How to Sew a Button
How to Sew a Button

8 days and counting

December 7th, 2009

Next Tuesday, December 15th, How to Sew a Button, officially hits stores.

photoBut yesterday, we took a few boxes of hot-off-the-presses books to the Bust Craftacular to sign and sell. All I can say is: Whoa. By 11AM, the line was already two blocks long!

Inside, it was a amazing.

I saw Ayun Halliday, who was handing out tush tattoos. She just wrote a cheeky children’s book called, Always Lots of Heinies at the Zoo. It’s my 4-year-old niece’s favorite, and if you watch Ayun’s one-minute book trailer (below), you’ll see why.

Also, I was stationed across the aisle from the nice chicks of First World Trash. They make really cool vinyl bags out of recycled pieces of old billboards.

Once I got settled, I demo’d a few tips from the book, including how to make a Manhattan and how to make a cool apron out of an old pillowcase. (I made this one the night before the Craftacular, while watching The Godfather. Can you believe I’ve never seen that movie before?)


Anyway, I had a great time signing books and meeting people!


Elissa Stein, who is a Twitter friend, was my very first customer. She wrote a great book called Flow, which you should definitely check out! Here’s her trailer:

I also think I maybe had a star-spotting. A very nice man walked by my table and waved, “Congrats on publishing the book!” It wasn’t until later that I’d heard everyone buzzing about Michael Pollan. (Was it him? That’s this author’s dilemma.)

By the end of the day, I was exhausted but so happy. After, the Craftacular, we wandered over to a tiny bistro in the East Village to hear Kim Brittingham read from her forthcoming memoir, Read My Hips. She is an amazing writer, and she’s already even been on The Today Show.

Now, I’m off to do my first–gulp–LIVE radio interview. At 1PM, I’ll be on Let’s Eat In, hosted by Cathy Erway, who writes a great blog called Not Eating Out in New York. Her book, The Art of Eating In, hits shelves in February. Click here to listen to the show!

An Apple Pie Bakes in Brooklyn

December 4th, 2009

I made an apple pie with the super-cool folks of Overflow magazine, and they actually wrote about it! (They also managed to get the phrase, big-breasted, in the story at least twice, but they weren’t referring to me.)

Meet me at the Bust Holiday Craftacular

December 1st, 2009

If you’re in NYC this Sunday, please swing by the Bust Holiday Craftacular at the Metropolitan Pavilion! I’ll be there signing books and demoing some pretty nifty things from 11AM to 2PM.

And I’ll be in amazing company with over 200 cool and crafty vendors, selling handmade jewelry, clothes, artwork and handbags. Just think how happy you’ll feel when you get all of your holiday shopping done in one swell foop!


P.S. Also, please go say hi to my new blog friends: the fabulous and funny Rachael at Yarnagogo, to the fierce and frugal Miss Manifesto, and to the frothy folks at The Beer How To Guide. You guys made my day!

Feeling grateful

November 29th, 2009

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! I know I did. In fact, I had two celebrations, one at our house in Brooklyn (our first!) and one at my sister-in-law’s in Erie, PA. If you ask me, both were successes, but for different reasons.

Me and my niece, AnnieThe first was great (ahem, if I do say so myself), not only because my family came to visit us, but because we snuck bacon into every possible dish. I slipped it (along with butter, sage, lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper) under the skin of our turkey, and my better half also threw some into our green bean casserole. Aw, yeah!

Kernels of GratitudeMy sister-in-law’s was wonderful, too, not only because it snowed a little, but also because we started a new tradition. Each person got a few kernels of popcorn at the table. Rather than forcing everyone to announce what he or she is thankful for, we were instructed to silently pass our kernels to the center of the table at any time during the meal, whenever we thought of something for which we were grateful. I passed all four of my kernels at once. It was so easy!

Leftovers!I’m also thankful for leftovers, which I froze in TV-dinner-style portions. For homebrewing beer. For the Chinese food that was just delivered. And for Dexter on Sunday nights. Also, for all of my new friends in the blogosphere. It’s so nice to meet you!

I’m going to savor these last few hours of the holiday weekend. Hope you do, too!

Feel Instantly Glamorous

November 24th, 2009

Not sure what to wear to Thanksgiving dinner at your in-laws? Put on a little lipstick and you’ll be fine.

Hip-hip Beret!

November 20th, 2009

When I first moved to Brooklyn from Pennsylvania thirteen years ago, I basically had no idea what I was doing. Like, at all.

So, after I was invited to my first grown-up dinner party, I remember wandering around a liquor store on Flatbush Avenue, looking for a cheap but nice bottle of wine to bring. Too scared to ask the guy at the counter for a suggestion, I just stood there, quaking in my Doc Martens, trying to read labels without actually touching anything.

And then it happened: A man wearing a beret walked into the store!


I figured any beret-wearing fellow must know something about wine, so I secretly trailed him to see which bottle he’d choose. Then, I chose the same one. I have no idea if the wine was any good, but I do know that the dinner party was a success, because the host has now become one of my oldest friends.

Maybe great friendships always start with a beret. I just met a super-cool chick last week named Jean, who makes those floppy little hats, uses words like “craptastic,” and writes a fantastic crafty blog (and I’m not just saying that because she wrote about me.) Please check her out!

And please give a little love to my friends who don’t wear berets, like Lipstick & Dipstick, who wrote about my book, and writer and cupcake connoisseur Rachel Kramer Bussel, who interviewed me for her great piece on book trailers for the Huffington Post. Thanks, guys!

Announcing My 3-day Nationwide Book Tour

November 18th, 2009

I’m taking this act on the road, and I hope you’ll join me.

December 15, 2009: Brooklyn, NY

In How to Sew a Button, I describe how to make both a Manhattan and a martini. Please come to the Bellhouse between 6 and 8:30PM on December 15th, and have one (or both) and get your book signed, too! There will be hors d’oeuvres, books for sale and many tipsy toasts to our grandmothers (and each other). Hope to see you there!

December 16, 2009: Allentown, PA

I’ll be doing my first-ever book reading at 7PM at Borders in Whitehall. Please come watch me hyperventilate! You won’t be disappointed!

December 17, 2009: Erie, PA

I’ll be doing my second-ever book reading at 7PM at the Erie Bookstore. The fire will be roaring and the wine will be pouring.

Oh My Stars!

November 18th, 2009

Yesterday was so exciting and a little bit glitzy.

First of all, I got a hot-off-the presses copy of SELF magazine’s December issue, which includes a four page excerpt of How to Sew a Button. Four pages! It looks so great, and includes tips for how to build a fire, do a waltz, mix a martini and more. I especially love the illustrations by Keiko Morimoto.

So, pretty good morning, right? Well it just gets better.

I was paging through O magazine with Ellen Degeneres (love her!) on the cover, and what do I see on the bottom of p 66? A mention of my book! I keep reading and rereading it in Oprah’s bellowing voice: “If you only have 15 minuuuuuuuutes…”


And then Redbook, too! Redbook! They called me the “undomestic diva,” which is kind of perfect.


And lastly, just as my head was about to explode, I got my first honest-to-goodness book review. Reviews are a funny thing. All along, I was crossing my fingers (and toes and eyes), hoping to get one, and then when I found out I actually had one in BookPage, I was absolutely terrified to read it. Still, I bucked up and got through it and to my delight, it was really great!


So, that was my Tuesday. It’s now my new favorite day of the week. Of course, it’s a beautiful Wednesday in Brooklyn. Blue skies all the way. That’s pretty nice, too.

Well, hello there!

November 3rd, 2009

Thanks so much for visiting my fancy new blog!

If you’ve thumbed through the first couple of pages of my book, How to Sew a Button, then you know that until recently, I was pretty hopeless on the home front. Case in point: I actually once baked a strawberry-rhubarb pie, using strawberries and Swiss chard. (I mean, chard does look a little bit like rhubarb, right? Let me tell you, it sure doesn’t taste like it.)

Anyway, after baking that lousy pie, I had an epiphany: Not knowing how to do stuff for myself is not only disempowering, but also, especially in this crap economy, downright irresponsible. So, in writing my book, I set out to learn everything I needed to know to feel confident, simplify my life and save money.

And who better to turn to for that advice than our grandmothers, especially those who’ve survived The Great Depression? They certainly know how to make due with what they have. From interviewing them, I’ve learned important lessons about cooking, entertaining, saving, and loving—and I’m going to keep learning more stuff everyday. I hope you’ll join me, right here!

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