ho ho WHOAH!

all i wanted for christmas was r...

but r was naughty...
   and brought me a new laptop.

i hope santa was nice to you!


sealed with a kiss

and guarded by a very large cat. (cody is ready for the recession.) i am still adjusting to new york air. which is apparently adjusting to itself. it has been negative 72 degrees one minute, the next, it's acapulco. i'm in a little apartment the size of a shoe, and when not at work, i spend the balmy frigid hours sewing. my goal is to finish a holiday dress made partly from this pattern swapped by the awesome emilykate, and partly from the bouncy tiered skirt offered by weekend designer. i am a firm believer that one should dress up for the holidays. way up. bordering on costume, if you will. i even went so far as to ask my awesome mom-in-law to send me her gorgeous red velvet floor length vintage coat to finish my christmas look-- a look which, admittedly, would be better had i not left my ten dollar baby blue sparkling vintage dress in LA. so sad. even sadder, what with the move and the new job and the healthy diet, i am now actually able to fit into its wasp waist with none of the intended refashioning required. wait! saddest of all! i am 80% sure the same will not hold true next year! sigh. it'll be me and the fat cat, guarding the laundry quarters.


why thankya again....

for wondering about my wanderings! i am just now coming up for air... new york air, to be exact... and will be back with a real live post soon (i actually made some stuff from my birthday fabric before the world went upside down). s.w.a.k., oona


why thankya!

and here you have it, mom and dad: proof that i used my joann's gift card!

(my mother has this strange fear that giftcards-as-prizes are never actually used. which i guess i can understand, as it took me two months to use mine. but it was fun knowing it was waiting patiently in my wallet, like a little birthday pixie.)

i would also like to note that this shopping spree was part of an attempt to buy some solid material, as everything i own has some sort of wild pattern on it. three out of seven ain't bad, eh? i hope my support group leader will be pleased...

i'll try to carry my love for the maxi dress into fall with the red knit (which is a nice deep color, way more orange-y red than the pic) and a knee length version with the crazy-crazy i-don't-CARE-if-it's-not-solid! blue knit. the chocolate brown print is fairly stiff, i think it might look great as burdastyle's anda à la the M.I.A. incurable homebody's big floral print (where you at girl?), and adding a wide belt as nikkishell did. the flowery wash is quite silky... no idea what it should be. and i'm not sure what to do with the yellow eyelet (but i need a good solid top!), the salmon cotton (the ladies in line at the cutting table said it matched my cheeks, damn heavy-handed blush) or the white & gray flowers... maybe this tunic dress?

actually, i'm not completely sold on any of my choices. suggestions anyone? emilykate, any flashes of brilliance?


delightful don

i finally tried out a weekend designer pattern, after many week-days of bookmarking and hemming and hawing and not wanting to do ANY MATH. this camie pattern was about as much addition and subtraction as i was willing to handle on my first drafting.

i added a stretchy band of unknown material to the bottom to appease r's constant desire to see my figure. (nice, that.) the blouse-y top efficiently handles the belly's inevitable expansion when dining out (one must always think ahead).

it took about 30 minutes to make 2 yards of thin ribbon out of the very slippery body material for the keyhole opening. and about 4 minutes to hack it off and go with a vintage button instead.

oona: do you like this picture?

r: you should add bitemarks to your neck before you upload it. like you've been bitten by a vampire.



nacho libre: the cheese stands alone

i do believe i should be thinking at this point: oh how i miss cheese. but i don't. it's astounding.

we mixed up some fresh guacomole (used lemon instead of lime, SO good); r sauteed some yellow squash, orange peppers and baby carrots:

oona: "what did you put in this? it's fantastic!" 

r: "i don't know." 

(oona scrunches her face in frustration at r's mad improvisational cooking skillz.)

i browned up some ground dark turkey with the help of simply organic's seasoning packets (yeah, no improv for me, actually i used a packet on the guac too) and topped it off with vermont's own green mountain gringo salsa (they are known for mexican cusine in the snowy mountains of vermont, didn't you know that?), then made each nacho right at the table for the perfect bite. i must also bow to the prowess of r's perfect bite skillz. that palm-sized nacho you see pictured above? that, my friends, is the perfect bite, and was consumed whole. repeatedly.



it's a good thing i don't obsessively collect things, because stamps would be next on the list. what's that you say? i am delusional and am already a hoarder of whatever tickles my fancy? oh, alright.

my swap from emilykate arrived today (all the way from australia!) and i am so excited... this awesome pattern is one size too small for me, but i am hoping to make some adjustments and have a clone of this:

see mom? i didn't cut it! i love this dress. it was swiped from my parents' magical attic closet which always seemed to produce some new retro item every time i'd come over and get everyone drunk enough to not mind me rummaging through their things. so that i might collect them. ah, this post's tiny circle is complete.

(ps: if you'd like some swap goodies of your own, come join our flickr swap group!)


because i said scout's honor:

i would like to provide evidence that i did indeed sew this weekend. though not until the very last minutes of sunlight of said weekend. i spent most of it at, god, yahweh and yoda save me, THE MALL. nothing was fully accomplished, and now it is time to have a little wine and nachos. (i'm not sure where i got this attachment to the honor of a scout needing to be upheld. i was a brownie for about ten minutes when i was a little girl ((the precursor to a girl scout on the east coast)). i think my mom & i were supposed to bring cookies to the first meeting, and we brought brownies instead-- you know, in honor of brownies. as i recall that was all the Powers That Be needed to oust us from the group. but on the other hand, i do remember being part of a weekend girls' camping trip, which had to be well into a scout's career, no? i cried about being away from home, i cried about our troop leader losing our way in the woods, i cried about peeing in the dirt, i cried about the tarantulas my fellow brownies promised me were clinging to every treetop...) (clarification, mom?)



i imagine us, one day, as parents, yelling at our kids: "dammit, drink your vegetables!" r has made this green drink for many years now, and has never been able to coax any guest into liking it. it consists of a bag of organic greens, lemon & lime juice, tart green apples, and amaranth grain, all blasted together in our industrial strength blender. it is actually quite tasty. no, really. hana, what was your tasty green treat? sewing is promised this weekend, scout's honor!



i hate my blog layout! it's too dark in our tree house apartment! there's nothing to eat! i don't like my fall clothing! i missed dress-a-day week!

waaaah, waah.

well, geri at sewable gave me this fancy dancy award (right before my computer's aneurysm) because i'm "overly entertaining"... when i'm not WHINING... i'm not sure where it originated, but the babelfish translation is "prize to the personal effort". (r has always called presents and awards prizes: for example, a birthday present is a Prize. i love that. not only do you get a gift, it's like you've won something.) thanks geri, you have given me the perfect opportunity to introduce some peeps who will probably be far more enjoyable than me right now.

1. put the prize & rules on your blog and indicate who gave it to you by identifying their blog.
2. select 6 bloggers to whom you would like to give this prize.
3. inform them by leaving a comment on their blog.
4. write 6 of your most important values and 6 negative points you condemn.

(whine alert) i don't WANNA choose 6 peeps! it's too HAaaaRD! dammit. okay. to make it easier on my whiny ass, i put my blogroll in a hat, left out anyone i've prized before & anyone who ain't peeped in awhile, and picked six.

flighty girl: yahoo pick! just had a baby (that makes three) and STILL blogging more than me...
secret cave of the sugar mama: how fortuitous... also has a house full (three), and cracks me up daily.
nikki shell: oooh, yay, i love her! and another house full. (three, i believe--seems to be the magic number for this hat)
elsie marley: just. so. pleasing.
cutting edges stitches & seams: yeah, mirela is the definition of personal effort.
weekend designer: okay, i think he may actually be a robot. a sewing robot.

if you happen to see this post here's your prize... i'm not informing anyone because god knows i just spent 40 minutes devising the whole hat plan.

i value:
honesty. kindness. respect. r. the ability to listen. a good bottle of blanton's.

i de-value:
lying. schmoozing. pretentiousness. the ability to ignore others. box wine.

oh, and speaking of wine, WHINING.


a la peanut butta SANDwiches...

first of all: big daddy, you will be pleased to know that, occasionally, macs get sick. mine's been sick since my last post. but don't get up on your PC pedestal yet; it was completely due to user error. i'm still working out the kinks, so no fresh food friday pic, just 5 words: peanut butter and banana sandwich. i've got a shit ton of stuff to post about (by the way, i curse a lot, i've decided it's time to share that): awards! home decorating! maxi dresses! (i missed wear a dress week, for god sake. i'm not sure i'll ever get over it.) see you sunday, fingers crossed.


fresh food fridays: figs.

two posts in one day? seriously? i know. i'm sorta psyched about something. here at balloona headquarters, we've decided to make some changes. for one, i'm working with a personal trainer. (i KNOW!) for two, we're eating... healthy. egads. it can't be true. what of ham tartes and cheesy poofs? howsa 'bout chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches? maybe a bottle of jack daniels to wash it down? well, i'm not saying nevermore, but i am saying we're eating healthier. and as i am a snacker of the most heinous brand, i am on a mission to find fresh, healthy treats that will trick my junk food brain into thinking it's getting sweet and/or crunchy salty goodness. which in fact, it WILL be getting... just of the more raw & unadulterated brand. every friday i'll post a new snack, in my quest to stay the course and find fun and healthy stuff to eat. i hope you play along & maybe try something new-- and suggestions are greatly appreciated! first up: fresh figs. not dried, and definitely not newtons (though paul's may make the cupboard cut). and they are more sugary than christmas in candyland, no lie. pick ones that have a bit of give to them, and a nice deep color. this snacking recipe is simple: 1. slice each fig from stem to bum in half. 2. drizzle with warm honey. that easy. and if that's too much work, wash em and thow em down yer gullet like i did.

we set LA on fire!

the hollywood bowl, lit up by fireworks and a cacophony of tchaikovsky from the LA philharmonic and the USC trojans' marching band. fairly awesome. (you can see the the trojans' conductor in the pinspot, down the aisle in the audience. pics are courtesy of our wonderful friends who have now come and gone... sigh...)


just a quick note....

flighty girl is having a sweeeeet apron giveaway for her 500th post... stop by & try to win! (chicken little has nothing to do with it. but our friends from NY are coming to visit this weekend!!! chicken little doesn't have much to do with them, either. but i hate posts without pictures. and it's a NY picture. so there you have it.)


once i made a couch.

and called it a dress. if only computer screens had scratch n' sniff technology built in. well, not that this dress has an odor of any sort... but i wish you could feel the weight of this material. bad analogy, but you know what i mean. this fabric, in my opinion, was not meant for a dress. at least not a summer dress. and i'm not the type who likes to wear shirts under summer dresses so as to carry them into the next season. especially not when the dress looks like a couch in the first place. this burdastyle pattern (sabrina) was destined for a pregnant friend to flounce around town in after miraculously having brought a rather large baby into the world and showing no sign of ever having been pregnant. of course, after donning these 10 pounds of flowers, i'm pretty sure she would feel as if she were preggers again (and i've got the feeling she can do without that for awhile). so, its destiny has changed. it is now up at the brand new flickr swap group i created this holiday weekend! perhaps it will be stunning on someone else. perhaps someone who can pull off the "yes i know it's fall but doesn't this frock look fab with my turtle neck?" or maybe some adventurous sewist will make a loveseat out of it. are you that gal? head on over to flickr & request to join in the fun! (not that i've gone all LA snob on you, just keeping the flakes away.)


what we drank, day 7... the final tally:

balloonas cannot exist on alcohol alone! err, yes, i did skip day 6... we had the awesome rombauer zinfandel, this wine is deeply insane, but i failed to get a good picture. probably should take the photo before uncorking. you don't mind the week of drink ending with a chocolate banana shake, do you? i didn't. happy birthday week, mom & dad!


what we drank, day five

please to bend down to the one called the green wine. i'm not talking about organically produced ecologically sound alcohol here, though i'm sure there is some green-green wine out there. this is vinho verde, portugese green wine, a favorite summer drink of my parents for many years. i wasn't actually into it till this visit. it may be because my first taste was from an old bottle. green wine is meant to be drunk within a year of bottling, i think, and my first bottle was probably past its prime.

speaking of which, dudes, i think this whole "what we drank" thing is past its prime. not that we're going to stop drinking, i did after all set a goal, but i find it hard to blog about drinking without feeling like i'm sounding really pretentious, or really alcoholic. but i will stay the course! two to go!


what we drank, day four

the gin and tonic. served in a glass which, according to both eg & big daddy, was not appropriate, but i wanted it anyway. it seemed perfect for a classic drink. the recipe calls for equal parts gin and tonic (though i am positive big daddy has leadfoot with the gin), a slice of lime, and crushed ice. parental balloonas' g&t has fresh squeezed lime in it as well, and must only be made with canada dry's tonic water. very refreshing! very summery! one day, r & i would like to have a vintage bar cart stocked with only the classiest bottles. and i would like to refer to them as classy. the bombay sapphire bottle would definitely be one of them. tanqueray also. jack daniels. they wouldn't even need to be brands we would enjoy-- sailor jerry spiced rum is in, far as i'm concerned-- they just have to be of a certain style. we have talked about this at length while wandering around the liquor store. i swear we do other things, too. three drinks to go...


what we drank, day three


eg: "this is what happens when you mix cheap wine with good fruit."

oona: "what happens?"

eg: "you throw out the wine and eat the fruit."


what we drank, day two

just a bottle of red and a bottle of white. how mundane.

i think wine is my favorite beverage. the riesling was fruity yet not overly sweet. as for the zinfandel (seven deadly zins):

eg: "sexy."

oona: "like drinking a stick of butter."

big daddy: "a ribald bawdy whore."

i'm not sure there's much more to say than that.


gone drinkin (or, what we drank, day one)

arrived 12 AM. drinking prosecco and eating the world's best birthday cake (yellow with chocolate frosting, courtesy of my mom) by 1:30 AM. currently, listening to a private concert (courtesy of big daddy and a very pretty guitar), and getting ready for a night out. since we are a drinking sort, i thought it might be fun to have week of What We Drank. maybe you'll find a new temptation here. aren't you lucky? so, prosecco... italy's answer to champagne, that most excellent of choices when one has grown tired of the everyday veuve clicquot. and really, who isn't tired of veuve clicquot. at a fraction of the cost, big daddy deems it "a very egalitarian wine." it goes perfectly with chocolate cake (so well that half the cake was gone by 3 AM). you may also enjoy it with some spicy thai, or a light summer picnic. or just on its own. who doesn't like bubbles?


the letter YOU.

it's still your birthday here...

click on your "card" for your birthday song (something all will enjoy, i think.)


first time i've ever been thrilled to get an A minus

that said, i've spent all day at the mechanic's with tank and i still feel the need to do something highly productive tonight. are you a type A? find out here. (it's very scientific.)


okay you win.

firstly, thank you all so much for the happy birthday wishes! i would add a grinning emoticon here if i knew how.

so here's the story. one hot day in downtown LA, i decided to take advantage of a long lunch break and frolic in the garment district. there's a 4 block radius of fabric shops there, surrounded by several streets straight out of the crackhouse scene in jungle fever. one wrong turn and you are truly in some kind of danger. i know this because i made about twenty wrong turns. luckily tank was the perfect disguise. 

i arrived safely, found the only unclaimed metered space (it was my birthday week, after all), and put my game face on. it was a busy saturday, with shop owners vying for attention. one particularly shady dude whispered as i walked past: "a dollar a yard. a dollar a yard." i pretended, in my best new yorker fashion, not to hear him, and casually fingered the bolts at the edge of the shop meant to lure you in for the more expensive stuff. i glanced inside, sure that i would be on my way quickly, and almost dropped dead on the spot. along the walls and down the middle of this tiny crowded shop were bolts and bolts of the Coolest. Fabrics. EVER. from behind me, that whisper again... only this time he added that most beautiful of words: Everything. my game face cracked. suddenly shady dude was positively russell crowe-ian. "a dollar a yard? i'd like... three... of this one..." i managed to stammer out. russell immediately offered me six yards for five dollars, and we were off to the races. i left the shop with a sack half my size for only 30 bucks of birthday money. i floated down the street, beaming at everyone like i was from kentucky and goin' to the fair. 

now, that might have been my downfall. i should have stopped there and grinned my way right back to tank, made some time to actually eat some food during my lunch break... but no, i pushed it. i walked into the biggest, prettiest corner store on the block, just to see, and was immediately accosted by a salesman. did i say my dollar-a-yard beau was shady? feh. THIS dude was shade-apalooza. he honed in on me & the mod silk print i was eyeing and pronounced it twelve dollars a yard. i politely declined. he brought the price down. i told him i had 23 bucks cash and two pennies. he badgered me to use a credit card. i said no. he badgered me to use the ATM. i said no. my elated mood wearing thin, i bade him farewell. he told me to give him the 23 bucks and he'd give me four yards. i twirled and handed him the cash. he told me to give him two more dollars. seriously? we ACTUALLY HAD A TUG OF WAR WITH MY MONEY. i'm not even lying. the new yorker in me finally came out and i left, with my money, amidst some shocked stares. it only took several seconds of walking with eight hundred glorious pounds of russell's fabric on my back to get me in a good mood again. 

i tore into it this weekend and made this!

and this!

and this!

and very soon i'll make lots more, what with my fancy new BWOF birthday subscription... THAT'S RIGHT! but more on that tomorrow. now it is wine-thirty, as sugar mama would say, and time to sign off. 'night!



i cannot BELIEVE i haven't been doing a week of birthday posts. i mean, how did a birthday brat like me miss the opportunity to spread said brattiness across the world wide web? i'll tell you how, r's been so busy spoiling me, i haven't had the chance! expect some birthday week wrap up goodness very soon...


willy wonka is a BWOF magazine.

on a bright sunny day on the first of july, i skipped down to my local newsstand (located, conveniently, 2 blocks from my house), one of the few newsstands i've come across that actually carries burda world of fashion magazine (again, convenient-- that or someone knows there are a few chicks living in the west hollywood area that would dig it.) anyway, skipping. which was odd because after my purchase, i was on my way to the pet hospital to visit the ever-sick cat. but i was allowed skipping pre-visit. i felt like charlie and the chocolate factory. i was going to buy the golden ticket. treasures awaited.

then the man told me it wouldn't be in for another three months. insert crestfallen oona here, trudging head hung to the pet hospital, magazine-less and in for three hours of various wailing animals.

but he LIED! it finally arrived mid month. i'm sure they were quite tired of me by then, pawing daily at the old june issue. what's that you say? i could've tried the june issue? feh. not for 10 bucks an issue. popping the proverbial burda cherry needed to be special. (i'm that way.)

and it WAS! i love this magazine! i spent my one day off this week making my first pattern from it. and i'm glad i waited this long to try it-- i needed to make many other patterns before this, because THIS magazine assumes you know something. it is streamlined. it is concise. it is not wasteful with words or excess pattern paper. it is german, after all. (they do give one sewing course per magazine, with drawings, i can only assume for silly americans.)

the material for this top was destined for someone else, but er, uh, it ended up for ME. my birthday is coming and so the brattiness has begun. my folks and i are taking over the surrounding vicinity for a week in august, as we all have birthdays in that merry month, and i plan on having many new things to wear. look out burda WOF, i'm not a virgin anymore-- you will be used and abused.

thaaaaaaaaat's right BWOF. you know you like it.


i feel the earth move under my feet

well, more like slide around under my feet. we had a bunch of earthquakes here in LA today, although i guess most of them were aftershocks. like 24 of them. i've got limited internet time as web type things are in flux, but i thought it was interesting that i planned on posting this pic today of my very! first! burda WOF magazine! because it reminds me of a map of shaky terrain. and that's just what we got today. i've been enclosed in a small room with singers and musicians all day, so i don't really know the extent of the quakes, but i think most californians may be considering it life as usual. i hope.

gotta go sing... but sewing goodness tomorrow, courtesy of the map above...



you know i'm excited when i use the caps key.  the first time i tried it, this burdastyle pattern made me doubt any intelligence i might have in any area of life, let alone sewing. but after a night poring over the instructions with one of r's famous gin martinis, something clicked.

maybe it has to do with the gin martinis.

i wish i had a picture of my first attempt, a blatant copy of this wonderful version by lauren. it was quite pathetic. it's still stuffed in a ball in the back of the closet.  i ran into several problems... the instructions had mislabeled pieces, i cut the back piece out twice, i put the lining in upside down, and oh yeah, i didn't have enough fabric.  just a few minor glitches. this one was going swimmingly until r pointed out that the intended gathered empire waist made me look pregnant. (lauren, yours doesn't look preggers, how did you do it?) in hindsight i'm glad i have a husband who thinks i have a hot body and likes my clothes to fit, but at the time i went ballistic. (yes, i know. so i now add to the list: r feeds me alcohol, homemade hummus, and thinks my bod's hot. do not rip his head off.) 

even though i was fuming during most of the 3 days it took to fix it, i'm glad the pregnant waist is gone. thanks, r. you are my own personal tim gunn.  (but, you know, you like girls.)


WOH wrap-up: YOU made a LOT of stuff.

behold, bloggers' bounty from our week of happy!  

click on any row to be whisked away to many happy blogs.

seriously, would you just look at all the stuff we all made? are you convinced? i am! creativity might be a luxury (in the best sense of the word), but it is also most definitely a necessity. i need it like air, water and gin martinis.
seeing your creativity at play this week was so inspiring, and enabling (again, in the best sense of the word). so no more fooling around, i'm making time to fool around every day. even if it's a moment (as evidenced by row 5's quick creation: the lakshmi stapler. how much happier would stapling be?).

thank you all so much for playing with me.

click on any of the pics above to land at the blogs of these wonderful creators...

(row 1: eileen's garden, row 2: the incurable homebody, row 3: marmota's corner
row 4: much- adored, row 5: blog-less friend in town, row 6: me)


WOH, day seven: the circle is complete.

or rather, the stripey stripey lines have come full circle...i took this skirt (before pic below) from my mom's magical attic. every time i looked in that attic, there was some new-vintage-awesomeness that i desperately needed to steal. often with the promise of NEVER EVER cutting said awesomeness up. but this floor length skirt had seen better days (many of which i spent wearing it into the ground), so it's getting a new life as a maxi-dress. still needs darts, and a zipper, but i think gathering the courage for more stripey creativity is a good end to the week of happy challenge, even if i didn't finish...

we're running out to see the man in a big movie...


a little music for your WOH day seven, courtesy of mick at muchadored. she swapped this awesome mix with me awhile back, and i've listened to it pretty much non-stop this past week. aptly named "creative to the max", it has really been inspiring! unfortunately i couldn't download all the songs at muxtape (they only allow 12) and man was it hard deciding which had to go...
click on the tape to hear some good tunes! i'm putting mine on now to see what day seven will bring...


WOH, day six: ain't technology grand

i'm tired of my header. well, let's face it, today i'm tired in general. (i am just now realizing it could have something to do with the 3 vials of blood they took for our yearly physicals yesterday. hmmm...). so for day six, after copious amounts of coffee and with good jazz on the tube, i played in photoshopland whilst r played in videogameland. a very lazy, very nice saturday.

i was inspired by julie ree's beautiful, clean featherweight header. haven't figured out what to put in that vase... i'm sort of liking that one... probably none of these are done yet, but it was fun and relaxing messing around.

and, um, my mood was not helped by skipping WOH day five. mr. balloona especially noted a mark-ed drop. (hence the hummus, and oh yeah, the gin martini. which was awesome. have i mentioned that gin is good for cramps? at least, that's what the july issue of O said. i knew oprah was good for something. note to self: r feeds me homemade hummus and mixed drinks when certain visitors arrive. do not bite his head off. but i digress.) maybe i'm one of those people who really has to do something, anything creative, every day. the problem is, i think it's frivolous to take time out for it, you know, what with the state of the world, the state of my mind, the state of texas. of course i think it's perfectly fine and well advised for every other creative person in the world. like all of you. (and especially you, geri... welcome back!)