Penny Penelope

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The countdown has begun

The packers will be here Monday. Movers start on Tuesday. We leave oh-so-early on Wednesday morning. And Mia is ready! Yesterday, she decided she was tired of waiting for momma to get out her new car seat so she could sit in it. She opened the box and helped herself. She's very excited about it as you can see. Which, trust me, is a good thing. Why? Well, we're about to embark on a twenty-four-hour (yes, 24) road trip to Dallas with a two-year-old. Are we nuts, you ask? Yes. Yes we are. Because not only are we going on this ridiculously long trip, but we're doing it with a toddler that's almost never in a car. We don't even own a car. She didn't even have a regular car seat until we bought this one a few days ago. (Don't worry. She did have a car seat/stroller for traveling out of NYC... a Sit 'n Stroll). She doesn't know how to sleep in a car seat like most kids. She doesn't get the concept of having to wait to get out or wait for mom to tend to her (unlike in her usual mode of transportation... her stroller). This trip is going to be interesting to say the least. I just keep reminding myself of all those times she completely blew me away with how wonderful she could be -- even though I'd worry about it for hours or days before. This is a kid that can literally eat in a five-star restaurant without disturbing a soul around her. She can go without a nap and be happy all afternoon. I tell myself again and again not to underestimate her. This trip will be fine. She'll be fine. It's going to be fun. Really.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Designed to sell (we hope)

Since my life is CONSUMED with selling our apartment right now (forget that we're moving across the country in just over a week), thought I'd share some pictures of our new-and-improved-designed-to-sell abode. How does a family of three, plus all the contents of a former children's wear business live in 875 sq. ft? Actually, fairly nicely. The trick to living in a small space is to only own what you actually need. That means really questioning whether you really need that big Kitchen Aide mixer or not (I decided no. I really don't). And every six months or so, we clean out and edit our belongings. If I haven't worn something in over a year, it's outta here. If I don't really love those shoes, gotta go. As much stuff that has come in, must go out. Furniture must also play double duty. Our bed is a storage bed. Meaning the frame is actually full of great big drawers and a cabinet-type space big enough to hold our large suitcases, etc. We also have large floor-to-ceiling wall units to maximize vertical space. I tell ya, using vertical space is so important!

I'll be totally honest here. Before we put our apartment on the market, it didn't exactly look like this. We spent a few month obsessed with HGTV's Designed to Sell, and took it all very seriously. So, we painted all the walls a neutral non-offending color. Previously the living room and hallway were a mustard yellow (Martha Stewart calls it "Yarrow"). Mia's room was a vivid apple green (loved it!). Our bedroom was a soothing sage green (loved that too). Now it's Parisian taupe (ok, beige). All of it. It was a little shocking at first to live with such neutral walls, but it has really grown on me. I actually think I'll keep the softer, neutral palette for our house in Dallas. Maybe. We also totally de-cluttered. We got rid of big pieces of furniture that cluttered the space. And all those little things we never knew where to put? We either decided it wasn't needed or found a place for it. All of it. It was no easy task, I'll assure you. But, in the end, we were left with a small space that feels larger, airier and much more serene. Just what you're looking for in New York City. Let's hope some buyer out there agrees!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Big changes ahead

Hello. It's been so long since my last post, I don't really even know what to say. This three-month break of mine wasn't planned at all. Life just took a turn of its own and left me with my head spinning. So where to start? Well, after almost ten mostly wonderful years in New York City, Tarek, Mia and I are headed south. We are relocating to Dallas, Texas, the end of the month. This past August, we made a three-week trip down and managed to find, make an offer and close on a house before we headed back home to NYC. I remember riding in the cab on the way home from the airport feeling total shock. I was looking at all the city lights as we drove over the Triborough Bridge and thought, "Oh my God. We're really doing this. We're leaving." To be honest, it sent me into a panic. In the past ten years, without me even realizing it, New York became our home. I was married while living here, bought our first home here, had the corporate career I thought I always wanted here (only to find out it wasn't what I always wanted), went back to school here, started a business here, became a mother here. It is going to be hard to say good-bye to such memories and experiences. On the bright side, I'm originally from Texas, so my family is there. It will be great for Mia to grow up around them. I think the panic I felt was also largely a big fear of change. Life will be very different once we leave. Change, while it can be wonderful in the long run, feels scary at first.

So, that's my news. The past several weeks have been totally focused on selling our apartment here. Which, of course, means constant cleaning and home showings to potential buyers. That has left absolutely no room for sewing (too messy). I can't even begin to tell you how much I miss my sewing machine. We had to remove my sewing cabinet (took up too much room and made our apartment seem small). This means all the stuff in it had to be put elsewhere. My sewing machine and serger are packed away in a closest. So sad. There is light at the end of the tunnel though. I will actually have an entire studio in our house in Dallas. I'm really looking forward to that!

It feels good to post. I'm sorry it took me so long. Oh, and the picture above is one of my favorite corners in Mia's room (pre getting-ready-to-sell-so-must-paint-everything-neutral walls).

Monday, July 03, 2006

Crazy hair and ketchup. Oh, and slipcovers.

In case you can't tell by the photo, Mia loves ketchup. She usually only has it when we go out to eat. If it's on the table at the restaurant, forget about it. Ketchup must be on everything. It's crazy. Just like her hair (a trait she got from her mom).

I started my slipcover project yesterday. All was going well until I realized I'm short on fabric. What a pain! I'm making a muslin cover first. I'll use that to make a paper pattern. Then I'll use the pattern to cut into the main fabric (white twill). I'm short a few yards of the muslin. Anyway, the chair is a dark rust color now. I'm going to keep the muslin cover on the chair to use as a base under the twill cover. Make sense? That way the rust color won't show through. Here's a not-so-great picture of phase one... draping the muslin on the chair. I'm looking forward to getting this finished. It's been on my to-do list for, ahem, 11 years (yes, you read that correctly).

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A dress for Mia

Here's Mia in another sample dress I made a few years ago. It's funny, when I made this dress, I didn't like it at first. I actually wasn't even going to put it in my line. At the last minute (literally), I added it to the selection at my trade show at my mom's request. And guess what. It was my best seller! Of course, that helped me see this dress in a different way. But now seeing Mia run around in it, it's one of my all-time favorites.

I made a trip to the garment district today to buy white twill for a slipcover I need to make. I also found a great linen at a fantastic price ($6.50/yard!) for an embroidery project. I'm looking forward to getting into the swing of things. First project though... clearing out my sewing area. argh.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Still here, I promise

I bet you think I've left for good. I can't believe it's been another week since I last posted. Things have been a little crazy around here. After we got back from Texas, my step-mother and aunt came to visit me a few days later. We had a fantastic time. Lots of talking, walking and shopping. We went to check out the new Anthropologie store in Rockefeller Center. It was the first time I'd been in one, and I was not disappointed. At least with the look and feel of the store. I thought the clothing was overpriced for the quality, but the home goods were somewhat fairly priced. I bought two tea towels I'd like to turn into skirts or something. I also found a lamp I absolutely loved, but decided against spending the $500 they wanted for it. This past Saturday, we had friends over for brunch. They were here visiting from Dallas. We had a great time and the breakfast casserole I made turned out great. So... the last couple of days were spent doing pretty much nothing. And I'll admit, it felt good. I had planned on going to the garment district today with Mia to get fabric to slipcover some chairs, but the rain (three days in a row now) held us inside. Maybe tomorrow...

I leave you with this beautiful flower. A few weeks ago, my friend Cathy and her son Charlie came over to play with me and Mia. They showed up with the most wonderful sunflowers. I enjoyed them so much before I left for the trip, that I bought more after we got back. These are from Cathy's bunch. Thank you Cathy!

Monday, June 19, 2006

We're back!

Wow, gone for over a week, and I didn't even say good-bye. Sorry about that. I had every intention of letting you know about our trip before we left, but that didn't work out. The night before we left, I was sitting at the sewing machine finishing Mia's sun hats at 10 p.m., and I still had to finish packing. Why I wait until the last minute for things, I'll never know. But it seems I always do. Anyway, we went to the Texas hill country (beautiful!) to spend time with my family. It was a great trip. I got to spend time with my grandmother, which was wonderful. Tarek even got these pics of us, which I absolutely love. Thank you Tarek!

Now that I'm home, I have my sewing mind spinning. I'm looking forward to working on some projects I've had sitting on the back burner. Pillows for the couch. Applique project for Mia's room. Should be fun!