Friday, November 30, 2012

a long time

It's been a while, hasn't it? Truthfully, I've been focusing on quality of life lately. I'm concentrating on enjoying family, keeping business where it should be (i.e., between breakfast and dinner, Mondays through Fridays), and slowing things down a bit so I can enjoy them as they happen. I'm not always being successful at the slowing part, but I'm trying.

In the meantime, how wonderful is Instagram!? You can find me there almost every day. Not so many words, but lots of pictures. And really, the pictures are the best part of blogging anyway, right?

I'll still be here periodically. I'm just taking a little time to catch my breath.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I miss my kid! She's been visiting grandparents for a few weeks now, and I can't wait to go retrieve her on Saturday. Meanwhile, she's having such a great time, she's admitted she doesn't miss me at all.

That's ok. I've enjoyed a little break too.

We took this photo at the studio after shooting the new summer Oliver + S styles and just before she left for her trip. When we're finished shooting "official" shots she always gets some time to play with the camera set-up. Usually she has a still life that she wants to shoot, but sometimes she has other ideas. We've gotten some wonderful shots as a result. This time she wanted action shots involving lots of jumping. This photo makes me smile when I look at it because I think I miss her great sense of humor and energy most of all! It will be good to have her back again.

I hope you're finding time to enjoy your loved ones this summer!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

catching up

It would be completely impossible to catch up on all that's happened in the lengthy gap between posts lately, but here are a few things I'm loving these days:

S's back-of-the bike video from the Five Borough Bike Tour. She and Todd had a great time, as can be witnessed here. Now they're planning a five borough bike tour of their own, with the express purpose of visiting a carousel in each borough. Should be fun!

We launched our latest baby, Straight Stitch Society, a couple of months ago. If you haven't heard about it, check out our silly manifesto. And I gave it a proper introduction over at the Oliver + S blog if you want to read more.

I've been using Ziplist for mealplanning for a few weeks now and really like it. I've only been cooking from Martha Stewart recipes, and we've been consistently pleased with the results. Even Tsia has been happy, and that's saying something when the world's pickiest eater tells you she wants more.

Ok, I swear I won't let things languish quite so long between posts. Especially since it's summer now!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

missing snacks

S handed me this note the other day after school. Apparently she didn't hear me that morning when I told her I was putting her snack in the small pocket of her backpack. I'm framing this note, I love it so much. (Click to enlarge--it's worth a read, and I adore the illustrations.)

Poor thing. The day before that I accidentally put her homework in my backpack instead of hers.

Last night she told me she learned how to say "hello" in Pork-and-cheese. It took me a minute to realize she meant Portuguese.

All I can say is that it's been nice to have a little laughter in our week. We've been really busy! But have you seen the new Oliver + S website? It just launched last night. I'm pretty excited about it. Todd posted some details, like how you can purchase all our products in one place now, and how it re-sizes itself for various screen sizes (hello, ipad!), and how you can play with the paper dolls. Try it! It's really fun.

Saturday, March 03, 2012


A certain someone turned seven the other day.

Seven seems so big to me, and this milestone hits me on so many levels that it's a good thing we took the week off (S's birthday always fall on a school vacation week) because it gave me a little time to contemplate all the implications, including the fact that I started this blog six and a half years ago, and this blog was the start of my company, which is truly a family business. I never could have imagined we would be where we are now when we decided to have a child. Or to start a little company.

Or the fact that S fits into this dress my mom made me back in first grade. My sisters all wore it, too. It's in really good shape considering that it's already been worn by at least five girls.

Anyway, this photo is mostly for my Mom. To thank her for all that sewing she did for me. And for handling all my special sewing requests. She sewed everything: school dresses, church dresses, prom dresses, blue jeans, quilts, doll clothes, and knock-offs of the Esprit dresses I wanted so desperately and couldn't afford. The list is really endless. She is an excellent sewist and a gentle, generous, and loving mom.

And she also knew when to say no to my sewing requests. Like the day before high school graduation, when I decided I needed a new outfit and came home from the store, fabric and pattern in hand. Saying no helped me to appreciate all the time and effort that goes into sewing. And it gave me the little push I needed to start sewing, myself.

All the dresses my mom made and saved are so precious to me. I just boxed up a whole bunch of them and shipped them back to her because I don't have space for them. But I photographed them, and I know they'll be waiting for my sisters when they have kids(?). Plus, I added a bunch of my own sewing to the box. Nothing like adding to the tradition, right?

Thanks, Mom. And happy birthday, S!

Friday, February 10, 2012

scenes from last weekend

Disdressed is finally getting a little upgrade! Things are progressing slowly around here, but already I think it's a bit easier to navigate and I'm liking the cleaned-up appearance. Do you agree?

Here are a few scenes from last weekend. S learned to ice skate and loved it so much that we're going again tomorrow. The the rink is located right in our apartment complex this year, and the neighborhood kids all love it and are quickly becoming fantastic skaters.

I took these photos early Sunday morning before New York was awake. I love exploring the city when it's so quiet, like on Christmas day when no one is around, and the West Village is especially fun for window shopping and discovering adorable little hidden cafes and restaurants when you're the only one out.

In other news:
  • My dad called yesterday, on his way back to Antarctica after coming home for two days between trips there. Believe it or not, it was easier to come home (even for just that long) than to get from New Zealand (the end of his first trip) to South America (where he leaves for his next trip). He departed for the first trip before Christmas and won't be back from the second one until sometime in April. That's a lot of travel, even for my dad.
  • S is fascinated with magic right now, and we're up to our elbows in magic shows. Would you like to see a box of crayons disappear? Please??
  • Todd and I went to see this with some friends last night and had a terrific time. I highly recommend it if you come to New York for a visit. I loved everything about it and couldn't begin to do justice to the production. The sets, the sounds, even the smells. Or the bizarre sense of isolation one gets from wearing and being surrounded by other audience members in masks. It was all very sexy and thrilling, and I'd go again in a heartbeat. (Although it couldn't possibly be the same experience the second time around.)
  • I really need to stop watching TV shows about teenagers. I obsessed my way through all the seasons of Gossip Girl (the fashion!) and then Friday Night Lights (the writing!). Someone move me along with a grown-up selection? Please? 
  • It's fashion week

Have a wonderful weekend.

Friday, January 27, 2012

year of the dragon

If you've noticed that I've been absent even more than usual you've probably guessed that my schedule has been a little busy. We've been working on developing a new brand that we'll be launching later this spring, and it's kept me even more occupied than anticipated. I had good blogging intentions, and I've been carrying the camera along with me but somehow never using it. I hauled it all the way to Palm Springs a couple of weeks ago and took only three quick photos. Which makes it even more ironic that when I finally had a chance to photograph something (and time to stand still, no less) I had only the ipod with me. But it was Chinese New Year, and S and her friend were thrilled by the popping firecrackers and the confetti and the many, many dragons. I thought I'd share it with you.

We admired the beautiful women on decorated floats:

I liked the home-made dragons:

and the more elaborate dragons:

the drum carts:

the delegations meeting mid-parade:

and especially the little dragons-in-training:

So happy year of the dragon! I missed wishing you a happy 2012, so let's throw that in as well, shall we? I'm hoping to manage a little blog re-design and a lot more blogging very soon. And of course I'll let you know when our new project is up and ready for its reveal, too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

sweet, again

S and I have a little tradition when we play our favorite matching game. Whenever one of us turns over the bear on a bicycle card, we both do a little freak-out and holler "Bear on a Bicycle!" And of course whoever finds the match does a mini dance. I've got no idea why we do this. Maybe just because we love the illustration so much.

So when Heather Ross told me that Melissa Sweet, the illustrator of our beloved game, would be attending Heather's Weekend Sewing retreat last weekend, I did a larger version of my mini freak-out. I love Melissa's work, and she would be there in person, sewing with us! (And not only was she sewing with us, she was even making up my Lisette Passport Jacket.)

So that was fun. But what we even more fun was learning that Melissa has just published a new children's book, Balloons Over Broadway, which is a story about the man who made the very first balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

As it happens, we were having dinner just around the corner from Macy's one night during the workshop, so a few of us dropped in afterwards to see if we could find the poster and the Macy's shopping bags (!) featuring Melissa's illustrations.

It wasn't an entirely fruitful search. No sign of the shopping bags, but we located a poster before returning to the sewing lab for the evening. I'll go back in a week or so to see if I can find the shopping bags.

S was beyond thrilled to get a signed copy of the book, and she spent yesterday afternoon and evening (parent-teacher conferences--half day of school) happily working away on the fantastic activity pages that Melissa and her publisher assembled. They're amazing! S spent loads of time designing her own Thanksgiving Day balloon, assembling a balloon hat (it turns out she moves quite well like a balloon when she's wearing her hat, thank you very much), and finding the best parade route through the maze. She was busy taping together the finger puppets while I assembled the adorable finger puppet storage box (I'll be making another one for myself, I love it so much). The activities are brilliant and would be a wonderful way to keep excited kids busy while they're awaiting Thanksgiving dinner.

By the way, Melissa will be on The Martha Stewart Show later this week demonstrating what Heather says is "the best project" she's seen for kids in a long time. Guess what we'll be doing on Thanksgiving Day before dinner?


(All these images are from Melissa's website. She's got a great blog, too!)

Monday, November 07, 2011


Last weekend S picked out a new hat on our way to Christie's for the contemporary art auction preview. As soon as we arrived at the galleries we noticed that she coordinated with the Mark Rothko--so well, in fact, that she had to stand to one side so we could see the top of her head!

Then we noticed orange everywhere we looked.

She even coordinated with the noses of the dogs on stilts.

And the creepy tomato-head art. (Can you tell I'm not a fan of Paul McCarthy?)

No orange on this one, but it's one of my favorite pieces by Maurizio Catellan. The tiny elevators actually seem to work, much to the amusement of the two little girls in attendance.

Friday, October 14, 2011


A couple of weeks ago we took advantage of some school vacation days and rented a car for a little trip to Massachusetts to do something I've been wanting to do for a long time: we visited the old textile mill town of Lowell. Have you heard of it?

Lowell was the first planned industrial town in the U.S. Its planners found a perfect location for a mill town (the river drops 13 feet, and a series of old logging canals lent themselves perfectly to powering the mills), traveled to England to learn the secrets of the mills there, and then returned to the U.S. and proceeded to build a mill city of their own.

Lowell is important to the history of our country on many levels: from the perspective of the industrial revolution, our economic development (and a demonstration of economic cycles) as a country, and in relation to the history of the cotton trade. Among others.

Now it's a National Park. And a great one.

The canals and the restored architecture are incredibly scenic.

The Boott Cotton Mill has been restored and turned into an amazing museum.

When you first enter you punch in at the time clock--just like the workers did:

The ground floor houses the looms themselves, and the noise on the floor when just a few of the looms are in operation would be deafening if it weren't for the earplugs provided. I can't even imagine what it would have been like for the workers (who worked without earplugs and lost their hearing, no doubt).

Upstairs you'll find a wonderful exhibit that demonstrates all the parts of a vertical mill (a vertical mill does everything from making the yarns from the raw cotton to finishing the fabric). I loved this exhibit, and the ranger on duty was a wealth of information and enthusiasm (which was great because I was nearly bouncing up and down, I was so excited about this. Fellow textile geeks unite!). S loved working a table loom (my apologies to the museum--we completely filled the warp and you'll need to prepare another loom for the rest of the people who come to visit), and I flipped out over the giant carding machine and all the other fantastic equipment and exhibits.

vertical mill model:

giant carding machine:

examples of the textiles produced at the mill over the years:

Right next door to the mill you can also explore one of the boarding houses to experience life as a mill girl. S was rather intrigued by this part since her beloved American Girl doll, Samantha, had a friend who worked in a textile mill.

When the mills first opened, the owners were trying to create a Utopian work environment, and they hired local farm girls to work in the mills. The girls were very well cared for and were given many opportunities for self-improvement, but the mills were so successful that competition surged. This, of course, put pressure on the mills to drop prices and pay and to increase the number of hours that the girls were required to work. Eventually the girls went on strike because the working conditions were very bad. Immigrants were later hired to replace the mill girls, and the working conditions soon resembled the conditions in England that the planners had hoped to avoid when they opened the mills. See? It's fascinating stuff--or it will be if you visit, at least.

We took a trolley tour of the canals, which included tons of fascinating information about the history of the town, the development of the canals, and lots of beautiful views:

I really want to go back again, I loved this town and the museum so much. I'd also like the visit the Slater Mill Museum someday, too.

We took a little side trip to Boston on Saturday and visited some friends... (does anyone in this photo look familiar?)

as well as some feathered friends. Do you recognize this scene?

here's a hint:

Yup. Make Way For Ducklings, complete with ducklings.

S wanted a self-portrait of herself with the mama. This pose garnered a lot of chuckles from other visitors:

It's a funny photo from the perspective of the iPod, too.