my darn(ing) useless skills…

Saturday night on a drive home from hanging out with awesome college girlfriends I was listening to some late night radio…you know how those evening shows go…random tidbits of information which you ignore waiting for the next slow jam from the past to come on the air.  Well, during this car ride something actually caught my attention.  The host of the radio show was listing the most essential skills of modern times (this part not so interesting):

  1. Googling
  2. Operating a mobile phone
  3. Connecting WiFi

He only listed 3…but for the whole list visit here.

The next part was what caught my attention.  He started listing skills that people no longer need to know.

  1. Darning (Darning is a sewing technique for repairing holes or worn areas in fabric or knitting using needle and thread alone)
  2. Knitting
  3. Polishing brass/silver
  4. Baking fresh bread
  5. Putting up a tent
  6. Writing postcards
  7. Sewing
  8. Knowing the phone numbers of friends
  9. Servicing the car yourself
  10. Understanding pounds and ounces
  11. Dinner party etiquette
  12. Writing letters
  13. Speaking a foreign language
  14. Knowing capital cities
  15. Understanding feet and inches
  16. Putting up a shelf
  17. Planning your route in advance
  18. Being able to change a tire
  19. Having neat handwriting
  20. Knowing how to spell long words

Not only do I dedicate the majority of my free time to many things on this list…I am now even MORE interested in acquiring these skills.  I’m actually rather offended.  I ordered a darning foot for my machine just last week (#1), I crocheted a beanie on friday night (#2ish), I sewed a quilt; which I gave to a friend on sunday (#7), I started my quest to visit every state capitol last summer (#14), I put up a shelf in my room by myself in may (#16). Apparently my skills are USELESS! Whatevs…onward ho!

I hereby commit to doing each of these listed useless skills and will document my acquisition of said skills on this blog.

art, Style, tattoos


When I was 17 I got my belly button pierced.  Immediately after the guy was finished I ran out to the street and threw up.  Then, at 19 I got my nose pierced…I ran to the bathroom to get water and woke up sitting on the floor in the corner of the bathroom.  Apparently I had passed out! My sister in law was with me…but didn’t notice because she was busy getting her nose pierced too.  All this to say.  I don’t do well with needles.  I had wanted a tattoo ever since high school but never thought I’d ever be able to handle the pain.  So when I finally mustered up the courage to get it done…I told NOBODY!  Ok…that’s a lie.  I told Kelly because I needed someone to drive me home in case there was an “incident.”  I knew Kell wouldn’t judge me if I chickened out, and she is my number one cheerleader.  She’d tell me it was pretty even if it looked like poop…and I needed that juuuuust in case it didn’t turn out well!  I also didn’t want to be talked out of it.  I waited to tell Andy and Krisi, who I spent the whole morning with that day, until just minutes before the appointment.  Andy offered to come for emotional support.  Love her.  BTW I think Andy is a part of every single entry I have posted!

Here we are at the fabric district in downtown LA.


And here folks is the last picture of my bare left arm.


Here I am having a little pre-session chat with Kim Saigh.  She was on LA ink for a couple seasons and I fell in love with not only her artwork, but her drama free work ethic.  I knew she was going to cost more than the average artist…but is something so permanent something you go cheap on? Absolutely not.


Well friends.  Let me tell you. IT DID NOT GO WELL.  About 15 minutes into the session, Kim asked me how I was doing and I said I was feeling a little light headed.  She went to get me water and I made a dash for the bathroom.

A few minutes later I woke up here…


The last thing I remember was grabbing the door frame in slow motion.  I fell and hit my face on the wood chair and hit the back of my head on the tile.  The next thing I remember was a really cute bearded Brenden, the other artist working that day, holding my head in his hands.  Not a bad thing to wake up to.   As I mentioned earlier…Kelly was on call in case of an “incident.”  She met Andy and I at the shop and drove me home.  I threw up on the car ride home and stayed overnight with Kelly in case I didn’t make it through the night!  I was SOO scared to go to sleep but google said that it’s actually a myth and that your body needs to sleep to heal.  Who knows!?  Kelly would wake up and make sure I was breathing throughout the night.  Not only did I wake up…I woke up with a shiner!  It got darker and darker each day.

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It was all worth it.  I got a bad ass tattoo.  Here it is!


hahaha! Oh man.  Needless to say, I didn’t show this to anybody!  I kept it a secret until I had something I would be really proud to show off.  I had this masterpiece for about a week.  Kim fit me into her jam packed sched so I could look halfway decent again!  I realized that it wasn’t about the pain (which was horrible), it was nerves.  I was too nervous to tell her that the peony she selected wasn’t my absolute fave.  This probably wasn’t the best time to be accommodating…I should have been straight forward instead of getting myself worked up and passing out!  SO I brought a peony I liked better and she had no problem changing the design.

peony flower

…and back to  work we went.  Please note that she has me on a table this time!  No more passing out….or hitting the floor at least.


BIG thanks to Eric who I called in a panic minutes before this session and asked him to come to an address with absolutely no explanation.  I think he thought I was in trouble! lol.IMG_6771

Here are some work in progress pics…

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This was the first thing I saw.  I refused to watch because I was scared I’d faint…but when it was time for a potty break I got a peak and was completely astonished.  I loved it.


At the end of the four hour session…this was me!

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Session 2 (technically 3!)



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Here’s Kim and I!  Even made it on her instagram!

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Ooh La Loo! Here’s the final product.

IMG_6991FYI: Peony for purity and Magnolia for love of nature.

collabo, design, paper, Sewing, typography

collabo post: baby shower invitations

Here’s the team.

Image 1


zoey, me, andy, kenzie, stacie, amie

My childhood bestie Stacie is having a baby girl!  I can’t believe that our own mothers threw each other baby showers when we were born.  How cool is that?!  With that said…let the baby shower planning commence.  Stacie emailed Andy, Amie and I knowing we’d jump at the chance to put our creative minds together to create invitations tailored perfectly to her style.  The truth is, I love doing pretty much anything with these girls…so collaborating for this project felt like no work at all.  Andy was the project manager on this one.  She had a vision of what she wanted and trusted Amie and I to “do our thing.”  Amie is awesome at typography and is a master doodler.  Andy asked her if she’d work her magic for the invites.

And oh em gee..look what she produced.



Next step.  Andy scanned in Amie’s original artwork and worked magic of her own.  I can’t begin to tell you how talented she is.


Andy designed the invitation around Amie’s sketch adding the PERFECT font…I was amazed at how she matched Amie’s typography!  Next she added color from the yarn we selected at Purl Soho.  Check out the hot spot post to see how closely she was able to color match.  Genius, I tell ya!


This collaboration process was so fun.  Andy would touch base with me throughout the entire process to show me her progress or just to bounce ideas off of me.    We have a really amazing working relationship…we send each other pictures and give each other the yay or nay on an idea in under 10 seconds.  And in situations like the picture below…when we aren’t sure of ourselves…9 times out of 10 we pick the same option.


The next step was my turn.  We had the perfect design…now it was about the packaging.  Envelopes are good and all…but why not put them in a sac the recipients could use?  I’m thinking this little sac would make a perfect sunglasses bag!  This too was a collaboration.  Amie came over and ironed the fabric as I sewed the bags (and my mom helped in this process too…there was A LOT of ironing).  We had toyed with the idea of fold over flaps…which would have been more time efficient…but I had my heart set on the drawstring design.


I was pretty happy with how the bags turned out!


Ooh La Loo! Look how our collabo finished product!


Antiques, Hot Spot, Shopping, Style

hot spot post: Cedros Part II

Stop 2 at the Cedros Design District was SOLO.  Their website describes the store as, “An upscale collective showcasing the collections of eight creative and dynamic women, each with their own distinct style.”  This is my absolute favorite hot spot!  The variety of products in this shop is amazing.

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The shop is located in a warehouse…look at those beams! Love it.  As you may be able to see…there are different merchants displaying different styles and types of products.  Merchants vary from children’s and collectables to mid century modern and repurposed objects.


The four pictures below feature the industrial section of the shop.  This is my favorite nook.  I want everything!!!  I bought a pitcher and glasses the last time I visited and I absolutely love them.  It’s always exciting to see what they have because most of the items are vintage “found” items.

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Below are more examples of how each section of the store features a different style and point of view.

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These blankets are adorbs.  Pretty sure I can re-create that with my newly acquired quilting skills!


Another merchant with a variety of kitchy collectables.

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Take a look at the suitcases pictured below. They are metal and are actually floating shelves!  I love these…The black one needs to be on my wall ASAP.

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The stationary and paper goods are so cute!

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Next stop, Leaping Lotus.


Similar to SOLO, Leaping lotus houses multiple merchants.  There is a wider variety of products and it has a less cohesive overall feel.  There’s definitely something for everyone!  It is a two story shop with 120 merchants.

Below I took a picture of a beachy merchant as well as an antique merchant.

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I’m loving this art deco faux fireplace facade.  The picture on the right below is the Oliver Shop…my favorite merchant in Leaping Lotus.

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Scary plastic doll chandelier anyone?


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Can’t say that I’m really into parasols but Ooh La Loo…they look good on the ceiling.  Especially in those colors.

Antiques, Hot Spot, Shopping, Style

hot spot post: Cedros Part I


Thanks to my friend Matt, this is one of my favorite spots to spend the day and shop. When visiting him in Encinitas last year he took me here and I fell in love…with the shops that is!  What I love most about these shops are that they are never the same.  Each time I come they are filled with new loot.  The street is filled with antique shops and other home furnishings that are right up my ally.  An eclectic mix of vintage, modern, contemporary, industrial and kitsch.  It’s going to take a few posts to get through my favorite hot spots!  I’ll start at House Vintage since it’s where my girlfriends and I started on Sunday!  House Vintage is located at 315 S Cedros Ave Solana Beach, California 92075.  Upon entering we first explored the outside where there was refinished patio furniture and repurposed home goods that would make great accents to outdoor living spaces.  This is something I love to do myself.  I buy a can of my favorite color and go to town on furniture that needs a little pick me up.  In the house itself you’ll notice that each room has it’s own character.  A guy might walk into this house and see a bunch of junk…but I see a house full of must have treasures!


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This room is having a little Marie Antoinette moment.  Ooh La Loo!

food, travel

Encinitas Bestie Babymoon eats…


One of my besties is preggers and we decided to go on a bit of a babymoon…kid and husband free for the weekend.  We are trying to do this quarterly together.  Our last trip was to Palm Springs…where to go next?!  I wanted to take the girls to Encinitas to take them to my favorite shops in North County SD.  I’ll need a whole other post to show you the hop spots!

Second to shopping…was eating of course.  Ok…seriously.  How do people eat without Yelp?!  If it weren’t for Yelp I’m not sure what we would have done about food.  Here’s the three spots we ended up.

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Solace and the Moonlight Lounge was really cute inside.  I was diggin what they had goin on in there.  Very rustic industrial.  It was the first time for all of us so we asked the hostess what she recommended.  The burger.  Of course.  Well…I couldn’t have that so Andy and I split the Vegetarian burger with goat cheese and a Poke dish.  Kris had an awesome grilled cheese…I looooove me some cheese.


Grilled Four Cheese Tomato & Basil Sandwich, Seared Albacore Chop Chop and Quinoa-Hazelnut Veggie Burger

I also looove me some beer.


Allagash White

We have this joke that when we get together wedding rings come off and we get crazy…neither of these are true.

As we were eating we were making sure to leave room for dessert.  Kris had never been to Extraordinary Desserts so we decided to take a drive into town to indulge a little.  Cheat day!  “Does it count if there are multiple days in a row?”


Extraordinary Desserts!


Birthday Cake, Dulce de Leche Cheesecake, Bananna Tarte

Our trip was a short one so we really only had two big meals.  Our Breakfast stop Sunday Morning was at Claire’s on Cedros…right up the street from the shops I wanted to spend the day at in Solana Beach.


Two Besties chatting away


Kris’ French Toast on Brioche


Lemon Clairecakes

Andy and I couldn’t decide between a savory or a sweet dish so we split the clairecakes with the savory dish below.



Ooh La Loo! I sure ate well this weekend!

Bargains, Hot Spot, Style

hot spot post: Rainbow Outlet

The Rainbow Outlet is awesome.  I don’t think I’ve worn another brand of slippers (sandals) since I was introduced to Rainbows in college.  They can be quite expensive as you will notice at Nordstrom and other retailers that carry them.  When I discovered the rainbow outlet it was a happy day!  As you will see pictured, you save 25%!  It is conveniently located in San Clemente off of Pico on the 5.  A quick pit stop on a road trip down to San Diego for us Angelinos.  This weekend I went on a girls getaway with my best friends and we stopped off for a quick look.  What’s so great about Rainbows is they last forever! There are a variety of styles…way more than the classics.  There are braided, hemp, and even crystal straps.

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I’ve been wearing the same pair for years…unfortunately I recently spilled a gallon of paint in my car and ruined my favorite pair.  My favorite are the Classic Leather  Double Layer Sandals.  I have terrible knees and these are so comfortable…I like the single layer but there is a noticeable difference when I wear the doubles.  They retail for $55 and I got them for 40!  Ooh La Loo!

Crochet, Hot Spot, knit, Shopping, Yarn

hot spot post: Purl Soho

For my birthday this year I received a gift card to Purl Soho.  I hadn’t heard of it before but after a quick visit to their website I was soon in love.  I was tempted to purchase every single skein of yarn…but the thing about yarn shopping is you want to feel the texture and the weight of the yarn…well I do!  As you will see in the pictures I post below they can range from very lightweight to super chunks…not exactly the technical terms there but you get the gist, yeah? Also, I’ve noticed that the color on a mac isn’t always true to life.  All this to say I ended up buying a quilting book (I have been on a bit of a quilting kick lately).  Coincidentally another one of my friends rings me and asks if I’d be interested in going to the Purl Soho Warehouse in Tustin.  Initial though was…Tustin?! Jigga What?  I though Purl Soho was only in New York! You mean, I could have driven to ORANGE COUNTY and felt all the yarn in person AND avoided shipping costs?!  Turns out all online orders are shipped out of Tustin. Sigh.

So we drive to Tustin which ended up being an amazing day driving around Orange County shopping, eating, and getting some real quality time reminiscent of the summer after our senior year in high school.  The day was nothing short of perfect.  The building we pulled up to left a lot to be desired.  It is basically an office space in an industrial building (15431 Red Hill Ave Ste D Tustin, CA 92780 (800) 597-7875). We were scared we had been misled but once we walked in, we were not disappointed.  The picture below is the store front in New York. How adorbs is that?


459 Broome Street
New York, NY 10013
phone: (212) 420-8796

Photo: Pinterest


Here I am surrounded by yarn goodness.


Please note the empty basket.  Yarns range from $8-$40 a skein…a far cry from the usual $4 I’m used to spending!

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This is a testament of my self control that I was surrounded by all of this and walked out with a very modest purchase.  The key was walking in with a plan…something I don’t usually do!

Another thing about high end “fancy” yarn is you have to wind it yourself into a ball.   This was a first.  Good thing I didn’t order any yarn online because I would have totally tangled it up!  Here’s the yarn winding process:

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Here are the yarns before and after! Ooh La Loo! The colors look so good together.

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PS also has much more than just yarn.  They have a great selection of notions, tools, and fabric.

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Also, there are cute kits that would make great gifts.  Here was my personal fav.  FYI, I’m completely obsessed with sloths.  In fact today on Instagram I saw the raddest sloth tattoo…the pain of my recent tattoo is still too fresh in my memory. I don’t think I could do it again. But I’ll admit…it had me tempted.

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Last but not least here’s Andy.  It never ceases to amaze me how similar our taste is.  Birds of a feather…

The purpose of our visit was to get started on planning a baby shower for our mutual bestie.  Had a solid 11 hour hang out today.  Couldn’t have asked for better company.


Crochet, knit, Yarn

the trusty cowl

I’ve had this here cowl scarf for about 4 years.  I loove it.  I wear it all the time and you can tell by the photo that it has been well loved.  I’ve always known that this would be a really easy project but never pushed myself to make one because I already had this one which was so neutral.  I finally gave myself a reason to make a new cowl.  Two words HARRY POTTER.



This summer I went to London and the nerd in me was REALLY EXCITED to go on the Harry Potter Studio Tour.  Probably the highlight of my trip…ok Stonehenge was a close second.  I knew that I wanted to have my very own Gryffindor scarf and I didn’t want to spend $75 on it.  As I mentioned in my “about” page I like to deconstruct items in order to create new ones. I didn’t have to take apart my cowl to figure this one out.  I simply crocheted (of course) a 32×40 rectangle, stitched together the shorter sides of the rectangle and tah-da…a perfect cowl!

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nobody had the same one AND I only spend $10! I win.  please note the Harry Potter scar…it’s the little things that get me excited.


ooh la loo! I also bought these glasses at forever 21 for $4 instead of $15 at the gift shop.


Quilting, Sewing

adventures in quilting volume 2

When I go into the fabric store I usually have no idea what I am going to make.  This sounds totally crazy but I really do let the fabric “speak to me.”  I like to walk the aisles and usually pick fabrics in groups.  Here is an example of two groupings of three.  At this point I’m thinking of what I can make and who I can make it for.


I decided to make baby quilts for two of my nearest and dearest.  Since I’ve never done this before I decided to first make a quilt using the pattern from the pillow.  It was simple (enough) and at least I had tried it before!  First, I drew out how I wanted the quilt to look. Then I just retraced my steps from the pillow. In the picture the quilt is upside down…but you get the idea.  This is a pic of all the squares laid out before I actually sewed them together.  I love how the seams on the backside look…unfortunately this side will never see the light of day once I assemble the quilt.

quilt plan ninja star quilt quilt seams

I finished the top side of the quilt…and am putting off actually quilting it.  That mess looks hard! Fortunately, I have the most amazing crafty friends who are going to hold my hand through the process.  This coming thursday I’m having a craft night after my friend’s kids go to bed and friday I’m getting together with two of my high school girlfriends for a quilt night.  So…I am totally justified in putting off the hard stuff and starting another quilt top.  The next quilt uses the same dimensions as the last quilt…the only difference is all of the squares are 50/50…which means more corners to line up…woof.  With one top under my belt I’m feeling a little more confident starting this one.  I was better about documenting the steps for this one.  I tried taking the pictures on a white background because my room makes for a very distracting background…but I hate how the white looks against the white blog background…all dingy looking.  oh well.

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1. the 3 prints are cut into 6 1/2 inch squares

2. prints are put face together.  a line is drawn down the center (diagonally) and with the machine I sew a seam 1/4 inch from each side of the center line. a quarter inch foot makes this easy.

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3. I pulled back the fabric to show that the prints are contrasting.

4.  cut the square in half down the diagonal line that was drawn as a guide for the 1/4 inch seam allowance.

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5.  these are all the squares stacked up once they were cut.

6.  open up each square and press the seam open on the back.

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7.  as you can see the squares are not perfect anymore once I’ve worked with them. I used this 6 inch omnigrid to “square them up” which will allow for a much cleaner finished product.  I used my rotary cutter (aka God’s gift to quilters) to square them up.

8.  here are all the squares piled up.


9. ohh la loo! here’s the finished quilt top.  I’ll have to do another post about sewing the individual squares together.  after two quilt tops I think I have the process down…it took some trial and error.  my friend and I rate our success of a sewing project on the amount of times we had to bust out the seam ripper.  on this here quilt top.  seam ripper count: 2.  not too bad.