Sunday, May 31, 2009

Buona Sera

Ciao... it's libby, from Italy.
We were trying to get a photo to load, trust me that there are a lot we will post later, but I did get a spare minute on the hotel computer to post it. suffice it to say that we are maximizing our time in Florence (leaving for Venice tomorrow!) having 2-3 hour dinners, eating every truffle dish we can find, absorbing Tuscan food, wine, and countryside and getting as much art in as possible.
We did get to visit the Textile Studio where I first learned how to paint on silk... the morning of our visit, it hit me that had I not taken that class in Florence 12 years ago, I would never have become a textile designer, or a jewelry designer or who I am now. It made the visit to the studio that much more profound and precious to me. I can't wait to share more about it!
I hope you are enjoying the blog... I can't wait to have the time to pore over the fun Italy themed entries when I get home - I'll take a peek tonight, but I am saving the bulk of the entries as part of my own "re-entry" process, back into life at home.
see you all later!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Packing Checklist & Travel Tips: by Tori Higa

All of this talk about traveling to Italy has inspired me to compile a list of a few basic travel tips for those of us who hope to get to Italy one day soon.

- Always buy a few personal items once you arrive at your destination such as tooth paste, mouth wash, etc. There is just something really fun about using an Italian brand of shampoo.
- Pack light – with enough room in your suitcase to bring home souvenirs.
- Be sure to bring your Libby Dibby wrap skirt – and I’m not just sayting that! They are two skirts in one and you can use the extra space in your suite case.
- Wear sensible but cute shoes. (I love these handmade shoes by Le Pied Leger)
- A hat and sunglasses are a must this time of year in Italy – why not go Audrey Hepburn style? I always try to pack cheap sunglasses though because I do tend to loose them.
- Remember to take lots of pictures – you can never have too many snap shots.
- Look into visiting a major museum at night – it’s usually much cheaper (and sometimes even free) and always less crowded. I can remember visiting the Uffizi at night because of a friend’s recommendation and just loving it.
- Be sure to visit a grocery store and/or farmer’s market. Nothing will make you feel more like a local than mingling with them during everyday errands.
- Calories don’t count in Italy (gelato is a must at least once a day)
- Pack a fun sketch book like one of Liberty’s designs either for sketching, journaling, scrap booking, or a little bit of everything.
- I also think that one of Liberty’s DoHippy Bags would perfect for day trips or even just walking around the city. They not only expand when you need them to, but they can fold down in such a way that makes it impossible for pick pockets to snag your wallet. In my opinion, these are the perfect travel bags.

1. Libby Dibby skirt
2. Gap straw hat
3. Libby Dibby Recycled SCRAPbook journal
4. Liberty Worth DoHippy Bag
5. Forever 21 sunglasses
6. Le Pied Leger footwear
7. random photo of Italian brand of shower gel (I don't know why I think it's so much fun to use foreign drugstore brands while traveling - but it is!)

Hopefully we can all get the chance to use some of these travel tips soon. In the meantime, you can always rent Roman Holiday for a little Italian fix. :)

Friday, May 29, 2009

thanks to Italy...

It wouldn’t be fair to not mention something about the way Italy shaped my sister, this being her blog and all! As Tori mentioned, in college, she took a summer course in Italy. All art classes, if I remember correctly. I think this was a critical point for her – stirring up an appreciation not only for what other artists create, but also what she is capable of creating. I know that was a magical experience for her. She tried new things, and was challenged way outside of her comfort zone. Until her time there, I don’t think that she fully identified the creativity with which she is blessed. And even still, seeing her now, I realize that back then, she had barely scratched the surface.
If you are reading this blog, chances are that you value her creativity. You have Italy to thank for much of that!!!

Since I don't have a photo from her Italy trip, here’s the most recent pic of us with our fabulous mom, from Mother’s Day. Oh, and Mom also wrote about Lib's Italy trip here

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Libby from Italy

It's 5am. Day 3. I cannot sleep for excitement for the day ahead...
And do you get the view from our Florence hotel window. (which could really be anywhere in Italy) Today's schedule includes Michelangelo's "David", the Medici Chapel, a trip to the studio where I learned textile design and another sunset over the Arno River and Ponte Vecchio.
I cried when I first saw the Duomo again. In a way I couldn't believe I'd made it back after 12 years... And how could I help but fall more in love with the man who brought me back the first chance he got - knowing what it would do for me, when I never even had to ask?

Deruta: by Tori Higa

I fell in love with the hand painted pottery I saw all over Italy known as Deruta ceramics. In fact, my husband and I loved it so much that we ended up registering for it instead of traditional china for our wedding. We had a lot of generous friends and family give us almost the entire collection that we chose – we filled in the blanks with gift cards and now enjoy them on display in our dining room. Somehow we think that Italian food tastes better on these dishes. We used to use them on a regular basis, but now we use them mostly for special occasions (things change after you have a child).

A really beautiful book on the subject is called “Deruta: A Tradition of Italian Ceramics” by Elizabeth Helman.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Italian Memories: by Victory

Italy… I have to say I am a little envious that my sister is there… escaping REAL LIFE (ie, the never-ending joys that we refer to as our children, homes, jobs, chores, responsibilities, commitments… and I don’t mean that sarcastically. I love my life, though I would like to escape every now and then!!). I have only been once, and have great memories. My mom and I went, just a month before my wedding, and met another mother and daughter duo over there (neither of whom I knew very well upon arrival). We had a memorable and amazing time. Wine. Art. History. Sunshine. Lots of yummy food!

One of my funniest memories was when we all went to get massages. This was a brave endeavor. We were laying in cubicles, separated by thin curtains. The masseuses were extremely chatty as they went about their business. Kirsten, my partner in crime, and I were on opposite sides of a thin cotton curtain, and she whispers to me, “as soon as I hear them say ‘chellulite’ (insert thick Italian accent) I’m out of here!!!” We tried, fairly unsuccessfully, to control our giggles… it has forever changed the way I will say that word. I wonder if she even remembers saying it. I thought she was hilarious.

Another great moment was late one night, after our kitchen staff (! – wow were we spoiled!!!) went home for the night. They had prepared for us an AMAZING dinner – everything fresh and so yummy that you savor every bite. They had cleaned up for the night, and headed out. We somehow found ourselves in the kitchen, stuffing our faces with anything we could find. Leftovers, fruit, extra dessert… you name it. The next thing we know, the cook walks back into the kitchen, because he had forgotten something. Talk about caught with your hand in the cookie jar. We were humiliated!!! We had just consumed the most amazing dinner, but still had enough room to pack in a few extra bites. I guess that’s what you get when you have 4 women, an otherwise empty villa, and no one to answer to!! So fun.

Ok – so here is a photo from our visit. I loved that special time. It was a great way to celebrate my upcoming marriage, and the fact that my mom was passing off her baby to a (wonderful) man… that was over 8 years ago. (and even though it looks like it, this is NOT an antique photo… just a bad photo of a photo.) Buon viaggio, Libby!!! Ciao bella!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Italian Dreams: by Tori Higa

I am thrilled to be guest blogging for Liberty, along with her sister, Victory, while she is on such an amazing vacation in Italy. I am so excited for my dear friend to be taking such a well deserved break (sans kids) with her sweet husband in one of the most romantic corners of the world. I can’t wait to see what inspiration she brings home with her.

I have always loved Italy. From an early age I was so fascinated with the culture for some reason. It wasn’t until I took a history class focusing on the renaissance at my community college that I really fell in love with Florence, Italy. From that point on, I had a strong desire to go there someday. So when I transferred to Pepperdine, I didn’t have to think twice about taking advantage of their oversees program. I loved everything about going to school at Pepperdine, but I can honestly say that the semester I spent in Florence was by far the best part of my entire college experience (not including meeting my husband of course!) There is just something about being there as a student and getting to live day to day life in such an inspiring city.

Liberty and I both did a study abroad program in Florence (studying art in SACI) – only at different times. We often look back and laugh at the fact that our paths “almost” crossed so many times in college. We knew who each other were (we even had a class together!), but it wasn’t until after we graduated and worked for the same company that we became friends – and now I couldn’t imagine NOT having her in my life!

So all of that to say, I am so excited to blog about a country that I love so much for my friend who I love even more. Victory and I will take turns posting every day while she is out of town, so stay tuned to see our Italian themed posts, inspirations, and musings.

(pictured above is a tiny sketch I did during my time in Florence in the interior of a leather journal made with fabriano paper for my now husband who still keeps it in his nightstand drawer)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Off to Italy...

Another dress for Italy...

I did not make this dress.. It's literally one of those, "that old thing?" kind of dresses. I bought it a few years ago at (gasp) Rite Aid- just to wear as a cover up to the beach. But it occurred to me that it would be the perfect recipient of some Alexander Henry fabric I've been saving for years... And ruffles are now something I'm not afraid of anymore (for both sewing and wearing)... So the dress got a makeover in time to make it into the suitcase. Truth is, I wanted to bring along a red dress and have run out of sewing time. We leave tomorrow!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

If it were up to me... Marie claire idees

My new issue of Marie Claire Idees arrived this week, just in time for me to get more excited about going abroad.  I cannot wait to go magazine shopping in Italy...

Look at these photos! I think I could live like this... ... J would reign me in for sure if he had a say... But if it were a girl's world...

(I do have one cabinet that's getting ready for a makeover - I'm thinking a little paint and Mod Podge will make it happen- plus it lives in my office, so I doubt I'd get any objections to it looking a little on the fem side)... Speaking of Mod Podge... (look for my collages candles at ... Lots of fun ideas over there, too...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Scrappy Wraps

So I was wearing a bracelet today that Tori gave me a few years ago and I decided to email her to ask where she got it.... turns out Michelle Gonzalez, ( - a former employee of Tori's - makes these super cute "Scrappy Wraps". you know how I am about scrap saving... and if you can do it beautifully? oh, yeah...
So Michelle doesn't have an etsy site and she's getting married soon, I hear, but maybe if enough of us beg her - she'll get one set up soon!

Michelle did say that she'd love to be blogged about today, so I'm sure that means she'd be willing to make a cute bracelet for you.
(oh, and for a very different type of fabric DIY cuff, check out Anna Maria Horner's book, Seams to Me...)

I REALLY love Quilthome

I never win anything... so when I put my little "i love" banner at the bottom of my blogroll, I really meant it - the  store is phenomenal and they send out great coupons. I've been dancing around their cool shopping cart features and playing with color combos for a while, but just made my first purchase with them last week.  I've loved how you can search patterns by designer and they have the biggest selection

Anyhow - enough about them... I learned this morning in their newsletter that I won their giveaway! I'm super excited. More money to spend at now that's some real fun!!!!

(I do indeed love you!) - Modern Designer Fabric by Amy Butler, Kaffe Fassett and More

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Someday, definitely sooner than I hope, I will be cleaning up the house and I will NOT find little scraps of paper like this. Or books stapled together that say "A MOMM BOOOK" with images of little ice cream cones, princesses and snails. And that day, I will be glad I
blogged this. In the mess of my dining room table tonight, I found this. I love the Design Director. And I love her artwork.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dress #2 - Brown and Green

So here is my second of a few dresses that I've made recently...
I also decided to include a peek into my studio for you.

Giveaway projects - Cheri's handiwork

I got my first pics tonight of something that someone made from their own piece of scrap heaven...
These pics are from Cheri. (I'm SO happy you loved the box, Cheri!)

Great News!

I have fun news to share...

1 - While I am in Italy, my sister, Victory, and my dear friend, Tori, have agreed to guest blog. The theme will be all Italian, in honor of my trip. I can't wait to see what they post.

2 - The collaged candles got some Dollar Store Craft love this week. Check out the fun blog -
there are always so many fun things to do at Dollar Store Crafts. I'm a beach glass collector, so I think I will be trying this one out soon, and I also LOVE using my washable swiffer refills made from a fleece baby blanket I bought at the dollar store.

3 - I've been a sewing fool! I seem to have gotten the idea that I need to parade around on my romantic vacation with a whole new wardrobe... and have been sewing dress after dress... I'm just loony. Will post some shots of the latest one later today.

4 - I've sold out of my scrap boxes! Wow. After 24 (maybe 25) flat rate boxes getting shipped out to you all - my scrap pile is down to 4 bags of scrap - no longer 10. I made sure each box was full to the brim with scraps (they weighed more than 5lbs each!)- and did m
y best to ensure that each one had a fun and exciting variety of good sized pieces so
people could have fun making things. I can't wait to see some of the creations made. If I am feeling the need to spend another week cutting, folding, shipping, etc... we may revisit that whole concept again. It sure was fun while it lasted. Thanks for taking part!

5 - one question. If I were to bring 1-2 of the following skirts for my trip to Italy... which would you suggest? And why? (just so you know, these 4 are the ones I wear most of all, though my closet boasts about 3 more)
The Original

But Seriously


Out & About


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Viva Italia.

So in 10 days, I'm off to Italy. I simply cannot wait.
Want to hear something funny? I've got a few (unrelated) customers in Italy who have me bringing skirts to Italy to mail to them while I am in the country...  so if you are in Italy, reading this and wanting to get your hands on a Libby Dibby item... place your order in the next few days and I will bring it with me!

iPhone love

You all know how much I love my iPhone. I use it to blog from the playground, the coffee shop... everywhere I go. It makes my life so happy. So I decided to make my iPhone happy recently.

I made it a little case. Only the first one wasn't right. Neither was the second. Then I decided I was having too much fun making these and made up a whole batch of them. (None of them are good enough to sell with any confidence... if you want one, look up "phone wallet" on etsy, there are lots of cute and inexpensive ones there!)

Still, some of my friends (and sisters) are being gifted with these happy little deals.

LOST - meet my new friend, "Season Five"

We are avid LOST fans. J used to work on the show and still works with the same team of people on his current projects, so we REALLY love the show. Besides the fact that it's great. (and other than "CHUCK", the only thing I watch faithfully, though I am about 10 episodes behind on CHUCK...)
If you are a LOST fan, you know it can get tense. And if you are a friend of mine, you know I don't sit still very well. So I knit through each episode, taking my fears out on the yarn. (it's quieter than a sewing machine)
Last night's 2 hour season finale did me in... It also gave me time to finish up this season's project. J - who was sitting in stunned silence at the end of the show looked over at my little friend (he thought I was working on a scarf), burst out laughing, and immediately gave the little guy a name... "well, hello, Season Five!"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Jersey dress

J is out of town on business... Which meant a night of irresponsible sewing... My friend, Kellie, and I went out for fabric yesterday and I saw this sparkly brown jersey... (which I've never worked with... And don't want to again!) I was attempting to make a dress that was in "weekend sewing" by Heather Ross... But , despite all my excitement about following patterns lately... The dress was not working and my machine did not appreciate working with elastic thread.. So instead I got this. Jury is still out...but I'm wearing it out today and getting decent feelings about it... the big question comes from Mr. Libby Dibby's opinion when he gets back in town.
Is it good enough for my trip to Italy in 2 weeks?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Momma/Daughter Matching

Did you and your little gal wear matching Libby Dibby on Mother's Day (or recently)?
If you did, send me a pic in an email - or post it on a blog and send me a link... and I'll send you a present!

Here are two sweet samples. (thanks Cat and Jen!)

Mother's Day -Libby Dibby style

We have a big family - which means lots of mothers around to celebrate on Mother's Day. All of the family (on all sides - that's 3 sets of in-laws) get together for every holiday. It's very tidy, and very loud.... with 7 cousins in 5 years, there is never a dull moment.

That also means there are lots of gifts given and lots of chances for fun pics throughout the day.
Here are some highlights from our day...
The Design Director begged me to make her a dress to match my new green shirt... Though I am not super matchy matchy, I know she won't want to dress like me forever... I will treasure this photo now and know that the night it took to make her dress was time well spent.

My sister, Victory, opens up her "Auntie Vic" present, with Violet watching.

Mimi explains to Nanny how the fairies come live in your tree if you put up these magic windows and doors for them to enter.
These are vases from the Dollar Store that I gave the kids Sharpies to decorate for their grandmas.

The three very happy grandmothers. (left to right... my mom, my sis' mother in law, J's mom)
We are a blessed family, indeed.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

More barrettes

The Design Director and I made that whole string of hair clips right before Easter - in time to give them to all the cousins. We lined them with velcro (the scratchy side) to stay in the hair and had a great time with ribbons, vintage yoyos and scrap buttons from Great-Grammy's collection.
They were well  received and we got a request for more from my sister who wants to give a bunch away as a gift for a family that just welcomed home a baby girl. So here are some of the second batch. Which I believe contains 36 all total... these are just some of my faves. After Victory gets the first pic, some of these may end up on etsy. We'll see.

Collage (Dollar store) candles

The kids and I made these this morning, while Daddy was catching up on some hard-earned sleep... We took Dollar Store candles, the kind with saints on them... And used ModPodge to secure tiny fabric scraps to them... They look even better than I expected them.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mother's Day Sneak Preview

Okay, Mom and Nancy... sorry you're getting a sneak preview - I'll show our gifts later - since our moms both read the blog... but here is what our Mother's Day is starting to look like.
Once again, fun from the Tori stash of fabric.
re-usable gift wrap.... a la Tori Higa. (an idea she gave me, also)
I made open top bags, and used ribbon and brass tags....

Spring and green

Spring is here... Though it's been feeling like summer in L.A. this week. I have found myself wearing this color all week... Wondering if perhaps I love it more than RED??? (don't think so, but it's debatable this time of year)

I made this top last night with some fabric I'd been stashing for a while and some of my "Tori Higa Motherload" (fabric she offloaded on me as she moved cross country)... Like it, Tori?... I'll post where I got the tutorial in a little bit.... When I get some computer time...right now I'm in the kitchen with coffee... (okay... link is in. I got it at Sew, Mama, Sew...)

I like the square neckline and ruffled sleeves. But I especially love the color.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sunset Shadows

Tonight's sunset had an orange glow (from the fires in Santa Barbara, presumably) that filtered into the house. I was mesmerized by it and the shadows that began playing on the walls.  It offered me the chance to take these magical photos.
(these photos have no filter, no photoshop, and hardly any cropping done.  They literally just happened...) They are already precious to me.
I feel like I am always trying to capture something like a shadow or impression that captures a self portrait kind of nature without being an obvious image of me (I believe I have mentioned I am a little camera shy)... and this fits the bill. The kids were having a lot of fun posing for them as well.  All we were missing was Jay, and yet, somehow there is a simplicity that I like in it. Perhaps with it just being momma and the kids at home... with our homemade curtains in the background, messy hair from the beach... it feels more intimate and peaceful. When Jay's around, the kids are simply so excited that we get few quiet moments like this.

New Posts on Designing Moms

here are the links to some new posts I've done for Designing Moms...

Monday, May 4, 2009

walking home from school

Walking home from school today... the Design Director has on her sweet vintage pants, and momma is happy to be wearing the original Libby Dibby skirt that started it all, along with a BIG red Audrey Hepburn hat and flip flops.
Now there is some goodness.

Inspiration: Mexican tile

I took the Design Director and Ze Artiste out for Mexican food after church yesterday -Daddy had to go somewhere-... And we ended up at this cute place on Lincoln Blvd. In Venice Beach.
The Design Director had a real inspirstional experience. She was busy, dancing to the music after finishing her quesadilla and suddenly noticed the gorgeous tile. She stopped.
"momma, I don't know what that is" and I realized that was 4-year old artist speak for "that pattern inspires me!"
So I told her to take some photos of it with my phone and we'd take them home and draw them into her sketchbook. I loved this moment.
(ps. Not a bad iPhone photo by Ze Artiste, either, eh?)



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