Friday, November 20, 2009

Eaton Canyon

Last weekend I organized a hike with some church friends to Eaton Canyon.  It was meant to give us a chance to meet new peeps, get our hike on, and have some alone time (much needed as we enter the rush and bustle of the holidays).  We walked a trail for about a mile, then hiked for another half mile to the waterfall.  It was a beautiful day and the much-earlier-than-usual wake-up was well rewarded.

[gray + brown = love]

[cute little pom pom plants]


[gnarled oak]

[keepsake acrons]

 I sat under that oak for an hour and listened to the sound of water trickling over leaves and rocks.  I looked up to see blue sky and birds.  I looked down and fell in love with acorns, which I proceeded to collect and stuff in my backpack.  Hope that's not considered stealing.  In any case, I am obsessed with them now and keep them in a glass vase on my coffee table.  To bring the outdoors indoors.  My sweet little autum display. 

It's a great time to be out and about in SoCal.  It's getting cold at night, but the sun's out during the day.  Here's to peaceful weekends and enjoying the coming holidays!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Winter in L.A.?!

In a rare moment of looking up from my knitting on the way to work this morning, this is what I saw:

[snowy city hall]

Though it might not seem like it, this is a very typical sight in L.A.  I should've snapped a pic with all the white unmarked vans, the trailers across the street, police officers directing pedestrian traffic, and crew members in cargo shorts holding wires and all kinds of equipment. 

Turns out a lot of filming is done at City Hall; I guess it's nondescript enough to pass for any number of real or imagined civic buiding.  Do you think it was purposely designed for this dual purpose?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lantern bouquet

I had a few lanterns left over from the Family Fiesta, and initially thought to keep them for future use.  As I was sorting them out to put away, though, an idea came to mind.  About half an hour of fidgeting with placement and security I had a satisfactory arrangement, which now hangs in a corner of my bedroom.

[leftover lantern bouquet]

L.A. Flower Market

Back in high school, we sold flower grams, or sometimes, just flowers, as fundraisers.  On the day of the sale, a couple of us would head down to the L.A. Flower Market at 6:00 a.m. to buy bunches and bunches of carnations.

A few weekends ago, I went with Jaxs -- the first time since high school -- to check out what was in season for the wedding reception (family gathering).  These days there's a $1 admission to enter, but, even just to look, it's quite worth it!  Here's just a glimpse of the eye candy:

sunflowers on 8th[street stall w/ sunflowers]



baby's breath[baby's breath]

Worlds and worlds of options!  Jaxs and I pared it all down and collected business cards so that an order could be placed closer to the reception date.  There were even floral supplies vendors, so we took care of containers, too. Success.

If you've never been, I highly recommend a visit!  Don't forget nearby Moscatel's -- which is related to the Michael's chain -- for tons of accessories.  One of the great things about going as an adult is that I can afford more than carnations, and I don't have to go to school right afterwards. (^o^)

The wedding reception was two weeks ago; see how the flowers came out in a future post (once photos are gathered, uploaded, and edited)!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Family Fiesta

It happened to be really HOT on the day of the Fiesta so we were obliged to set up tents.  The blue went against my color scheme, but when it's in the 90s, shade trumps beauty.   The streamers and papel picado added festive touches,

modern mexicana

fiesta decor

uunty to be pin

as did the doily garlands (sewn by Jaxs' mom the night before, and on ribbon instead of bias tape) and paper lanterns.  I re-used some green and pink Japanese packaging paper, from a package I had received, into prize ribbon pins for the family members, which Jaxs' sister helped glue-gun together.

At the conception phase, I'd envisioned square galvanized steel pots, each holding a succulent, placed together in larger squares of 3x3 or 4x4 on a tray and unified with a wide ribbon around the entire thing, creating a centerpiece.  Guests could take individual plants home as favors.  That didn't work out because we couldn't find little steel pots anywhere.  We went with default terra-cotta ones, which I lined down the center of each table.  Still looks pretty cute (especially in this picture, taken by Jaxs' friend who is a professional photographer)!

succulent favors

As far as entertainment, there was loads.  The kids immediately went for the moonbounce (the adults got their turns later), and one of Jaxs' clever friends (and apparently, veteran baby shower organizer) brought white onesies and fabric markers; guests took turns customizing for Little1, and we hung them against the backyard wall to dry and serve as decor.  Check out the ones below -- I'll definitely have to snap a shot of them all being worn!


There was also a little photoboothing:



and most people had their turn at one of the three pinatas!


At the midway(-ish) point, the couple gave a toast -- this is my favorite picture of them.

All in all, a wildly successful and fun event!  I learned that it's really difficult to make reality match the vision -- due to things like logistics, retail availability, working with strangers/acquaintances, and -- of course -- time restraints.  BUT I also learned that despite all that, a smile, a lot of communication, asking people to help with specific tasks, and, overall, going with the flow and allowing things to work themselves out makes for a happy event.  Everyone had a blast, especially Georgzilla and Jaxs, and that's what counts!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Papel picado progression

Decor follows food in the case of Georgzilla's and Jaxs' baby/family/housewarming shower.  They decided on Mexican, so I dubbed their event the Family Fiesta.  We had different teams to handle cake, drinks, favors, and activities, which left me as manager and director of decorations.

At first, Jax mentioned Mexican oilcloth tablecloths, which set the color scheme as "rainbow."  But to cover six long tables went out of my budget, so that idea was out.  (After considering many table covering options -- except for the disposable plastic ones, because they are 1) ugly and 2) un-eco-friendly -- including buying yardage at the Fabric District or using a Joann's coupon for a bolt of muslin, I went with the Ikea Knoppa flat sheet.  At $1.99, it's the downright cheapest reusable tablecloth ever!)

In an epiphany, I came up with a color scheme that I call "Modern Mexicana:"  shades of red and shades of green, with galvanized steel instead of terracotta.  Pink and green being Jaxs' favorite color pairing, I got an immediate thumbs-up. 

I ran to Chinatown to get varying sizes of paper lanterns in said colors, and grabbed a bunch of papier-mache streamers.  I also wanted to make a doily garland (tutorial on Project Wedding).

More than anything, I wanted to make this a really custom event.  It's my brother, after all.  I've been really into Mexican papel picado for a while, and this was my chance to design one of my own.  I was super-excited!  Once the big decisions were made, I began doodling and sketching and cutting out prototypes.

Initially, I was just thinking of making one, to put on the cover of their guest book and maybe another for their front door.  So I went crazy with details:


I definitely wanted the sheet to represent the entire event, so made sure it included their names, the date, reference to their Little1 (my niecephew!), their union (bells), and their home (see it in the middle?).  I also wanted it to retain a bit of the traditional papel picado motifs of flowers and doves, scallops and gridlines.

Then we went to Hawaii, and my design changed to incorporate a lot of those motifs because it was such a special trip for us.  I also wanted to make it simpler because somewhere along the way I decided that I wanted to make a papel picado garland out of tissue paper.


Pineapple -- the international sign of welcome; sea turtles -- because we swam with them; waves -- because Georgzilla is a surfer... with Little1 at the center of their heart and home.  But cutting out the bird feahers was still a lot of work.

So I simplified:


Larger numbers, thicker lettering, simpler flowers, simpler 'feathers'...


And here is the final cutout version.  Only two hours to cut each one -- sharp blade a must.


I cut about 60 altogether, in red, pink, and lime green tissue paper.  One of Jaxs' friends did the hanging up at the Fiesta, and here's what they look like, dancing in the sun and breeze on a clear day:

final and flyin'!

They were a hit!  Not only did the couple like them, so did the guests.  And I was a happy little helper, glad to have contributed something special to three people I love dearly.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Roses all around!

That the former owner of DC's place was a florist is evident all over the house.  The interior switchplates, handles, and knobs are all garden-related -- slender shovels for pull-handles, rose knobs, and even a rabbit-and-trellis wallpaper border in the laundry room.  Outside, there were ceramic woodland creatures as well as birdhouses and other celestial hangings and 'garden accents.'  (Notice the "were":  I long ago relegated them to that part of the yard closest to the trash bins, though in all likelihood we'll donate or give them away before we toss them -- one man's trash is another man's treasure, right?) I'm still working on extracting the flower-faced pavers. 

Those are the little things that are not necessarily DC's style, and will be switched out by-the-bye.  What's more permanent, and much to our benefit, is the variety of plants on the grounds, that don't. stop. growing.  We -- as well as friends and family -- have all got more than our daily dose of Vitamin C from the orange tree in the backyard.  The bees love the basil tree (yes, its branches are over 1" thick!) and we always see hummingbirds at the plumeria, stephanotis, honeysuckle, hibiscus, and more, whose names I don't yet know.  Last week I did some trimming and collected a few of the roses growing in the front yard into one lovely bouquet, that I brought back to my apartment.  We did a little photo shoot in the afternoon light, and I simply couldn't narrow it down to just one or two to post.  So here are five:

roses on black   tv backdrop

LR wall backdrop

yello trio   apt backdrop

How I wish that you could smell these roses!  I, for one, am so very grateful to inherit such a lovely garden, especially since my apartment only allows for growing in small pots.  The birds of paradise are now in bloom, new oranges are growing, camellia buds are appearing, and the poinsettia tree is preparing its fiery blossoms for the coming months.  And the roses really never stop blooming.  Onwards, to the winter garden!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bus knitting

It having become down-right impossible to knit Swallowtail on the bus--keeping the chart out, plus trying to do a p5tog while the bus is stopping and going, and bumping all the while--I went back to garter stitch and yet another Baktus.


This is one of my favorite color combos: some beachy tones (leftover Regia) plus off white (Elann baby cashmere).   A good pop of color amidst the monochromatic darks of my fall/winter wardrobe; and light enough (in color and weight) to continue wearing into the spring. 

But who says this is for me?!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Maui Wowie

Growing up, we had the luxury of annual vacations.  When my older brother and I were kids, our parents bought a time share in Palm Springs, and then joined the association so we could expand our destinations.  I distinctly remember the trips we took to Utah -- dancing in my bathing suit in a hailstorm -- and Waikiki -- where my bro caught an angelfish (we returned it to the sea at the end of our week).  When we became a family of six, we mostly stayed in Palm Springs: climbing mountains, relaxing in the heated pool, horseback riding, a couple of nice meals, and mostly relaxing with rented movies, books, and the good ol' Nintendo.  But then (suddenly, to my parents!), we all grew up, made our own summer plans, and Palm Springs became my parents' autumn getaway. 

My brother purchased a time share in Maui, and our weeklong trip to there, as I mentioned, was the first time for him to use it and our first family vacation since I-don't-know-when.   It's still quite a feat to get all six of us together, but it happened--plus Jax (and Little1) -- and it was a treat!  It was the two younger bros' first time to Hawaii, and the folks' and mine to Maui.  We snorkeled with fish, eels, and sea turtles; cooked fabulous meals (spam n' eggs, anyone?!), and relaxed -- something that each of us needed. 

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:

kaanapali[k'anapali beach, 50 steps from our room]

honoluabay[honolua bay]

napilibay[napili -- aka 'turtle' -- bay]

waianapanapa[wai'anapanapa -- black sand -- beach]

roadtohana[shoreline on the Road to Hana drive]


fromlobbyday[our home away from home]

tolobbynight[looking into the lobby at night]

inland[inland view: lush and gorgeous]

haleakala[sunrise at haleakala summit]

banyan[banyan tree]

The week went by just quickly enough; will we be ready to go again next year?!  Perhaps in turns, and pull everyone together every few years.  In any case, it was a wonderful gift--my brother even surrendered his first-class seat for me on the return!  I'm sure my folks were very proud, and we younger siblings both proud and grateful.  Very-very thank you!