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Annie - San Francisco, CA

I don't live-blog from the tents.

poeticandchic [at] gmail

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Image by Julie Michelle.

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Monday
Jul312006

Sexy Shower Gift

I know how it is...you're going to *another* bridal shower, and your gift inspiration fairy is on vacation. What to do? What to give? Okay, so gift registries are alright, but not exactly creative, distinctive, or showing that selective forethought for your special friend on her special day. How to combat the gift-giving boredom? AND without going to Gump's or Tiffany? Just rely on your own instincts and what you know about the bride and groom...

My college roommate Emilie is marrying her one true love, Carlos, later this fall... The pair met at law school, and while Carlos had to return to his native Chile for a temporary stay after graduation, Emilie moved to San Francisco to start anew in a beautiful one-bedroom apartment on Russian Hill. Carlos soon returned from Chile, and the Russian Hill apartment became home for both. The first time I met Carlos, I was invited over for a Friday night dinner of Pizco Sours, Chilean Crab Casserole, and a desert of sauteed figs in port wine with vanilla ice cream. Suffice it to say, I was impressed beyond belief, and I knew Emilie was with the right guy.

Carlos loves to cook, and Emilie loves to entertain. With these factors in mind, I went to find them a shower gift. Here is what I came up with:

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The distinctive feature of Emilie & Carlos's apartment is the original Edwardian dark hardwood paneling that covers the walls. There is also a stunning inlay of original pressed copper surrounding their fireplace. Picking up on these details, Emilie purchased a fantastic small sectional couch in a deep moss green suede, with copper-orange pillows. I got inspired by the richness of the interiors and their color scheme to create this special gift themed around "a romantic dinner for two."

I went to Cost Plus World Market to find everything I needed, however you could make something similar from items found at Pier 1 Imports, Crate and Barrell, or your local restaurant or party supply store. 

The placemats are dark brown and woven into a square shape, while the chargers are a bright gold.  I found napkins that incorporated the green, orange, and brown of the room, as well as some candles in orange and rusty red.

In looking for wine glasses, I found a few options: some golden, some green, some red. I wanted to choose something of a different color than plain glass so that the set would go together and be distinctive from the rest of Emilie & Carlos's glassware collection. As I browsed Cost Plus, I found some glasses within the color scheme - amber and green...I couldn't decide if I wanted to go with the wine goblets or the champagne flutes! Then, I noticed that they were discounted at 50% off, so I could purchase both! I also found some floral napkin rings as a finishing touch. To top it off, I created a special romantic music CD for the couple, personalizing it to their music tastes: a little latin, a little jazz, a little pop. 

The next question was, how does one wrap this entire thing? I have given a gift similar to this one once before, p1010135.jpghowever it was all presented on a three-tiered etagere for the kitchen - another option for this type of gift. I was unable to find such an etagere this time, so I thought that I would stack everything and present it tied in a ribbon. But how to secure it without breaking the glasses? The question was pressing, and so was time! I was on my way to the shower, and entrusted with the job of picking up the bride and having her there early... what to do, what to do?

I must admit, I am not the best person for keeping wrapping papers around. I love wrapping papers, any paper actually, but I suppose it is the artist in me that wants to use wrapping paper for purposes other than simply wrapping presents. Personally, I am more likely to reach for some fun fabric or basic brown package paper to wrap a gift, and then dress it up with a fantastic ribbon. But, the whole point of this gift is to have it be seen by everyone... I quickly dive into the fabric pile and come out with about a yard and a half of fiery glitter tulle that I had used in design school long ago. I knew instantly that this would be perfect!

I spread the fabric on the floor and carefully place the gift on top of it. I then gathered the sides and tied it all with a beautiful mustard-yellow silk fabric that I had cut into ribbons. The flowered napkin rings were tied into the bow for a final touch.

Out the door, grab the bride, get to the shower...and what do you know? The gift was the hit of the party!

 

Saturday
Jul292006

Flipping

"I'm going to try to flip this over, which is a rather daring thing to do...Let's see if that is flippable -- well, I'm going to try it anyway. When you flip anything, you really - you just have to have the courage of your convictions, particularly if it's sort of a loose mass like this.

Well - that didn't go very well. See, when I flipped it, I didn't have the courage to do it the way I should have. But you can always pick it up, and if you're alone in the kitchen, who is going to see?

But the only way you learn how to flip things is just to flip them."

-Julia Child

The French Chef - The Potato Show, 1963

Thursday
Jul272006

Ride It Like You Stole It!

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I have a lot for friends having babies these days. Lots of babies. All of those wedding showers and weddings of two years ago are now baby showers and babies...So, of course, that means baby gifts.

What to buy the hip young mom who knows everything? While Gymboree is indeed a safe offering, full of adorably coordinated separates, one needs to get creative when the mom-to-be is a little, shall we say, alternative? Maybe this mom was the drummer of a punk band at one time, or does Critical Mass religiously, or knows all of the bartenders at the End-Up by first name, or who has realized now that she's 30, that no, showing all of those tattoos just isn't so professional. For this mom, no normal baby gift will do...

It is for these ladies and their cute little future rock stars that I head over to Lo-Fi customs and pick up a few of their black, yes, black onsises with a graphic. My personal fave is the tricycle featuring "Ride it Like You Stole it"...won't those bike messengers be jealous?

Available online at www.loficustoms.com
Lo-Fi Customs - 112 Putnam St., San Francisco, 94110 (Above Scuderia West)
Thursday
Jul272006

Bag Charms!

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So last summer I was in Paris for work...and being the pro people-watcher that I am, I noticed a little something that all those chic Parisian gals had going on...Bag Charms!

Hooked onto every Speedy 30 in sight...they range from high-end versions from Prada, to low-end beaded cuties from H&M. Since Paris tends to be about two years ahead of California, bag charms are just coming online state-side.

How do I find a bag-charm, you ask? Well, for the industirous P&C girl, a bag charm can be found among your impulse-buy section at your local accessories shop, or fashion hide-out. Anything that's masquerading as a key chain will work tolerably well. I prefer the ones with a hook for easy add-ons.

Wednesday
Jul262006

Coming to a foot near you...it's Minisock!

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Wow - what's that on your feet?

Why, it's my Minisocks! Dahling, don't you know, they've done wonders for my shoe wardrobe!

Delphine Murat, a Parisian designer, has invented the Minisock. Colorful little socks with feminine embellishments such as scarf-ties and ballerina laces. Styles have saucy names such as "coquette" and "lido," and are made in about a gazillion colors, in lycra, metallics, and pointelle lace. They're at the crossroads between ladylike and punk-rock, keeping your kicks up to date! Not yet available in the US...keep an eye out you Euro-travelers!

Visit www.delphinemurat.com or purchase online at www.sox-populi.com - a UK website. (Warning - purchase prices in British Pounds...)

Wednesday
Jul262006

Anthropologie Top

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The Nimue Cowl from Anthropologie - $58.00

I love this top! I purchased it last week in this luscious burgundy color, and wore it the next night to a party. The moment I walked in the door, my friend Peggy's boyfriend (one of the best-dressed straight men I know,) instantly said: "You look great! I love that top!"

The jersey is soft and drapey, flowing over the hips in a long line. The cowl itself is long and stretchy - and could even go over your head into a hood - like movie stars used to do in the 1940s. I'm not so sure this is a winning look today, but it worked for Veronica Lake. I pair it with a few strings of pearls that peek out from beneath the cowl gathers at the neck.

Wednesday
Jul262006

The Italy Dress

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So my friend Lee is on a trip to Italy. Before she left, I kept hearing about how she wished she had "just a simple cotton dress" for the trip. Finally, after hearing how she was going to "alter the pattern" and "just cut three holes in a piece of fabric" I put the kabbosh on any further discussion. I showed her McCall Pattern M5137 - something I had recently purchased for myself, asking if it was something close to what she wanted. Just one look, and she was in love...with the dress. We made a date to go buy fabric, and I was to make it for her. The morning we were to go get fabric, I received a phone call: "I don't have any money, I just paid my bills, I'm going on vacation, I can't spend anything..." I reassured her that we could go to Poppy Fabric in Oakland and at least gather some swatches for the project...we ended up leaving with the appropriate yardage for her new dress - and spent only $43.00!

Lee's dress is an adorable vision that I'm certain she is wearing all over Italy - keeping cool, feminine, and chic in a very ice-cream-cone-on-the-Spanish-Steps way. Me? Oh, I'm making one for myself, and my other coworker Emi, and my sister Maura, and on and on... 

I chose this pattern for it's simple lines, easy construction - no zippers or buttons! - and endless textile possibilities. For Lee's and my versions, we chose three complimentary fabrics that bring out the best in each other. I went with simple cottons, but for a more advanced version, it could be constructed in silks or jersey knits.

If you are On the Make and decide to tackle "The Italy Dress," drop P&C a line and let us know how it turned out...better yet, send us a picture!

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