Venice in January

Venice Grand Canal  

Technically the best time to visit Venice is off-season, factually the best time to visit Venice is any time you can get there. These shots were taken with a disposable camera—pretty adequate, right? (It's virtually impossible to take a bad photo in Italy). Above, from a vaporetto on the Grand Canal, just beyond the Rialto Bridge. Below, the Piazza San Marco. Venice in late January is cold and beautiful and quiet, with the excitement of Carnival just around the corner.

 

Piazza San Marco Venice

 

 

posted by Rachel

A Black Tie Affair

Preston in bow tie

We're going formal for this New Year's Eve celebration, Preston included. He's got his own festive bow tie that is so easy to make, I hesitate to articulate the instructions, but here they are:

Supplies needed: bow tie / black nylon dog collar / needle / black thread / scissors

What to do: Slip the bow off of the tie band; stitch the center of the bow to the nylon collar (yep, that's it).

I found a vintage silk bow tie at a local thrift store that worked beautifully. If you're going to make one of these, try to get a similar "ready-tied" bow tie on a band or clip—it will be a lot easier to work with than the traditional "self-tie" style. Have a capital new year!

sewing supplies
vintage silk bow tie
Preston in bow tie
Preston in bow tie
Preston in bow tie

 posted by Rachel

New(ish) Boots for the New Year

booties  

A great way to give old knee-high boots a new life is to transform them into ankle booties. I loved this pair of suede wedge boots I found in Italy a few years ago, but at knee-height I was wearing them less and less often. I really wanted a pair of booties that came to just over the ankle, so . . . I paid a cobbler to shorten my boots, which is a perfectly fine option. However, if you have a hot glue gun and some DIY motivation, there's a good tutorial here.

 

 

posted by Rachel

Merry Christmas from Graceland

Graceland at Christmas  

If you know Jeff, you know he's a huge Elvis fan; hence we have a few items of Presley memorabilia stashed around the house. This is probably the strangest—a 1977 hybrid Christmas / sympathy card from Graceland, produced just months after the King's passing. . . . Here's hoping you & yours have a joyful holiday season.

 

Graceland at Christmas card

   

posted by Rachel

Nine Menswear Bunnies

nine menswear bunnies  

If you are my niece or nephew, spoiler alert—wait until AFTER Christmas to read this post. Everyone else, please continue. . . . I'm giving each of my nieces and nephews a handmade bunny for Christmas, using Martha Stewart's instructions for menswear bunnies. I'm using my Dad's Pendleton robe—originally purchased at Desmond's Department Store in Los Angeles sometime in the early 1960s. I particularly remember my Dad wearing this robe during cold New York winters when I was in high school. I wanted to do something fun with the fabric and this looked like a cute project. As often happens with things like this, about half-way through the process I started feeling like it was a bad idea (who wants demented homemade bunnies?) and was generally over it. However, I got some great advice from my friend Kristin, who happens to be exceptionally talented with sewing and craft projects. She suggested putting each bunny's components into separate bins—one bin of parts per bunny. I used several of Ikea's "Istad" plastic bags to separate my bunny parts and it really helped to keep things organized. Even so, construction took 10 months (which is an improvement over the two years it took me to finish this scarf).

 

menswear bunnies

 

menswear bunny

 

Preston and bunnies

 

wrapping bunnies

 

posted by Rachel