etsy pick friday: handmade julz

Today's Etsy pick is a bit of a Six Degrees of Separation pick – my friend Rob forwarded me the email newsletter for this Etsy artist, who happens to be a good friend of his. I'm glad he did! 

Handmade Julz is the creation of Portland designer and artist Julie Briggs, and features graphic rings, bracelets and necklaces. You can choose a ready made piece, or you can choose one of her images, and have it applied to the piece of your choice. She also has little screenprinted pieces of art, if jewelry isn't your thing. I'm thinking I may pick up the little ring above, in honor of the movie we watched the other night. Check her out here.


guess who's coming to dinner...

Well, we're in clean up mode here after the annual Newberry Drive block Christmas dinner party. This year, hosting duties fell to us, so we hosted our first official dinner party as a married couple! And we've been married for over three years... 

On the menu, pork tenderloin, the maple-glazed carrots from the November issue of Real Simple, super hearty mashed potatoes, and this variation of Julia Child's green beans. Plus cookies for dessert. I made the centerpieces from grocery store white carnations and cranberries. We're in the middle of our first load of dishes, and it will take another load or two before we're back in business. All in all, it was a great success!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. 


happy cupcake holiday...

I totally missed wishing you a Happy National Cupcake Day yesterday!

If you want to do some late celebrating, I'd suggest ordering up a batch of cupcakes from here. Delicious.

Image copyright Andrea Lenardin via sprinklescupcakes.com.


i did it...

And now, I think I'll rest.


the dream tree...

My oldest friend came into town last night to stay for the weekend, and on the agenda: attend King Tut today, then be part of my crowd support tomorrow during the run. After dinner last night, we strolled over to the flagship Neiman Marcus store for our annual scope out of the Christmas tree, and our drive around to look at lights. (We usually do this while drinking hot chocolate, but after last night's dinner, no one could eat/drink another bite.)

This year, NM asked 52 kids from St. Philip's School and the Scottish Rite Children's Hospital this question: What would your fantasy Christmas Tree look like, and why? They then chose 6 of those entries to build and display in the windows, using the drawings as blueprints. View the winning entries here. The theme for the grand prize tree was "The Clean Tree", and it was made of large balls made of recycled materials, and had facts about the environment in the balls. NM also powered all the lights and trees with wind technology. 

Each year, I am surprised and delighted with what the folks at Neiman's show, and this holiday tradition is one of my favorites for our little family. These "dream trees" were a reminder to me of how when you're a kid, you're not worried about how a tree made of pencils will hold together, or whether a tree made of clouds makes any sense at all. You have the freedom to dream without self-doubt, or worry, or second guessing. I need to dream like that more often. 


etsy pick friday: lesliejanson

In honor of what I'm doing this Sunday, I thought I'd type the word "marathon" into the Etsy search engine to see what came up that tickled my fancy. I'm glad I did because I stumbled on this week's Etsy pick, lesliejanson. I found this pillow, which is made from vintage feedbag cloth. Her shop is full of great handmade pillows made from vintage textiles and other treasures made from repurposed items. I also love this pillow, made from a vintage handkerchief. When I look closely, I can even see a tiny snippet of my hometown, Wichita Falls! For the holidays, there are also some great vintage ornaments that would make beautiful additions tied to the top of a package for that special someone. Check her out here.


season's greetings...

Well, I may be spoiling the surprise for those of you who receive our Christmas cards every year, but I couldn't help but show you an outtake of last night's photoshoot. If this doesn't get you in the Christmas spirit, I don't know what will!


trim a tree...

New item posted in the shop - we whipped up several sets of these sweet little ornaments to sell at the Bazaar. He even helped. 

I used this great old set of alphabet stamps that a friend of mine found in his closet to stamp the letters for the words on the ornaments. In the photo, the ornaments are sitting on the wooden box the stamps came in. Nowadays, if you buy a set of alphabet stamps, they come in a plastic tray. In the good old days, they came in a beautiful wooden box. 


feelin' the chill in the air...

We took today to recover from all the fun we had at yesterday's Bazaar. The day was beautiful (although after the sun went down it got a bit chilly), we got lots of sweet comments about our stuff, and we had an all around great time. It was so nice to see so many people buying handmade for the holidays. The Bazaar was open until 10pm, so we decided to have a tapas picnic for dinner while manning the booth. So delicious! Next up...restoring my studio to some sense of order after the tornado that's been through it getting ready for the Bazaar!


etsy pick friday: urban street bazaar

This week, my Etsy pick is all of the Etsy vendors at this weekend's Urban Street Bazaar, including me! There will be handmade clothing, jewelry, art, candles, skin care, home decor and stuff for pets, and I'll have some new stuff made especially for the holidays. The Bazaar runs Saturday, from 11am to 10pm, in the Bishop Arts District. As I've told you before, the District has some really great places to eat and they'll be featuring specials for the event. I highly recommend the Trio of Fries at Tillman's and I've heard great things about Bolsa, which I really want to try. So make a trip for lunch or dinner and also get some Christmas shopping out of the way! Stop by and say hi if you make it down!


home for the holidays...

As I've mentioned before, our good friends Hailey and Dean have recently launched a new venture, Holiday Helpers, offering catering and decoration for the holidays. Last night, we had a great time at their open house for clients and friends. 

I am always surprised by the thoughtful details Hailey puts into her get-togethers, and this evening did not disappoint. From the delicious cake bites and holiday-themed cocktails, to the fresh holly greens for decor, to the delicious smells as soon as you walked in the door (a mix of orange juice, red wine, apples, cinnamon and other spices, and apple slices all boiling away on the stove), the open house was a hit! If you find yourself overwhelmed with everything you have to do for the holidays, give them a call!


it's beginning to look a lot like christmas...

Ok, there will be no image with today's post because of this....

Hope your Thanksgiving was great! At our house, we've jumped right from pumpkins and fall leaves into egg nog and Christmas lights! And not only are we busy getting the house ready for Christmas, we're also sewing like crazy in preparation for the Holiday Urban Street Bazaar this Saturday, December 6 in the Bishop Arts District! Like always, the Bazaar will have lots of great vendors, and is the perfect place to get all of your holiday shopping done in one place, all while buying handmade and local.


give thanks....

Image via Concierge.com.

On this day, I remind myself that I have so much to be thankful for. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. 


so who are loop and lil???

I am asked often "Who are Loop and Lil?" I've been asked if they're my kids, my niece and nephew, or my dogs. The answer to all of those questions is No!

When I started my line, I thought long and hard about a name, wanting something that really meant something to me. I was taking a bath one evening, and started humming a song I've loved for years by my absolute favorite songwriter, Townes Van Zandt, called "If I Needed You". I came to my favorite line in the song – 

Loop and Lil agree, she's a sight to see
And a treasure for the poor to find. 

On a live version of the song, Townes explains that Loop and Lil were parakeets, which I love. It was perfect. Check out Townes here

Note: the song has also been covered by lots of people – Lyle Lovett does a great version, and just recently, Dashboard Confessional. (I haven't heard this version, but decided to post on this subject because I saw that they had done a cover of the song, and I'm wondering if that will bring more attention to what a great songwriter Townes was. I hope so.)


are you ready for some football....and chips and dip???

Tonight, we'll be locked down watching my alma mater play in the most important game since I can remember. And we'll be snacking on fresh tortilla chips and the 1-2-3 Mexican Dip from this book.


1-2-3 Mexican Dip

1 can refried beans
1 1/2 c. medium salsa
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 c. sour cream
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. finely chopped red onion
1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. onion powder
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 c. grated cheddar cheese

- Combine beans, 1/4 c. of the salsa, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Spread evenly over bottom of 9-inch round ceramic casserole dish. 
- Combine sour cream, mayo, red onion, cilantro and onion powder in another bowl. Spread over top of bean mixture.
- Combine bell pepper and the rest of the salsa, and gently spread over sour cream mixture, being careful not to mix layers. Top with cheese, and refrigerate until chilled, at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips. The dip can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated.

Go Tech! 


etsy pick friday: clementine press

One of my favorite things about Etsy is that it gives people all over the world access to artists and studios they would never have access to. It makes it easy for the average person to buy affordable, original art. One day when I was browsing the print section of the Etsy site, I came across today's pick of the week. 

Clementine Press is a one-woman letterpress studio located in LA's Koreatown. A lot of the prints have a slightly musical bent to them. Check out her shop. We have the print pictured above "Hit Song", hanging in our sewing studio/music room, and I would love to buy a few sets of the records to hang on our Christmas tree!


getting ready to run the rock...

So the marathon is a little less than a month away now, and I did my second to last long run of 18 miles this morning. On my own two feet! I can't believe it! Next weekend, I will run 20 miles as my long run for the week, which will be the longest I'll run before the actual race. This sounds weird to some people who haven't ever looked at a training schedule for a marathon, but "they" say if you can run 20 miles, you can run 26. Adrenaline on race day and the shorter runs I've been doing during the week (mostly 5 and 8 miles) will take care of the extra 6 that I've never run before. I'm hoping what "they" say is true!

Training and other commitments have left little time for sewing lately, but I will be a vendor at the December Urban Street Bazaar, in the Bishop Arts District on December 6. More details to come.


etsy pick friday: drikab

In my "old life", I had a bit of a handbag addiction. I would buy bags in every  color, shape and size. Since I quit my full-time job to start Loop and Lil, I've become a lot more discerning in the clothing and handbags I buy (since starting your own business doesn't make you rich instantly!), and I am much more excited by handmade things than anything I can find in the store. So lately I've been browsing Etsy to find handmade gifts, and things to put on my wishlist for Christmas. During my browsing, I found this week's etsy pick – DrikaB.

DrikaB makes great handbags, totes and cool little pouches. I love her mix of colorful fabrics along with upholstery webbing. Many times in the fabric store, I've stared at those rolls of webbing trying to figure out how to use them – I love how she uses it as handles in her bags. They are the perfect mix of modern and traditional, and completely original. 

A DrikaB bag will definitely be on the top of my wish list for Christmas this year! Check them out here

shopping trip: wisteria outlet

If you don't get the Wisteria catalog, I highly suggest you sign up! It's more like going to a flea market than looking through a catalog - there's a great mix of antiques, reproductions and little accessories from all over the globe. All of their items are so unique and charming. I received the holiday catalog a few weeks ago, and it reminded me I had never made the trip over to the Outlet store. It did not disappoint!

The outlet has lots of overstock, previous season's items, and items that are currently in the catalog at drastically reduced prices – I got the candleabra above for $25 (priced on the website now at $89) because it had a little candle wax on the back! Maybe it was the one used in the photo above??? I also picked up a cool little side table with branches as the base and a glass top for 40 bucks!

Right now, they have a great selection of holiday stockings, tree skirts, and other decorations, as well as larger pieces of furniture. The stock is constantly changing at the outlet, so you never know what you'll find. If you live in the Dallas area, it's certainly worth the trip!


etsy pick friday: nerdbomber

This week's Etsy pick is Nerdbomber. I first found Nerdbomber at their booth at the Urban Street Bazaar in April of this year, and couldn't help but pick up one of their book clutches. The clutches come in a wide variety of colors, and are made from vintage Reader's Digest books, along with vintage plastic buckles. Cute, but brainy, right?

We also checked out the Nerdbomber shop when our niece had a birthday earlier this year, and picked up one of their tote bags made from vintage t-shirts. She loved it. And it isn't always easy to find a gift that will please a tween!

In addition to the clutches and totes, they also have funny greeting cards made from old Reader's Digest pages, great little pouches, and other random vintage finds. Check them out.

need help deckin' the halls?

Can you believe that it's time to start thinking about getting everything ready around your house for the holidays? If you need any help, my friends Hailey and Dean have just recently launched their own business that can help you out with exactly that – Holiday Helpers. They can help with all things holidays – wrapping those special gifts, decking out your house, inside and out, throwing that perfect party, or baking yummy holiday goodies!  Hailey is hands down the best party thrower I have ever known, and a box of her delicious homemade cookies would make a fantastic hostess or neighbor gift! Good Luck Hailey and Dean!


what's growing on...

Last night, we cooked a delicious Turkey Meatloaf I read about here. I altered it a little – I used less onions. It turned out absolutely delicious! I was worried about the turkey being too dry, but it came out moister and better than any other meatloaf recipe I've made, and we made it using parsley he grew in the garden!

Now, I just have to find some good recipes that use tomatoes...



This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me

As I was walking a ribbon of highway
I saw above me an endless skyway
I saw below me a golden valley
This land was made for you and me

I've roamed and rambled and I've followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me

The sun comes shining as I was strolling
The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
The fog was lifting a voice come chanting
This land was made for you and me

As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin'
But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!

In the squares of the city - In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office - I see my people
And some are grumblin' and some are wonderin'
If this land's still made for you and me.

- words by Woody Guthrie


etsy pick friday: nate duval

Well, I haven't come up with a new name yet for Loop and Lil Etsy Pick Friday, but I'll just go ahead with this anyway!

As I've mentioned before, because of my husband, music is a large part of my life. When I was looking for a birthday present for his most recent birthday, I did some poking around on Etsy, and came across this. I knew it was perfect for him, as the Mountain Goats are favorites of said husband, and I thought he would love the kaleidoscope. He loved it! 

In addition to gig posters, Nate Duval's Etsy shop also has screenprinted t-shirts for adults, t-shirts for babies and toddlers, and art prints. I know I would love these prints regardless of the bands represented, but it certainly doesn't hurt that we happen to listen to most of the bands too! Check him out if you need some colorful, original art for your walls!


a little birdie once told me....

A new item added in the shop....

etsy pick friday: paloma's nest

I have decided to make Friday from here on out Loop and Lil Etsy Pick Friday – which I guess we could shorten to L+L EPF. What do you think? Maybe come up with a different name?

On Sunday afternoon in Austin, I had the pleasure of meeting a super cute mom shopping for some things for her beautiful little daughter. We got to talking, and it turned out the mom was Caroline from Paloma's Nest! I first discovered her work on Apartment Therapy, another of my daily reads, and have admired it since. She hand crafts beautiful things in ceramic, wood, paper, ribbon – so pretty and the messages are absolutely charming. See for yourself.


more gratitude...

A big thank you to the folks at Funky Finds for the mention! They're currently blogging a great recap of different vendors who showcased their wares at Bazaar Bizarre. Check it out to see some of the great vendors we got to meet...

Their blog has been on my list of daily reads for a long time – they've been blogging about different crafters and artists since 2006. It wasn't until pretty recently that I realized they live in the same area as I do. They have also recently launched the Shops at Funky Finds, which is an online store featuring lots of great vendors from all over the country and world. 

Many thanks Jessica and Joe!


when the dust settles....

Maker Faire is impossible to describe without it sounding really strange and disjointed. There were catapult competitions. There was a group of cars that operated on vegetable oil. There were robot battles. Knitting. Printing. There was Swap-A-Rama, where people learn to take old clothing and turn it into something new. There was a Diet Coke/Mentos fountain. There were seminars on everything from computer programming for a robot, to learning to embroider. Anything that can be made was celebrated. I think it has the cool energy that comes from a huge group of people who are interested in being creative and learning about new things all getting together in the same place. 

My favorites of the Makers, which were people giving demonstrations and teaching lessons, were the lacemakers (yes - they was a group of women making lace BY HAND) and the blacksmiths (demonstrating old school techniques).  I wish I had been able to get to see more, but I was kept busy manning my booth! Even if I'm not a vendor next year, we're definitely going back!

For our section of Maker Faire, Bazaar Bizarre, things were a tad dusty on the first day due to our location in the show barn, but our proximity to the Lifesize Mousetrap led to a pretty steady flow of traffic. We were also surrounded by really great vendors on all sides– Lucy Blue Studio, Lillie's 5 and Dime, Xylocopa (who won an Editor's choice blue ribbon for their mad science alphabet blocks, which were amazing and of which we purchased a few!) Harrilu and ClothMoth. Everyone could not have been nicer. I also got to meet Joe and Jess from Funky Finds, which was awesome. Isn't it weird when you finally meet people after following their blog? You feel like you already know them, but you feel a little creepy/stalker at the same time! 

Although it was a tad dusty, and a little exhausting, it was definitely a terrific weekend. 


please come to austin....

I'm tying up loose ends today, and I'll be heading out tomorrow for Austin. 

Come by Booth #740 this weekend! We'd love to see you!


sewer's best friend...

Look who's hanging out in my lap while I sit at the sewing machine today. How could I get anything done without the help of my friend Pete?



I just wanted to say thanks to Angela from Angela's Heartwork for mentioning the Pete the Elephant Onesie and Bib set on her blog. Angela recently found out that she's expecting a baby, and if that brand new baby turns out to be a bouncing baby Boy, she'd like to outfit him in Loop and Lil! Congratulations Angela!



Thanks so much to everyone who came out to the Urban Street Bazaar yesterday! We had a great time – it was great weather, and I loved getting to meet so many people and get so much great response to the clothing. 

I'm taking a day of rest today (except I have to run 12 miles!), and then it's back to sewing tomorrow in preparation for Saturday and Sunday in Austin!


sew tired.....

I have been sewing non-stop, getting ready for two shows - the Urban Street Bazaar in Dallas this weekend, and Bazaar Bizarre (part of Maker Faire) in Austin next weekend. I even enlisted my mom's sewing skills to help me get ready! I've been making stuff non-stop, taking breaks only to do my training runs (whose bright idea was it to train for this marathon during the busiest time of the year?), sleep and eat!

If you aren't busy this Saturday, come by the Bishop Arts District for the Urban Street Bazaar! It starts at 10, and goes to around 8. If you've never been before, the Bishop Arts District has lots of great shops and restaurants (Tillman's is especially delicious) to check out in addition to the Bazaar. And all of the vendors in the show will be selling items that are handmade, including art, jewelry, bath products, and clothing. It will be a really great time! Come by and say hi!


perfect day for a new cafe...

Outside the cafe. Sorry for the poor quality of the picture, I only had the camera on my phone.

I had lunch yesterday at a great new find, Another Byte Cafe in Little Forest Hills.  

The cafe is located in a funky old house with great landscaping outside. There were four entrees on the menu for the day, and I chose the Chicken Spaghetti (delicious). We ate outside to take advantage of the perfect weather, but you can also eat inside in the living room area, and you eat off a TV tray!

Our waitress let us know there are art shows, yoga, a pumpkin patch and other activities in the works for the weekends. I know there's internet access available if you're looking for somewhere to hang out on your laptop, but I did not partake. Go check it out if you're looking for something different to do!


and, we're back.....

Returned from Austin yesterday, and tried to recover from the very long weekend.

For a recap of Sunday, see
this. He does a better job of covering what happened anyway.

Today, I do laundry, get my life back together, and start getting ready for



Music is a very big part of my life, and my husband's life. Seeing live music is one of my favorite pastimes, so from time to time, I'll probably be posting things about the bands we see. Here's a rundown so far of who we've seen at the festival:

Friday was great. Saw Jamie Lidell, M. Ward, Mates of State, The Swell Season, and Alejandro Escovedo. Swell Season were my favorites of the day. If you haven't ever seen Once, I highly recommend it. Trivia fact: Swell Season are the only Oscar winners we've ever seen at ACL.

Saturday was a long one. I don't think I've mentioned it on this blog before, but I'm in the process of training for the White Rock Marathon. I ran the Half Marathon last year, and had such a great time, decided to do the full one this year. Well, Saturday happened to be a 10 mile training day on my schedule, so I woke up early, then ran for approximately 2 hours on the hotel treadmill. What a way to start the day! After my run, we got ready and headed over to Zilker Park, where we saw the Old 97s, Jose Gonzalez, Drive-By Truckers, Robert Earl Keen, Spiritualized (my favorite of the day), John Fogerty, Iron & Wine, and Beck.

By the end of the day, my legs were locking up and I was sunburnt and covered with dust from head to toe. But I couldn't have had a better day.


this just in...

Newly listed in the shop, the Louise blouse. More blouses in different patterns/colors to be listed soon. 

On another note, tomorrow we'll be headed to one of our favorite cities in the world for our annual pilgrimage to the Austin City Limits Music Festival. It's three full days of sunshine (um, heatstroke?) and great music, and every year we discover at least one band that becomes a new favorite (like them). We've perfected our routine with each passing year – ways to cope with the heat (umbrellas are a lifesaver), the right snacks to bring (NOT granola bars with chocolate chips because they melt), the entry with the shortest line (not telling or it won't be the shortest line anymore!), etc. I would venture to call us ACL Festival Experts at this point. So let me know if you need any advice. A yearly favorite is the gospel music tent on Sunday morning. If you don't feel the spirit a'moving in your heart after a few minutes in that tent, then you're not alive.

And for us, a trip to Austin isn't complete without tacos from here. So delicious. I can't wait! Hope you're doing something you're happy about this weekend too.


tag...you're it.

After countless hours of online research trying to source clothing labels for Loop and Lil, I decided to try my hand at making some of my own. Most of the woven labels I was able to find are actually produced overseas (even the ones that you order from smaller distributors), and that doesn't help me one bit in my quest to reduce my carbon footprint!

I found a lot of great information on other blogs for different techniques for these labels, but in the end, I decided to 1.) have a custom stamp made of my logo, then 2.) stamp onto cotton twill tape with fabric ink. One tip: to make the ink permanent, it has to be heat set with a dry iron, or the stamped twill tape can also be thrown in the dryer.

Terry at Acme helped me with the custom stamp, and was super nice, helpful, and fast! I got my fabric ink from Monica at Stamp Asylum, another helpful and nice shop owner.

I'm happy with how the labels turned out, and more importantly, I'm glad I'm able to make them on my own.


getting ready...

Sorry for the lack of posts lately (and it's only the second week of my blog!), but I have been keeping myself busy working to get ready for this and this. My camera is also low on batteries, so I can't show you what I'm working on! But I'm excited! Stay tuned...


3....2....1....blast off!

Here it is – the inaugural post on my very own blog! Inspired by him, I've decided to start this blog to track the progress of my fledgling business, and to show people on the outside what I do all day in my little studio! 

Welcome...this is just the beginning.