31 March 2010

tell me you didn't smile...

i won't believe you.

my girlies three and i went a little gaga over retales botijero's photostream. beyond cute, yes? if you're wondering how i'm spending the rest of my day, i'll be the one talking about how salmonella is not cute. all day. and probably well into next week. xoxo.

30 March 2010


swinging my breath seriously away...

just wanted to quick-share this stunner from bryant thompson's flickr, via the genius curator that is sabino.

29 March 2010

things i learned this weekend...

i am a crap mum.

the kind of mother who is surprised by spring break. shocked by anything related to a calendar, really. but that little sucker just snuck right up behind me and pinched my bum last night as i was planning out the week. apparently, i don't need to plan out anything school-related. for. the. week.

i must, however, make some mini adventures and most excellent memories for my mini, most excellent girlies three. which means i'll be a crap blogger this week.

{and this differs from last week how, exactly? i know. i know.}

uncle sugar and i were talking about a time ages and ages ago when we went to a rodeo. this was before babies. and before i knew it, we both flew to that time. not to the rodeo...to the before babies.

what did we do? he wondered. how did we spend all our time back then? what did we do?

i had a mouthful of answers, it seemed. but none really wanted to come out, it seemed.

i like it better now? i said. which sounded more like a question than the truth. until esmé walked downstairs wearing a blonde wig and sunglasses, playing an accordion.


don't know how else to say it. but there's no question.

photos found on awkwardlyalex's flickr stream, found first on robot heart's tumblr. genius, all. catch you after this week, friends. fingers crossed that we all like it better now, yes? say yes...

26 March 2010

esmé asked me...


have a sweetheart of a weekend, friends. see you monday. xoxo.

25 March 2010

beached whale...

i've so much laundry right now, it's not anywhere near amusing.

and you know me. i believe pretty much everything lives next door to amusing. or, at the most, a bicycle ride away.

but four giant-huge loads accumulated in a day? inconceivable.

i know what happened first: lillie cleaned her closet straight into the laundry bin. and i'm normally ready for that. i am. i usually know exactly what that little thing is going to do. because it's exactly what i'd do. if i had a maid.

it's what happened next that changed it all up a bit: beached whale.

what's beached whale? you're kidding me, right? it's where three smallies hop into the tub. one stars as a poor whale washed up on shore, while the other two play hapless tourists from india. or ireland. the accent varies, but lillie and esmé have hapless perfected.

it begins to rain. hard. shockingly chill, then scaldingly third-degree. and there are waves. tidal.

long story shorter, the whale is saved. the bathroom is sopping wet, and six towels get stuffed into the bin by three. very. hapless. littles.

beached whale. only the most amusing game ever. if you have a maid.

words and such found on moving intangibles. that loa tzu quote spoke to me so much that i rewrote it. i've got to remember that one. really. and also, that is my handwriting when i don't write all t.ruffle slowly. i think i like it better. xoxo.

24 March 2010

is it summer yet...

esmé and i are eating prosciutto and cheese on crackers for breakfast.

this is what we always crave when we're on holiday. the sunshine is trying to trick us, i think.

i've got a bit to write today for another project, so i headed to royal quiet deluxe for a spot of push. always always the best collection of words over there.

i scribbled down this one, and then underlined a few of the words: the best voices are not you...they're a little away from you. barry hannah.

this barry hannah fellow was obviously. not. a. blogger.

he was, however, donna tartt's mentor at university of mississippi. envy.

we've a date with some swings today, my girlie third and i. so so so very tempted to string up an indoor hammock like this one in casa camper hotel barcelona. more realistically, we're copying this entertainment inspiration after dinner tonight. have a sweet wednesday, friends. and those names yesterday?! man. did anyone else catch baby fever?

23 March 2010

le bébé french...

mrs. french is expecting a bébé of the girlie variety, and she said i could choose the name!


oh, just go with it. you never know.

i wish she'd bring back beulah, don't you? i also like annie. grae-rose was going to be an annie, but uncle sugar wanted a gracie. and i just heard of a girl named annie-blake who has a sister named rebel. how adorable is that?

i love poppy and lavender, oona and merrilee. i love anything that means something else. i love names so outrageously special that you'd be silly not to give it to a new little person. the perfect first gift, do you know?

i adore the name hely - pronounced helly - because it's the name of the sweetest, wryest best friend any of us would be lucky to have in donna tartt's the little friend. i lost my copy, but i wish i could share one of the book's funniest moments involving hely and harriet. you'd die laughing.

back to mrs. french. i'm ever-so-oddly excited about this new babe of hers. plus i consider her a truly real imaginary friend. does that make sense?

which is why i've decided to share my all-time favorite name. it's esmé. pronounced essmay or ezzmay or essme or ezzme or may-may or maisie daisy or mabel mabel mabel on the table table table or mookie blaylock. depends on the accent, i think.

do you have any favorite names for girlies? who knows. maybe mrs. french will choose yours. i doubt it, though. i kind of think i hit it out of the park with beulah, yes? yes. xoxo.

photos found first on mary ruffle.

22 March 2010

things i learned this weekend...

i can guess uncle sugar's mood first thing in the morning. all weekend, i woke to perfect lattes with his signature swirly froth and omelets stuffed with ingredients all chopped uniformly and layered...well...perfectly.

this morning, he left for work without refilling the water tank in our coffee maker. which means that i would've only been able to make four double-espressos before i had to fill up the water. my. self.

you might think this means nothing, but i know it means two things: one, that boy loves the weekend. and two, he needs to open a restaurant.

i learned i love it when other people are naughty. {seriously. have you read the comments in this one? my sister and i laugh so hard while we're on the phone that we don't say a word. for. minutes. this really only happens when you leave me comments that are way better than my post or, like, when she sends me a t.ruffle suggestion that includes the words bum, glaucoma, sick day, and because i can't see my arse coming into work today.}

but i don't exactly love it when i'm naughty. i am drawn to artists who are naughty, though. she's exactly that. plus we share a birthday. which makes me think i'm one step closer to either being a real artist...or just naughty.

if you've the time, this article is thoughtfully genius. and this one includes a few observations that sort of made me gasp.

tell me something beautiful...

let's see. what else. i learned that my grae-girl swims as though her life depends on winning the race. i sure envy that quality. it makes me feel hopeful that she'll be well-equipped to handle anything that life throws her way. but i also worry that her way will, in fact, be more like a race. always checking to make sure of her place. a nail-biter, do you know?

i learned that my lillie kate swims without a care in the world. the end of the race will come soon enough, so why rush it? why not give the crowd a chandelier smile before you set off for another length? why not have no earthly idea if you came in screaming first or dead last? details. i sure don't envy this quality, because i'm afraid i bequeathed it to her.

also. i learned that sunshine draws me away from my keyboard. which leaves me wondering if blogging is just a winter sport for me.

charles albert is killing me. you know how i feel about things around my neck {hate. choke. gasp. help.}, but i would wear these. and i want that ring so hard it makes me grimace. totally unrealistic, yes? probably yes. hope your weekend was chill, friends. xoxo.

19 March 2010


remember my friend, kathleen? these are her save-the-dates.

she wanted a t.ruffle, so we made her one.

i think it looks pretty delicious, yes? and wait until you see what we're doing for her invitations!

if you'd love t.ruffles to write or design for your next event, just send us a note. we love notes, especially if they're from you. especially especially if they're written on these! and remember...these are blurred out so you don't happen to crash kathleen's wedding. not that she'd mind, i'm sure. but the indigo in real life? it's sick. photography by russell lewis in the UK.

18 March 2010

oscar goldman...

i think i was sort of involved in a petty cat-fight last weekend. and i also think i sort of won.

we were at this restaurant with friends. i like these friends. i wish i could tell you half the jokes and witty stories that were shared - one involved oscar goldman - but you know and i know even oscar goldman isn't funny unless we're sitting together in a fabulous space with all the time in the world to laugh.

make that happen, will you?

anyway. it's the end of the night. kiss kiss. hug hug. off to grab my coat.

let me preface this story with the fact that i have two coats. only two. i have a long black winter one with a most excellent sash and mysterious spy collar, and a hella sexy black trench for spring and summer. both are burberry. i only tell you this because it's integral to the tale. and! i justify both purchases because i'll never buy any other coats again. these are forevers.

plus the friend i was with owns furs. plural. {i don't know why i just told you this, but it makes me feel way less decadent.}

the coat check girlie gives me my coat, and i toss it on as i'm walking out. it feels odd. small and what the heck is that print blazing from the inside lining? this was a burberry, but it was a thin trench with a pinkish burberry plaid. hmmm. not mine.

so i turned around to return it. as i'm walking back, i see this tall frowny lady glaring at me. so i smile and get close enough to begin asking "oh! is this yours?" when she interrupts me.


i took a second. looked at her. really looked at her. she was with a much much older gentleman, and they both looked...pinched. like they were mean-ish more than they were nice-ish. and i was going to let it go. i was. because it's punishment enough to live sad, don't you think?

so i handed her the coat, smiled my half-smile {which still shows gums, to my dismay. i've been trying my entire life to smile small. i give up.}, and was just about to say so sorry...

when she made the noise. an ich. like a meh. like an ugh, but way worse.

so then she got my really giant smile. and i may have said "yeah...i was wondering why it felt so cheap. and then i remembered: why would i be wearing my summer burberry when it's clearly. still. winter. and then? well. then i saw the knock-off pink plaid." loudly, maybe.

ummm. the end. this story brought to you by the karey might not be as nice as you think she is corporation. with additional funding by the seriously...she isn't foundation.

if you're in the mood to chat today? will you make me feel better and tell me of a time when you were a petty kitten? that would make me laugh. i mean, that would help me learn my lesson and be a better person. while laughing.

the pictures are of two shops in london called french's dairy. wouldn't you love to own them and work in them on sunny or rainy days? me, too. i found them while hunting down philippe ferrandis' baubles. they are seriously worth a hunt. i love how his father described him when asked if philippe displayed any creativity when he was a child. "if you gave philippe two chairs and a curtain you soon had a theatre."

isn't that lovely?

17 March 2010


because i had to post something green. meet my summer drink.

he's called caipirinha. vogue introduced us in february. i must admit that i fell in love with mister caipirinha despite some of the phrases jeffrey steingarten used to describe his reputation among upper-esch brazilians: crudely lower-class, local hooch.

wait. i think i fell in love because...

anyway. listen to the ingredients: two ounces cashaça {pronounced cah-sha-sah. try it. sexy, yes?} and lots of sugar and lime.

so. let the summer lists begin. favorite drink for the sunshine? do tell.

p.s. we need cabana boys, don't we?

16 March 2010

camel and husky blue.

phenomenal color couple via hanneli mustaparta.

i'll try my best to post a bit more for wednesday, but it's shaping up to be a list-y sort of day. and if it shapes up to be sunshine-y, too? all bets are off. by the way, is anyone else feeling spring fever? what shall we do about this, then?

puppy love...

i really want to buy lillie this poster...

but something important needs to happen first. otherwise, it's just plain old taunty.

did i ever tell you i met her at alt design summit? before we met, i'd agonize daily to mary ruffle because i was desperate to become the next keep calm and carry on. but after we met? i was so utterly floored by her kindness and oh no...enough about me...i'd rather hear about you giant heart, that my goal of what i wanted to become sort of changed. this newest poster of hers is fabulous, isn't it? who, besides lillie kate mackin, doesn't have a dog? also. my friend suzanne bought something from here, too. have you browsed it yet? also also. does anyone have a puppy for my lillie? say yes...

15 March 2010

things i learned this weekend...

it shocks the heck out of me when a photo makes my tummy leap. just a photo. but, man. what a photo.

i bet these...

were made for her.

and this was made for me and my girlies three.

sing me to sleep. sing me awake. wouldn't that be lovely?

i'm so charmed by this edited stream of consciousness, i can't imagine which post i should share with you. so i'll share two. this one and this one. because i've been craving some down and dirty reading of late. plus kjetil kausland's photos floor me. as does this one...

hong kong is on my someday short list, i think. singapore sits on that list, too. do you keep lists like this? because i really like keepers of lists like this.

let's see. what else did i learn? well. i realized i really want to color coordinate all the books we own, but i also realized we'd only have three colors on our shelves, which are the same colors in our laundry piles: blacks, whites, and varying shades of pinks.

one more thing. i came home last night from my hair appointment {she would not do silvery grey streaks, much to my dismay, but she completely did not laugh or even smirk when i showed her hairstyles hidden by hoods and stuff.} and realized one of the greatest perks of owning the girlies three. squeals and smiles and a million you're so cutes! as well as some odd scratching behind my ear from little e.

as for uncle sugar, he looked at me and just stopped for a second. always a good response. then he laughed that nicest laugh of his, scooped me to him, and asked did you show her a picture of esmé?

maybe i would've had better...more grown up...results had i taken in this photo? next time, kate. next time.

as always, click on the colored words to hop to a better place. hope your week begins happily. i'll keep my fingers crossed for you. xoxo.

12 March 2010

meet my friend...

her name is shayna roosevelt.

i found her at alt design summit, and joslyn said we could keep her.

i love her intense brows, but i love her smile even more than that. it's exactly how i smile when i read her words right here.

i'm drawn to people who seem to be smiling giant while they're writing. or while they're just living. aren't you?

i must apologize to shayna for outing her like this. it's just that i asked her to send photos for a project we're planning, and when i saw them i think i went a bit gaga. she's lucky i didn't post all four. but seriously? that first one, i'd expect to see in a magazine. and the second one? i'd expect to see on my fridge. i told you: gaga. have a sweet weekend, friends. xoxo.

11 March 2010

cheeky minx...

your comments yesterday were brilliant. you weren't messy...you were naughty!

i love that about you.

my sister called in the afternoon, and seriously couldn't say a word for a few seconds. she was laughing too hard at this little gem from lkm:

...then there was the time it seemed like a good idea to pop up the floor tiles in the study with a toilet plunger. sprinkle sugar underneath, and replace the tiles. why? because it made such a cool crunchy sound while 'sailing the ocean blue' in laundry baskets and cardboard boxes.

long forgotten and well on the way to other messes by the time mom and dad were scratching their heads trying to figure out the source of the ant infestation.


i swear it was the whoops with a period that sent us both over the edge.

all of that reminded me of this friend i once found, who was honestly the most proper number-loving, old-school business suit woman i'd ever met. i liked her anyway.

she worried to no end that her daughter would end up just like her. i nodded dumbly and threw in a worried, scrunched-up forehead "conservative?" uhhh. no, karey. but thanks for that.

apparently, she went through a horrid stage when she was about eight or nine. like, a felony stage.

she had a bunch of genius pranks stuffed into her back pocket, but my favorite involved her neighbor's historic southern manse with one of those fancy brass mail slots in the front door. original to the house. if you peeked in it, you could see the cherry wood floors they'd lovingly restored. original to the house.

my friend thought it'd be hilarious if she ran the garden hose through that little secret slot. think about it, will you? the owners come home after work, walk in their front door, and slip on a tiny puddle in their foyer. falling flat on their fancy little bums. original to the house.

her plan went awry. horribly. because she forgot about the hose until hours later. it was the sirens that reminded her.

i could write a book about uncle sugar's childhood. that boy's pranks were brutal, and my favorite moments still are when he gets that devil of a spark in his eyes. i can see the little monkey he once was. love that.

one of his best tricks was when he left a note at the bank back when he was in grade school.

it read, in part, HELP. something about being held captive by a crazy woman, which was probably true. that boy was perpetually grounded.

long story as short as it can be...the police came. uncle sugar disappeared. and his mother, i'm told, convinced the officers that, with five children all of varying versions of killer-naughty, she was the only person in that house being held against her will.

they took one look around. and left.

more than a little inspired by jan welters' portraits, as found first by stash studios. my hair appointment isn't until sunday, so somebody might be printing out a few of these bad boys, yes? yes. and thanks for yesterday's comments. they made me laugh and laugh and laugh. if you're in the mood, more please...

10 March 2010

clean-up on girlies three...

my girlies three were in a mood. a snit. a pack of wildebeests. ants in their pants. or, as lill explained it, bees all up in their bums.

they wanted a hot-water balloon battle out back, complete with bathing suits and the lingering snow drift that will not go away no matter how hard the sun works. {the boiling water inside the balloons was intended to help with the melting, but all i could imagine was esmé's and her little friend tootie's baby skin. welting.} oh, and the plan included lots of wet dirt, as grae calls it. because she knows i'm anti-mud.

i said no.

they wanted a spa afternoon with the other neighborhood wildebeests. their plan involved key lime yogurt and coffee.

i said no.

they moved on to nail polish and popsicles on a persian rug.

really, girls? really? do i even need to say it?

they wanted to make chalk murals on our front walkway, complete with bathing suits and chalk powder and water bottles. oh, and the plan included lots of wet chalk, which looks an awful lot like wet dirt.

i said no. they did it, anyway. one out of four isn't so bad.

you were way nicer in jordan! they growled.

shorties? we had a maid in jordan. and if i remember correctly, she didn't enjoy your genius plans either.

especially not the one loosely titled it's saturday morning! let's grab some vegetable oil and turn this kitchen into one grand slip 'n slide!

for the record? i would've wanted to say yes to that one.

do you remember making messes like this when you were a little? like, daily? do tell. because all i remember is reading books and playing with manure. {i grew up on a farm, and they looked like pies. don't judge.}

gummi bear candelier seen and drooled over here. and i can't recall where i first saw letters of note, but it's so genius i can't be bothered to pretend i found it myself.

09 March 2010

a summer maybe...

spent the whole morning outside. man, the sunshine warms me back up.

and now i've got to work on my friend's save-the-date with my mary {we'll show it to you when we're through, but i'll tell you right now that it's a stunner!} and our little book together and another print for our shoppe. by special request...

let's see. do i have anything else to tell you? only that my summer closet covets this dress.

i and my flip-flops agree. catch you later, friends. i hope the sun is fat-hot wherever you are...

08 March 2010

blog it forward...

i've been nervous about this.

because you already know what inspires me. beyond the obvious - turquoise, travel, words, shiny objects, love, and the girlies three - pretty much everything. and i'm simply way too lazy for a long post this morning.

so there it is, i thought. yet another post about shimmer. here. why don't i just show you the necklace i'm hoping-dying to buy to wear as a bracelet at a fancy dinner party next month? because this. is. impossible.

and that's when i smiled. exactly when my heart began to beat a smidge faster. i might've even clapped. because i'm a little enamored with impossible.

i mean, he's mostly possible. it's just that tiny im standing in the way, yes?

so there it is, i think. i'm most moved, thrilled beyond inspired, at those fleeting moments and no way goals that seem altogether impossible. like, wearing a tasseled necklace as a bracelet at a fancy dinner party where they'll surely serve some sort of soup. or becoming partners with someone i've never ever met. trying to stuff as many tiny memories into my girlies' three hearts to keep them warm if they're ever alone. to remind them that they're never alone. falling in love with the world every day without fail, even when she's in a horrible mood. or. learning to wink just one eye.

because without the impossible...what would we ever do with all of this hope?

esmé will learn to wink one eye soon enough. we're just enjoying the heck out of right now when it seems pretty much impossible. i like her hope. lovely little nest passed along her inspiration to me, and now i'm throwing mine to make*happy. genius concept to inspire our little community brought to you by victoria, who you MUST visit today. she's moving into a new casa, which means pretty pictures and even prettier plans. xoxo, friends.

05 March 2010

oh, man...

i believe it must be spring fever.

i've nothing to say. {well, less than usual.} and i feel hella compelled to just...do. seriously, all i want to post is this photo.

why? couldn't tell you. can't even be bothered to fabricate a reason. like, hey...thinking of buying a hat. do you like this one? or grae wears a striped shirt that looks exactly like this every day. that's a problem for me. or even a doesn't she look like she'd be a little ball of fun?

because i know my head's too large for a cap like that. i know grae loves the striped shirt. i also realize that the last thing i need in my life is another. ball. of. fun.

wait. one thing i am interested in asking you is how you feel about short pants. like these. as for me, i'm usually anti-short pants in addition to being anti-stripe. how about you?

and while we're sort of discussing my head, i'm trying to squeeze a hair appointment into a very packed weekend. would it be confusing for me to give my stylist this photo?

you just thought to yourself not at all, karey! i completely understand the hairchop and the hood. completely. you're not losing your mind or any of the little sense you had, like, last week. oh! and be sure you {you'll probably want to cover your mouth and suppress ridiculing laughter right about now.} post a photo of how it all plays out! am i right? oh, man...

there's really no way to redeem this post, is there? i've re-read it an embarrassing amount of times, and i'm still shaking my head at my dumb. let's just leave it at that, shall we? ok, then. see you next week. unless you've removed me from your daily reads, that is. xoxo.

girl with a cap via le vestiaire de clé, which i stumbled upon via breathe design. and i first saw kate on woolgathering & miscellany, right before my daily google of kate lanphear's hair.

04 March 2010


i got a few mails and calls yesterday. where? are? you?

well. after i got lillie and grae off to school, i sort of crawled back into bed with esmé. don't tell uncle sugar. i like to cultivate an impression that i'm way too busy for your errands, mister.

about thirty minutes {who am i kidding? it was an hour. plus the thirty minutes.} later, mémé yelled without even opening her eyes.

MOMMY! COME UP HERE AND SNUGGLE WITH ME! she says the same thing every morning, varying only in vehemence.

but this time, i was right smack next to her. and i replied, bonjour, mon amie. comment ça va? i say the same thing every morning, varying only in the cartoonish depth of my pepé le pew accent.

her eyes opened. wide. and then she seriously squeezed herself a hug before she covered me with kisses.

this is the best day ever! she declared. exaggeration runs in this family.

what? why? i'm admittedly beyond slow in the morning. but also? how the heck could she know it was already the best day ever? that usually doesn't happen until, like, noon.

because you're here.

which is exactly where i stayed all day and all night. right here. it always surprises me, does it you? how little it takes to make someone happy...

i'm afraid it's tragically annoying, how smitten i am with my family this week. not to worry, though! i'm almost all sure lillie or grae - or if you're really lucky, both! - will be in fierce moods when they get home from school, and this love affair will be replaced with a post about things i bought to distract myself from the drama in my casa. i will try my best to be more interesting tomorrow. speaking of interesting, dun market is. very. plus affordable. very. found by the always very interesting pour porter. she gets an extra very because she earns it daily. have you visited yet? oh, you should. you really should. have a sweet day, friends. xoxo.

02 March 2010

one more thing...

i always say this, but our newest t.ruffle is my all. time. favorite.

i'm a little in love with that lone little bean, aren't you?

fits sweetly in the corner by your coffeepot, loves to be close to your computer, and is even cool with hanging around your front door. you know...as your last shot of courage before you head out into the wild, wild world. win one here, or be a sweetheart and buy your own here. we really did make it just for you...

my girl...

mary opened a new shop.

no no no. we've not broken up. she's still allowing me to scribbble on some of her photographs. just not this one.

which is a shame, really. because i had a really really naughty few sentences for this little guy.

i'm beyond proud of mary. you already know this. and mary already knows this. i tell her nearly daily that her art is one of my most favorite things in life.

so many of you ask how i can write the things i write over on the sweeterie. it's easy.

i've got her pictures whispering in my ear.

visit mary swenson photography. i bet you'll smile. it's like spring, isn't it? yes, it is. xoxo.