scored this one at a yard sale for 25¢).

I've got a hankerin' for ambient light. I can't shake it.

The florescent bulbs of hospitals or classrooms insult mine eyes, (no offense to Dan Flavin, of course) and I just can't seem to find a love for stark overhead lights, unless dimmed significantly, or shielded by a beautiful fixture. Perhaps I'm a romantic? Or maybe I just need my home to calm me, to glow instead of glare.
My collection includes several strands of christmas lights that hang year-round, candles that perch in almost every room, hanging paper lanterns, a lava lamp, antique table and floor lamps, 3 night-lights, outdoor stone lanterns, and even a glowing piece of petrified wood.
Yes, this need for little lights even leaks into the outdoor spaces of my casa, making the place seem bigger, like illuminated outdoor rooms in the night.
So while some of you are cut off from purchasing yarn or tape, I'm cut off from the candle aisle. And, ok, so I'm still working on quitting the old stock-up-now-while-the-selection's-hot! christmas light sections each december.
There is just something so seductive and inviting about a lowly-lit area, like being out under a full moon and the nurturing starry sky. All becomes shadows and beautiful grey areas.

So is this why I deeply love Paris, the city of light? And the fireworks and sparklers of July 4th? The traditional faralitos of Santa Fe?

Twinkle, twinkle little lights. You totally turn me on.

-Cameron: Santa Fe, NM

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday = Good Times at the Flower Shop

Designing at Artichokes and Pomegranates never feels like work...lucky me!
Happy weekend y'all! I'm going dancin'
-Jessie, Santa Fe, NM

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

On Tonight's Menu...

A small tumbler of Three-Buck Chuck, 'cause I'm no vino-snob.
Organic baby greens with a honey-mustard-garlic balsamic vinaigrette, topped with shaved purple onions, caramelized pecans, herbed goat cheese and garlic-rosemary roasted sweet potatoes.
Pork chops topped with a chutney of cranberries, apples and fresh ginger. On the side, roasted brussels sprouts and garlic splashed with balsamic vinegar. Ohh, how I am in love with these now-a days!
Slivers of the worlds best chocolate covered caramel, shipped all the way from the Elegant Truffle in San Diego.

Jessie, Santa Fe, NM

Monday, February 22, 2010

Spring Bling!

I need to start off by saying that I am a bit obsessed with Jenna Lyons, Creative Director at J. Crew. She is so cool. The drool worthy outfits she styles and the designs she has brought in to revamp J. Crew have been a inspiration.

The sadness is that I really can't afford to shop at J. Crew, minus the occasional sale steal. But on the upside I have used my creative juices to recreate some of my favorite accessories. My go to being the chain/crystal/pearl/satin ribbon necklace for evening. Just peruse the accessories department of your local Forever 21, head over to Michael's and pick up some satin ribbon of your color choice, deconstruct chains, pearl strands, and whatever else you want to weave into your necklace and braid away. I just tie the ends of the ribbon around the back of my neck, finished off with a quick swipe of clear nail polish to keep the ends from fraying of course.

The photo is a few I created for an upcoming wedding I am planning. The bridesmaids are wearing a spiced wine dress with champagne or gold satin heels. I think the necklace will tie everything together just wonderfully...with a dash of bling.

Erin Donoghue: San Diego, CA

Breaking the Ice!

Hello fellow chirpers : ) I thought I would break the ice by posting about one of my most recent projects! In order to make the most out of our guest room, we invested in a twin sized bed that our little one would use eventually anyway. The twin bed by itself was super boring, so I decided to make a headboard for it.
It is a very inexpensive and easy way to dress up a bedroom, and it can even be used as wall art. Using a chop saw (actually a great investment), nails, and a hammer I created a simple wooden frame. Then I picked out a fun canvas print from my local fabric shop and used a staple gun to attach it to the frame, folding the fabric around the corners and edges, ensuring a nice tight fit. I then hung it on the wall behind the bed as if it were a normal piece of art, and tada!!! A new exciting headboard.

Lexy Peck , San Diego, CA

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sew, Sew, Sew in love!

Did I stumble on a gem yesterday!!! A fabric paradise is finally located here in Santa Fe! No longer to I have to reminisce of days in LA's F&S or dream of one day setting foot in NYC's ABC, I have my very own wonderland of textiles, ribbons, buttons, trim, you name it!
Santa Fe Fabrics, owned by the delightful Nancy Arnold, provides unique and amazing varieties of fabrics including vintage kimono fabric, Guatemalan cottons, hemp, bamboo and organic linens and cottons, embroidered silks, vintage ticking, tweed...need I go on?!?
I was not only amazed at the unique variety housed in the quaint and cozy space, but the quality is what I appreciated most. When I felt the organic denim, the cashmere, the cotton velveteen and the silk charmeuse, I could tell it was special. It is obvious that Nancy has a great eye and cares about the quality of everything in her store!
So much to choose from, I was on overload!
I found beautiful crocheted lace trim and delicate fabrics, (perfect for weddings.)
They also have a great selection of patterns, like this "Folkwear"- the packaging is even pretty!
A cute collection of Christina Bachman buttons and ric-rac, who doesn't love ric-rac!
The kimono fabric and Japanese silks were to die for!
More ric-rac! Beautiful French cottons and vintage ticking.
Adorable cotton prints, an amazing array of threads and absolutely gorgeous silk dupioni.

What did I leave with, you ask? Well, I could have dropped my entire paycheck, but I settled on 6 leather buttons to gussy up an old coat, a strip of camel colored virgin wool to make a tie-belt, a roll of vintage seam binding because I need that (!) and a few remnants that asked to go home with me! Oh, but I wanted it all!

So, my little chirpers, make you way over to Santa Fe Fabrics and your senses will be delighted and your creations will be inspired. Even if you don't sew, it is a great place to peruse and I guarantee by time you leave you will have at least 17 projects in mind....I did!

-Jessie, Santa Fe, NM

Roller Coasters

So, I really wanted to make this,
but first I had to use up all of this.
I have a self-imposed rule that I'm not allowed to buy any more yarn unless I can use up what I already own.
So I made a roller coaster runner, a functional trivet/coaster collection that doubles as a lovely runner for my dining table.
It was really easy to make too! I just cut out a bunch of felt circles in assorted sizes and glued yarn in a spiral. I finished some of the rounds with criss-crossed yarn and gold thread.

The only problem was that it hardly dented my huge pile of yarn. I still have tons of it left.
I must confess, I still went to the store and bought the yarn for the cowl anyway...and it was totally worth it!

-Jessie, Santa Fe, NM

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Nothing is constant but change"

Last year, if you told me that I'd have carnations in my house, I would have slapped you. As a self-proclaimed "flower snob" and after working as a floral designer for 8 years, I would have slapped me too.But, I guess things change and I just might have to blame my Saturn Return....but more on that later. Call me crazy, but I just love how cheery these bright (and long-lasting!) carnations look in my teal fiestaware pitcher!

On another note, this photo is of one of my favorite corners of my house. Not only does is house my chronicles of Everyday Food mags, but it also has a bamboo plant and a salvaged yellow shelf both schlepped around since college and some sweet seashells....a great reminder of my homeland, California.

So, my sweet chirpers, what are the favorite corners of your casa? Do share your faves with us!
-Jessie, Santa Fe, NM

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The greatest thing you'll ever learn... just to love, and be loved in return."
Ahhh, the most beautiful song sung by Nat King Cole. I am a sucker for good ol' American song book tunes ever since my mother would play them on the piano from the stacks of sheet music passed on from her mother. I can't help but love the simple and truthful lyrics and the romantic images put into words by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby and of course Ella and Louis.
Check out this beautiful rendition of "Nature Boy":

nature boy mv after effect from ros lukman on Vimeo.

So, since it is the day of all things lovey-dovey....and I've eaten half a heart-shaped box worth of chocolate for breakfast...I wish you all a very merry St. Valentine's Day.-Jessie, Santa Fe, NM

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sac en Plastique (cause everything said in french just sounds cooler)

Recently, I've been doing really well with the whole "bring your own bag" thing for grocery shopping. Love it. But let's face it, folks, it's impossible to avoid those pesky plastic bags all of the time. I don't bring my own bag into Target Boutique, right?
So the bags come home. And you just can't throw them out. Can you. No, not when there's so many great uses for them all of the time (favorite examples: cleaning the litter box, transporting dirt for gardening, small trash cans, etc.) So here they are, completely taking over the house. They're everywhere, and they keep growing. As much as I use them, I just can't keep up. So I thought, there's got to be a solution for these multiplying buggers.

The other day, bing! It occured to me.
Homemade sac-en-plastique dispenser:

Thanks Coca-Cola.

-Cameron: Santa Fe, NM

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Last year, I discovered I had a wheat allergy. Foods I once loved to eat are left to be purely food fantasies. I dream of lightly toasted sourdough bread with melty butter, corkscrews of al dente pasta, warm fluffy tortillas, crisp ice cream cones and syrupy blueberry many things on the "No-No" list.

But, there is hope! With much internet surfing and researching I have found that I can substitute rice, potato and tapioca flours for enriched white flour to re-create almost anything. My favorite snowy day activity has quickly turned into wheat-free baking! I was lucky to find a particularly fantastic recipe on a lovely blog, Canelle et Vanille. Today, I made Wheat-Free Brioche.
Get out the jam, here I come!
-Jessie, Santa Fe, NM

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sticky Situation

Clearly, I have a tape problem.

Once again, I've been had by the checkout-line-impulse-buy-section at Michael's. They have a glowing display rack of duct tape in a variety of colors, including neon pink, neon orange, silver, black, maroon, gold and even tie dye(!)

So, introducing the newest addition to my tape addict pile: tranquil teal

Apparently, I need it.

-Jessie, Santa Fe, NM

Sunday, February 7, 2010

$2 Billloggin'

The teller at the bank told me my $2 bills had NEVER been in circulation.

What a thrill, forty dollars worth of $2 bills coming into the world for the very first time! Where would they go, what would they do, where will they stay? Will they be spent? Will they be treasured? Will they be tucked safely in small tin boxes, bill folds, lace-covered cleavage? I felt, as the initial distributor of my special bills, that I should spend them wisely and with purpose, to be noticed and appreciated.

So far, I have used them to "tip" and purchase two fantastic shades of "Wet n' Wild" nail polish, each priced at $1.99. But the best way I have used them was to pay a kind gentleman (I assume without an address, if you know what I mean), named Andrew to wash my windows. I was in the Trader Joe's parking lot after using my debit card to buy my weekly groceries. Feeling tired at the end of the day and a little worn, I was staring down at my boots as they squished and sloshed in the quickly melting snow. I looked up with surprise as a man holding a squirt bottle and paper towels asked if I could spare some change for a window wash. I always try to oblige folks that offer wash my windows for a little change. It sure beats asking for change for doing "nothing" and hell, I've got a crisp $2 bill for someone offering to do "something."

So as he scrubbed at my dirty windows, I began to chat with him and found out he was the middle child of a family of 3 boys and 2 girls, had grown up in Santa Fe "all his life" but had traveled to Corona and Riverside of my home state, California. He gave me a "Military salute" because he preferred it over the "Navy salute" even though he was partial to the Navy. He built houses with his dad throughout New Mexico and assured me he was staying warm this winter. I agreed with him when he said it was too bad that everyone was too rushed for Christmas and that today felt more like the special day, since I wasn't in a rush and stayed for a chat.

When I handed him the crisp $2 bill I had ready in my pocket, he held it in both of his worn hands, jaw gaping in surprise. I asked him if he'd ever seen a $2 bill since they were so rare. He told me he wasn't going to spend it, but save it and show it to me when we met again in heaven. I decided to give him another to spend if he was going to save the other one and told him to at least get something for himself. He said good-bye with another "Military" salute as I got into my car.

It was the best conversation I had all day.
-Jessie, Santa Fe, NM

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Two-Dolla Bill Mission: Bring 'em Back!

This is Cameron. Nickname Cron (pronounced see-ron). Hometown being Charlottesville, VA. This was also home to former president Thomas Jefferson. He named his casa Monticello, which means "small mountain" in Italiano, because he built it atop a small mountain just outside the town.
When I was a wee one, and first visited the house, they gave out two dollar bills as part of the touring experience. A collection ensued.
So what's the story behind the un-common use, and yet not technically discontinued use, of these bills? C'mon, they're mad-convenient, whether it's for leaving tips or buying a soft drink.
So over the years, I started asking for them at the bank. And each time I used one, I almost always received some kind of reaction and conversation as a result. Sweet!
So begins the two-dollar-bill log. I confessed to Jessie recently, and we actually ran into each other at the bank asking for them.
Story #1 occured on Thursday evening at the Fort Marcy gym. See, the price for admission to the pool is $1.85 (and has been for years. awesome.), so I pulled out a crisp $2 bill, handed it to the woman at the counter, and she proceeded to say, "Wow. I haven't seen one of these in such a long time. People usually ask to swap me for them as soon as they come in." I smiled, and turned just before I entered the locker room: I saw her putting two singles in the drawer, and pocket the two herself. YES!
So, your mission, should you choose to accept it:
If you spend a two-dollar bill, and have a good story from it, please share it here. I think Jessie already has a story #2 to contribute? Let's keep these puppies out and in circulation. I want them to stick around!
Ladies, are you with us?
p.s. Perhaps food for a future blog: how do we feel about recent threats to discontinue the clink-change?

-Cameron: Santa Fe, NM

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Winter Tribute II

My Grandparents, Winter Park, CO 1957

This is one of my favorite, prized, vintage photographs. It is the reason I cut bangs, the reason I bought Ray Ban "Clubmasters", the reason I'm still looking for the perfect Fair Isle sweater, the reason I've found a new love for skiing, and just one of the reasons why my grandparents are so rad!
-Jessie, Santa Fe, NM

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Winter Tribute I: Hipstamatic Instamatic Style

I love vintage photography; old, worn, bordered photos with overexposed smiles fading into the background. I love the muted colors and gritty prints, and most of all I love the sound an SX-70 Polaroid makes as it spits out the blurred, still-developing photo. I remember the nostalgic sound of my mom winding film in her Pentax 35mm camera and the click of the shutter as my brother and I held toothy grins in place.

My only camera is a first edition iPhone, no film, no focus, no flash, no pops, no whirs, no clicks. Not even 5 megapixels, but just good ol' digital, faded graininess.

The other day, I happened to be reading the blog, Persuing the Picture Perfect Wedding, authored by the ever-talented photographer, Gia Canali. She is a real-deal photographer that specializes in vintage process photography and printing. She is also the owner of an iPhone and turned me onto the highly-addictive, "Hipstamatic" , an application that brings back the look, feel, unpredictable beauty, and fun of plastic toy cameras from the past and has her taking pics with her iPhone "all the live long day". Hmmmmm, can it be that cool?
For a mere $1.99 I am able to get funky, arty, overexposed, soft focus, saturated pictures, all digitally saved to my iPhone photo library. It even satisfies my love for the sound of shutter clicks and flash pops that "real" cameras, with "real" film make. Hooray!

So without further ado, a Winter Tribute via my new "Hipstamatic" instamatic iPhone digital camera.
-Jessie, Santa Fe, NM