beautiful bodega bags

I think bodegas in NYC are the biggest argument for an anti-plastic bag law in the city. If you are buying something from a corner bodega it is most likely something small and you are most likely only a block from your final destination. That’s the whole point of the bodega. It’s not a fully stocked grocery store. It’s an oh sh*t I forgot ___ and I need it immediately so I’m going to run to the corner bodega. Or it’s an I have a 5 minute lunch break where can I go? Or I’m just getting out of work at 10pm and am too hungry (or broke) to wait for Seamless.

And there’s literally one on every block. That’s why it’s called the corner bodega. You can carry that salad or that bottle of water or that frozen dinner a few feet to your office/apartment.

And yet everything you buy – even that single bottle of water – gets immediately placed in a cheap plastic bag. Every time. I’m on the anti-plastic bag bandwagon. I (almost) always have bags with me at the ready for my grocery store or Target or whatever shopping run on I’m on. And yet there are still times I take a plastic wrapped snack out of the corner bodega. Whether it’s because I’m not fast enough to tell the quick handed person at the register that I don’t need it. Or I’m in such a rush I don’t even think about it. Or I’m just being lazy that day. Whatever the reason I have ended up with many the bodega bags I don’t know what to do with. At home if I end up with a Target bag it’ll get re-used for cat poop or to carry my lunch in. But there’s no cat poop at work and I don’t usually have to carry my lunch home so these bodega bags go to waste.

That’s why I find these embroidered bodega bags so mesmerizing. In recreating these wasteful plastic bags into beautiful textiles, artist Nicoletta de la Brown took something so often hastily discarded and made them art.

The artist describes the series El Barrio Bodego as…

Res­cued from the gut­ter; blow­ing down the street like city tum­ble­weed. I reclaim and ele­vate what once was dis­carded by cre­at­ing embell­ished art objects. Grow­ing up in Brook­lyn and Harlem I’d visit my block’s bodega daily, with pen­nies in hand, and leave with price­less trea­sures. More than just bags, they reflect a sense of pride for my neigh­bor­hood and are a sym­bol of my cul­tural identity.

You can see more of Nicoletta’s work on her Baker Artist Awards page.

Brown Paper Bag via Weaving Hand

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Mighty Life List for 2014

I am revisiting my Mighty Life List from two years ago. I kind of forgot about it there for a while and I didn’t do anything on my list in 2013. So I’m re-focusing and I’ve broken out what I really want to accomplish this year. I’ve broken it out into my definite list (things that I not only want to accomplish, but feasibly could) and my ideal list (things I’d really like to do in 2014 but may require more money, time or energy than I may have this year). And then at the bottom I’ve added some things to the list (unsurprisingly many of them are weaving related).

- Run a successful Etsy shop
- Learn to use my SLR camera
- Keep a consistent blog
- Only buy second-hand or cradle to cradle eco-friendly/sustainable clothing, or make it myself
- Live within my means
- Go four months without purchasing any magazines
- Be passionate about my job/Have a job I’m passionate about
- Start a gratitude journal
- Update and maintain the memory list I made for Ben
- Eat at the restaurant at the bottom of the hill on Newark Ave
- Have a picnic at Liberty State Park
- Go a month without eating at restaurants
- Take tourist photos of my own romance
- Send out a package to a friend once a month
- Visit Savannah
- Ride my bike whenever it is a viable option
- visit the Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art
- Write a comic
- visit The Cloisters with Ben
- visit the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company
- Simplify my home, closet, ipod, bookshelf, craft table
- Run my own business

- Meet Billy Joel
- Road trip across the US
- Sleep in a tree house
- Speak another language fluently (or at least conversationally)
- Learn to draw
- Live in another country
- Have enough money saved to feel comfortable
- Remove toxins from my food and environment
- Read and/or donate every book in my home
- Get another tattoo
- Work with a South American artisan
- Volunteer in another country
- Make, cook, wear, etc. one thing from each of my Pinterest boards a week
- Take a long train ride with Ben
- Attend the Penland School of Crafts
- be able to play five songs on the piano by heart (at least one be a Billy Joel song)
- learn Billy Joel’s Scenes from an Italian Restaurant on the piano
- Volunteer at an animal shelter
- Teach a class
- Sew the Craftsy Sew Retro Bombshell Dress
- Bake a layered cake
- Take a workshop at the Instituto Allende in San Miguel, Mexico or just visit San Miguel, Mexico
- Make a video of our Costa Rica trip

Added for 2014
- Always have a dressed loom
- Weave everyday
- Learn a new weaving technique – either tapestry weaving or weaving on a 4 harness floor loom
- Experiment with weaving things other than scarves
- Visit Guatemala
- Be on time (ideally early) to everything
- Take three M Dance classes a week for a year
- Cut out sugar
- Sew two Cooper messenger bags (1 for myself, 1 for Ben)
- Have 2,000 followers on Pinterest

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The days pass…

Looking back at 2013:

(A lot of not great things also happened this year. I’m focusing on the good stuff with this list.)
- Hawaii trip with Ben
- Sara Weaves
- Wove 24 scarves
- Beach house
- New job
- Jennie and Josh’s Wedding
- Thanksgiving in Vermont (with Amelia and Anoushka)
- Joe & Kathy got engaged
- Organized and simplified closet

2014…Looking forward:
- Billy Joel (Feb 3)
- Turning 32
- Alex and Joey’s Wedding & Florida
- Joe & Kathy’s Wedding

2014 (Goals)
- Learn to meditate
- Never have an undressed loom
- Sugar detox
- Simplify my home
- Weave 100 scarves
- Create other woven accessories
- Launch Etsy shops
- Learn to weave tapestry
- Visit Savannah

For your 2014…
free printable calendar via oh the lovely things

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A sign is a sign.

Found in Jersey City, NJ

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Weekends in Wonderland

Last weekend before the new job. Got to see these two adorable faces.

Last time I saw Hadley, she was just learning to walk. This time she was walking up a storm and very chatty. It’s crazy how much they change in such a short period of time.

Emmy was pretty much the same. I also got to see Kendall, Don and Tobey. Did some pre-new job shopping and some thrift store shopping. Here’s my awesome haul:

Clockwise from top left: Ann Taylor Loft sweater ($6), Silk jacket/blazer ($3), Madewell striped dress ($6 [saw at the store less than two weeks ago for $98]), J.Crew yellow flower sweater ($6), 80′s polka dot blazer ($2), Inspi(red) Gap t-shirt ($3), 3 cones of yarn ($4), Bright pink 60′s dress ($4), Elie Tahari silk printed dress ($15), Close-up of the Elie Tahari print, Steven Alan striped sweater ($4), 90′s Sunflower print baby doll dress ($2), Pins & Needles heart print blouse ($6), Close-up of heart print, Whitney Biennial Chuck Close for Gap t-shirt ($2.50), Sleeveless striped top ($2).

There was also a delicious home-made gluten-free cake (by Ben) and chocolate frosting (by me). It was too delicious to stop for a picture.

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Etsy Finds Tuesday

Retro Owl - $42

Electric Blue Hand Dyed Crop Top - $36

Girl Crowd Print - $20

Japanese Washi Masking Tape set of 2 / Bright & Dark Colorful Mosaic - $7.90

Watercolor Map of the World Map, Art Print, 18x24 inch (749) - $23.91

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Weekends in Wonderland

My camera battery died last week and I can’t find the charger so there are no pictures from this weekend. But I spent the weekend in Virginia celebrating a good friend’s baby shower.

That's Laura on the left and Jennie on the right

Laura and I were flatmates in London during our school’s summer program almost 10 years ago. We have maintained a long distance friendship – seeing each other and catching up once every year or two. It clearly had been too long since we last caught up since I almost deleted the baby shower evite – having no idea what-so-ever that Laura was expecting. But it was a wonderful surprise and, obviously, the perfect excuse to celebrate and visit. I got to meet Laura’s partner Javier and could see how much love they have for one another and the love of their friends and family at the shower and am so happy for their little girl to be a part of all of that love. Can not wait to visit again this summer to meet her. There’s no better excuse to visit an old friend than the welcoming of a new baby.

And one month from this weekend I get to visit Jennie, the other flatmate of ours in that picture above to celebrate her wedding. It’s great looking back at that time in London and I am so grateful that both of these girls are still a part of my life (as well as our other roomie – Melli – who is also expecting her second child this year – it’s certainly a very celebratory year for all of my London flatmates!!). I just wish we all lived closer and could see one another more often!

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Pretty Girls on Pinterest

“I need to sign up for Pinterest. I can just look at pretty girls all day” – Ben while looking at Pinterest over my shoulder

He may have a point. But there’s also pretty boys.

And kittens!

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Hawaii Trip with Ben

Officially crossed off my Mighty Life List.

Ben and I decided (meaning I decided and Ben went along with it) to take advantage of some cheap flights to Hawaii and booked a trip for my 31st birthday.

So the trip was finally here and first our cat became a super diva and at the end of the 2 hours it took us to get her into her carrier she managed to climb over my face – drawing blood in the process. Of course she was a happy purring kitty by the time we got her to my aunt’s house. Then we had about 4 hours to sleep before we had to drive to Philly for our 5 am flight. We made it fine to LA but then our connecting flight was delayed an hour because the conveyor belt that carried the luggage onto the plane broke so the crew had to load everything manually. Still managed to make it to Oahu with just enough time to make our flight to Kauai when we were stuck on the plane on the runway for 45 minutes because they couldn’t get the door open. Seriously. So we missed our flight to Kauai – the last flight of the night of course. We of course had already booked a room and a car for the night in Kauai that were both non-refundable. And then began the search of a hotel room in Oahu which took an hour with every single hotel we called being booked for the night. This all resulted in me – traveling for the last 22 hours on 4 hours of sleep mind you – crying in the Oahu airport. Thank goodness for Ben. He was awesome and got us a beautiful room with a beautiful view of the ocean. Of course this room cost more than all of our other hotels for the week combined and I was so tired I didn’t even care how nice the room or the view was and immediately passed out only to wake up early to make our new flight to Kauai. All resulting in our “budget” trip to Hawaii not being budget or even “budget” at all. But still, we were now in Hawaii and we had an amazing time.

Our first day in Kauai we drove through the Waimea Canyon which was beautiful and amazing (you can pretty much assume that description for everything we did and saw on the trip). It was cool to explore this area with Ben since it’s one of the things I didn’t get a chance to do when I visited Kauai four years ago with Gigi and Carol.

That night we went to Hanapepe for their weekly Art Night. It was a great night of good food and beautiful art and we ended it in an awesome used book store where I found two rare books – one on indigenous jewelry and one on weaving – that I got for a steal. To top it off the owner was from the town over from where I grew up in NJ. Small world.

The next day we drove up to the north coast of Kauai. Stopping along the way for some amazing views and beaches.

and roosters of course…

We even made a stop here…

the same exact spot I was in 4 years with Gigi and Carol

although clearly on a much nicer day this time around (or at least with a better camera in tow).

For my birthday we had a nice dinner at the one fancy restaurant on the island that had a gluten-free menu. Unfortunately my birthday fell on the one night of the week that they were closed so we had a really lovely day-before-my-birthday birthday dinner.

And then some very tasty shaved ice on my actual birthday.

And then we were off to beautiful Oahu…

(not by sailboat. duh.)

Ben had some fun in the trees.

And then I took a very nice picture of Ben standing on a some rocks out in the water.

And then Ben took one of me…

Do you see that wave coming up behind me? Yeah…so did Ben. But did he tell me?

That would be a no. He didn’t want to ruin the picture of course.

So we watched the sunset in Oahu.

And enjoyed a fun night out.

Even got to meet up with Lucy who I’ve known and kept in touch with since I was 5.

I got to visit with her parents while we were in Kauai.

On our last morning we hiked up Diamond Head.

I didn’t mind the hike up so much. It was the hike down I had problems with.

Since our last day was Valentine’s Day I decided to put on my Hawaii-appropriate V-Day dress for our ride to the plane.

On this completely un-Hawaii-related note, I actually got that dress months before I ever booked the trip from the amazing Shareen Vintage (remember?). I got it for a wedding I was going to but decided not to wear it at the last second since (as Ben put it) people at the wedding might ask me when I’m due. (In Ben’s defense, he wasn’t saying it made me look fat or anything. It really did make me look pregnant.) But I figured if I was ever going to wear it, this was the time. And I didn’t care if anyone on our drive to the airport thought I was preggers.

I mean this was the type of person we came in contact during the drive. People who had to be told how to drive…

So despite a rather rocky start, we ended up having an amazing trip. And I happily got to cross one more thing off of my Mighty Life list.

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Jonathan Adler is my hero.

Exhibit A: Excerpt from Stacy Wichelhaus’ (of Hello Cupcake) interview featured on Papernstitch.

SW: Did you ever have a moment early on in your career where you were asked yourself “what the heck am I doing”?

JA: Every day. Every single day. I can’t count the number of times I would just lie in the fetal position on the bed. The numbers of screw ups that have happened over the course of my career are of such monumental scale and capacity. I’ve had so many of those terrible moments. I think doing your own thing, especially when it’s as weird a thing as a creative business, it’s a preposterous undertaking and you have to be slightly delusional and you need to fully believe that something as crazy as what you’re trying to do can work even though there is a possibility that it may not. You need to be incredibly resilient and hard working. But don’t take yourself too seriously and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. I wish people weren’t as hard on themselves as I was on myself.

(Read the whole interview here. It’s worth it.)

Exhibit B: F*** it and giant brass bananas. (I almost wrote it as ‘f*** giant brass bananas’ but realized that it might not be read the way I intend) This video is amazing and must be watched. Must be watched. Must.

Image via Jonathan Adler's Pinterest

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