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Seven Hills

Boston-area exploration, travel notes, crafty things, and other Somervillainy.

Friday, April 27, 2007


Last summer at a friend's wedding I remember overhearing her mom talking about finding "the perfect ribbon" for the decorating scheme of their reception. At the time I thought, wow, they really got into the details. But now I understand.

Wedding planning must bring out different obsessions in different people. For me, it's meant that I haunt Paper Source on a weekly basis, and that I have become a horder of ribbon. Blame it on too much Martha. Also the orange ribbons at that wedding last summer really were used to charming effect, laid like runners on the white tablecloths and punctuated with daisies ... Ack! See what I mean?

I was in New York a few weeks ago and hit M&J Trim for their polka dot ribbon selection, and then found some more from my best friends at Paper Source. Never in my life have I spent so much time thinking about ribbon. The last time I paid it any attention was when I was working on an article about handmade Christmas presents, and hit up San Francisco's Ribbonerie for supplies for the then-trendy ribbon belts. Before that, I guess it was when I was a little girl, when satin vs. grosgrain was an important decision when it came time to beribbon one's hair for Easter morning.

Speaking of "beribbon," it's a word I love, but one that I got wrong for many years. It isn't a word you come across that often in modern life, but in the world of old-fashioned girls' books it is a real work horse. Many things are beribboned there. One of my favorite books, "Heaven to Betsy," described Betsy and her sister wearing their "dressing sacques," which were always lacy and beribboned, as they gossiped and lounged in their bedrooms. I read this book multiple times, and each time I read "beribboned" I pronounced it "berry-bonned" in my head. I understood that ribbons were involved, but thought the word somehow also indicated the presence of decorative berries on said garment. I found this concept very pleasing, and was disappointed when I finally realized it was just a fancy word for bows. Still, my allegiance to "beribboned" remains.

Unfortunately, every time I think of berry-bonned now, it's hard not to be distracted by a certain unrelated contemporary homonym. And Major League Baseball is not exactly the look we're going for with our wedding decor.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Baby Squirrels

Running in and out of their tree house on Inman Street:

That's all!

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bubbles, Bad Boys, and Burberry

Isn't Kate Moss a naughty girl? She just keeps going back for more, no matter how bad it is for her.

I'm not sure how I feel about Pete Dougherty (and would never have heard of him in the first place if it weren't for Kate), but I loved this picture of the two of them together at a party, all glimmering in their masquerade finery, with Kate glugging the mini champagne.

I went back to look for some past Kate interviews and found an old gem about her and other supermodels demanding champagne before all shows, at all hours: "We're not going out without any champagne." That was a 1999 piece in connection with her new-found sobriety. And this photo is from Halloween 2006. Oops. (And oops on me for not double-checking the exact quote before I painted it on. That was sloppy.)

That rim of black glitter is in homage to her oh-so-trendy smoky-punk eyeliner. And below we see a nod to Kate's bread-and-butter, Burberry, as well as that unforgettable other bad boy of her past.

And inside, Kate again, drowning in a pool of champagne bubbles, ever lovely and stylish, despite her personal issues. You've got to give her props for that. She's a model, after all. Whatever else goes on, that's her job, and she's good at it.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I hope you'll indulge me a few wedding-related posts: as the day draws nearer, there isn't room for much else in my mind.

I decided I didn't want to wear a veil for our wedding - I think they can be cute and/or elegant, but just wasn't feeling it - and I have to admit I may have been influenced by the picture of Penelope Cruz I mentioned earlier when I had the idea to wear my hair up with a large white silk flower at the back.

After fruitlessly searching around in local department stores and online fabric shops, I came across Late Bloomer, an L.A. boutique that specializes in really nice silk flowers to wear in your hair. I'm sure it would be possible to come up with something DIY and inexpensive that is equally lovely, but time was getting short and I wanted something that a) wouldn't fall apart and b) wouldn't slide out of my hair, which is very fine.

Anyway, while I admired the various gardenia clips, I ended up going with the magnolia, mainly because of its beaded center, which felt a little dressier (I got some bridesmaid advice on this one, too). It seemed like something special that I would want to keep. I also just like the word magnolia.

It arrived today, courtesy of our neighborhood UPS man, who's gotten very familiar with our house in recent weeks. The other day as he helped me with a pile of three or four big Crate & Barrel boxes, I confessed to him that I was getting married soon. "Yeah, I kinda figured that out," he said.

Usually he's quite taciturn, not even cracking a smile when I try to joke with him about the bad weather, but today as I was signing for this delivery, he asked, looking at the label on the box, "Are you wearing flowers in your hair?" And, when I said yes, told me, "My wife wore daisies in hers," and then gave me the nicest smile.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


I only really started delving into Etsy recently, and I imagine it could become very dangerous for somebody like me. There's so much beautiful stuff there, and many of the prices are temptingly within reach - it would be easy to get into trouble. But the flip side is that if one can maintain one's discipline, it's a great outlet for finding affordable art.

I have a lot of paintings that belonged to my parents, and while I love them and feel honored to own them, sometimes they feel a bit age-inappropriate for my current life, and for awhile now I've been wanting to add some things I chose myself to our walls.

This gorgeous little painting I bought on a recent Etsy spree just arrived in the mail, and I love it so much. The color palette, the beautiful retro lady, those Margaret Kilgallen-esque scallops along the top border. I have a weakness for fur-collared coats, too. The lady is a Soviet spy, and is fittingly rendered on a page from a Gorky play, in Russian.

I love the mood of this piece, its glamour and mystery. When I look at it I catch my breath for a second, as though, no matter how humdrum and ordinary the day may seem, something portentious might be about to happen. "Wait --"

The artist is Annie Galvin, a.k.a. Wexford Girl. I found my way to her online shop after admiring this cool painting of Sutro Tower.

While I was shopping, I also picked out this painting, "Linden," as a gift for a friend. It's part of the artist's "paint chip girls" series, in which a cut-out from a paint color sample is collaged into each picture. I think the names of paint colors can be so evocative (did anyone else ever want to be the person who names lipstick and nail polish colors?) and love the way these mini portraits play on that.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter

Whether or not one is a celebrator of Easter, I like to think the candy eggs and chocolate bunnies are things that can be enjoyed by all.

These sugar eggs came from Target, but one year when I was a kid my cousins and I made our own, with elaborate pastorals inside each sugar eggshell: a little yellow duck floating in a turquoise frosting lake, a big-eyed fawn poised at the edge of an icing meadow, etc.

When the holiday was over I got to bring my egg back home to Chicago where I played with it for many days, peering through the peephole and fervidly imagining the candyland where my little yellow duck lived. Eventually though, I lost my restraint, and nibbled off the dried-out pieces of frosting that decorated the outer shell. When they were gone I started chipping off chunks of the egg itself, gnawing at the pure sugar as I exposed the enclosed duck-pond world to the startling vastness of my bedroom, and finally polishing it off so there was nothing left but the inedible ceramic duck.

Come to think of it, I'm not sure the egg was intended to be eaten, either. But it was made of sugar, and I was seven years old: the outcome was inevitable.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Spring Tote

My aunts and cousins in Michigan had a bridal shower for me last weekend, and among the many lovely gifts I received was this adorable canvas bag hand-painted by one of my aunts. I love the cherry motif (my secret rockabilly side loves things decorated with cherries) and the three flower buttons sewn across the top are so cute.

My aunt currently sells some of her things locally but I'm hoping she might someday consider learning the ways of Etsy or something similar. When I was describing it to her she got skeptical as soon as I said the word "computer," but once I mentioned the minimal commission they charge, her eyes lit up, like, "maybe I should figure out this computer stuff after all."

That's our cat Bruno drifting through the frame; I think he knew he would look good next to all that red and white.