Wednesday, May 31, 2006

all night long...

while my dear friend has a nice variety of songs going through her head this one seems to be on heavy rotation in mine...

Cute. Cute. As a button.
Don't you wanna make him. Stay up late.
And we're having fun. With no money.
Little smile. On his face.
Don't cha' love. The little baby.
Don't you want to make him. Stay up late.

from the Talking Heads - Stay Up Late

pj dance

just switch "him" to "her" and you have our house the last few nights. not sure what is going on. i do know what isn't - sleep. k wants to but doesn't seem to be able to. teeth? hot summer nights (already!)? not sure. but do know that it will pass... these phases always seem to. until then,i don't seem to be getting anything done. (and there is soooo much i am itching to get done!) ahhhhhhh... breathe.... let go...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


d and i took some time (for ourselves. without the kids!) for a lovely lunch and a trip to giant robot. (why hadn't i come here sooner? such fun - even for someone on a tight budget!)

the big bug


and i


tried our hands at the freezer-paper stencil craze. (e's bear is now a bean bag for hopscotch-ing, and my pig is destined to be a pocket.)

we made a trip to the post-office. (i decided on compromise and posted all the things that were complete. that meant leaving our kids' cd swap package for some time this week - sorry molly!!)

and i have written my 100th post. (this is it. never woulda thunk...)

hope all enjoyed their weekend as much as we did!

Friday, May 26, 2006


have a lovely long long weekend!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Corners of Our Home 16

come on in...


and please take off your shoes.

sometimes i think we are crazy trying to have a no-shoe policy in our house. it doesn't seem very common here in socal. growing up in the middle of canada every house i visited implemented this practice. can you imagine what floors would look like if winter boots (which we seemed to wear 9 months of the year!) were worn in the house? not a pretty sight... so while we don't insist that guests follow our lead - we do try and set an example. family policy - shoes off and into one's cubby when you enter the door.

i find it really cuts down on the amount of time i have to spend cleaning the floors. (which admittedly i don't do very often!) and it saves us from all the nasty things one tracks in on the bottom of our shoes. with the amount of time my kids spend playing on the floor, this is really important to me. (the girls' preschool even has a no shoe policy in their childcare center to protect those little crawlers.)

d built this bench. and gave each of us a cubby. we also keep seasonal items - like hats and scarves in them when we need to. it has proven extremely effective in cutting down on the shoe clutter that used to amass by our front door. (the one thing about this house that i am not crazy about is the lack of a "mudroom"...the cubbies help - alot)


more corners here.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

a note of thanks

to all who are awaiting swaps/gifts from me - for being so patient! i thought i'd save up everything so that i'd only have to make one drive to the post office (trying to save petrol you know!) but now i will have a car full! this is the week!!

to hayley. for sharing her fantastic music collection .

thanks hayley

to molly. for these beautiful buttons. what to do with them? i can't wait...


and for including some beautiful ribbon from her stash.

to shari. for a sample of her and t's brew. (we have been saving it for a night when no one has to rush anywhere - and tonight is the night!)


and for the lovely fabric, and tea too! and for wrapping it all in bubble wrap! (upon opening the box the little bug whipped off her socks and started to dance!)

to sam. for being such a good friend. for joining me on sunday for a thrifting escapade. and for finding this and letting me take it home!


to my big bug. for not letting me go to work with a plain old travel cup. for insisting it needed some "fancy-ing up".


and to stephanie. for putting me on her "visiting" list. wow! traffic has picked up! i am flattered. i agree on the cute kids, and even the cool house. but feel i need to work on the crafting end of it all!

to all those who participated in the music swap. there seem to be happy feet dancing all over the place! (and if you haven't sent yours out yet - i am right there with you!! where does the time go? as moms we all know too well...)

and to all those who come by. for the words of support and encouragement. and for all those i visit. for opening up their lives, their trials and tribulations, their joy and celebrations. i am touched and honored to be a little part of such an amazing, creative community. and i thank you.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Have You Hugged A Turtle Today?

A little known fact - and not on any calendars in our house - but today is World Turtle Day. (This whole Giselle thing feels a little like kismet to me...)


In honor of this day, and in honor of our new family member, here are a few things to consider:

(from the Wildlife Conservation Society)

Speak out for sea turtles Urge Congress to increase support for the Multinational Species Conservation Fund, a federal program that provides funding to help protect imperiled species such as sea turtles. These funds have supported efforts to monitor wildlife populations, train local conservationists, and enforce laws to protect wildlife habitat. Act now!

Choose ocean-friendly seafood Bycatch, the incidental catch of non-targeted marine life in commercial fishing gear, is a huge threat to species like sharks and sea turtles. According to the Pew Oceans Commission, 60 billion pounds of marine life is discarded every year as bycatch. By choosing sustainably harvested fish from the WCS Go Fish Seafood Wallet card, we can help make healthy choices for the ocean.

Stop the skin trade Only a reptile needs a reptile skin. But handbags, shoes, boots, and other accessories made from reptile skins continue to be en vogue, contributing to the loss of tens of millions of wild animals each year, including snakes, lizards, sea turtles, and crocodilians. Visit to learn what you can do to stop this devastating trade.

Choose your pets responsibly Many species of turtles are exploited for the pet trade, which includes black markets for protected and endangered species. The capture of turtles in their natural habitats disrupts their lifestyle and can have serious environmental consequences. If you must have a turtle or other reptile as a pet, please consider adopting one from a local shelter or rescue group.

We feel really lucky to have found Giselle. But do know that she is a huge commitment. We have learned that around 43% of the world's turtles are endangered due to changes in their habitat and illegal trade. That the dumping of red-eared sliders, like Giselle, along the West Coast, has played a part in the dwindling population of native Pacific Pond turtles. And it is estimated that 15,000 (!) are dumped in the Sepulveda River Basin (near our home, and where Giselle was found) yearly! But in the Mississippi river system, where the sliders originated, they are in decline. In the U.S. it is illegal to purchase a turtle that is less than 4" long. But the hatchlings are still regularly sold. These little turtles have an almost 100% mortality rate.

Giselle has obviously been around for a while. She is almost 12 inches long and is estimated to be around 35 years old (my peer!). (She could live up to another 15 years or so.) We have been told that keeping her in a tank would be cruel, so for now she has taken over a fenced corner of our yard and is enjoying her own kiddie swimming pool (to the envy of the bugs) with a ramp so that she may enter and exit on her own while we begin construction on a "turtle sanctuary" in our breezeway. We let her have free reign over the rest of our yard when we are around to keep an eye on her and she loves to roam. She is beautiful to watch. Seems to be comfortable around us. And we look forward to making the next years of her life as stressfree and enjoyable as possible.


Monday, May 22, 2006

moment found

so giselle is ours. more on that tomorrow.

but have to tell that she has inspired us. and helped us on our quest to slow down. we are so into watching her walk slowly around our (turtle-proofed) yard. to see how she stops and stretches her neck to listen to the birds. or watch a moth take off from the long grass growing along the fence.(we seem to have so many more birds and bugs this summer - good bugs too - "rollie polies", praying mantids, ladybugs...) and how she finds a cool and dark spot in that tall grass and has a nap.

so saturday, as soon as the girls woke up to the moist morning, they were out to watch giselle. boots and pjs on.


in the afternoon. with the arrival of the sun and heat, we set-up under an umbrella in the backyard and simply watched her. the girls painted, drew, and snacked while i tore through old issues of Canadian House and Home (a throw-back to my "heritage"!). it was lovely.

this was our "easy-breezy" saturday molly.thanks so much for talking about this too! (and for these. i love them so and can't wait to do something with them! or should i say i can wait? - and look forward to doing something with them nice and slow!...)

Friday, May 19, 2006

"friday light"

just a quick post to wish all a lovely (read slow) weekend!

we don't have too much on our plates. we did come home yesterday with a large trachemys scripta elegans in need of a home (found on the field adjoining the girls' preschool) so will be contacting turtle rescue for her and taking in the local turtle and tortoise show as well. since we are still thinking of adopting a tortoise. (hmmm... are we "that family" that you can always hand a stray to? i guess so... not so bad really! the big bug has named her Giselle! doesn't she go mad? anyway...)

and i plan on attempting some serious thrifting with this good friend - sans kiddies! whoo hoo!

and i must make a trip to the post office!

and i'd like to do some sewing, and try my hand at those freezer paper stencils. but we will see...


(is "friday light" an L.A. term? or is it used in reference to traffic in other places?? i'd never heard it before i moved here. but then again, i never drove a car much before i moved here!)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Corners of Our Home 15

back to the bugs' room

and this pillow that resides on the big bug's bed.


she puts it there, carefully, each morning as she makes her bed. and then makes sure that jack the cat has his rightful place on top of it. (my girls are certainly not afraid of mixing patterns!)


both were (beautifully) made, with love, by a very dear friend. (without whom i would never have figured this blogging thing out. and without whom L.A. would be a very lonely place.)

jack is especially useful when one needs a hug.


more corners here.

I have spotted a few very cute packages going out for the Kids' CD Swap. So had to set up a flickr group. Check it out - and for those who are participating - you are invited to join up!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

these days are so fast

The comments left on my last post really got me thinking.

Then, this morning, after hustling the girls out the door so that I wouldn't be too late getting to work the big bug said "These days are so fast mama. I like the slow days best." What could I do but agree?

Now, as a child, I remember that feeling that the days would never end. That summer was too long and that I couldn't wait to get back to school. Nothing seemed to happen quickly enough for me. I didn't like it. But wish so much it was that way now.

Molly wrote: "I just feel rushed in life right now, like there's not enough time in the day, on the calendar, with my children, with my do we slow down the pace of life and not feel like we are rushing through just trying to survive to the next 'break'? I want my whole life to feel calm and peaceful and unrushed. I always feel like I'm behind or running late...." And Molly has a barn! A barn!! And here I was thinking it was life in the big city that was the root of my troubles...

It must also be related to this world we live in. Everything changing so quickly - technology, fashion, medicine...

And, I suspect it is a condition of motherhood. Not necessarily of that "Supermom" syndrome all the news magazines have headlined. (I hardly consider myself a "supermom". I don't work full-time. The girls aren't loaded up with extra activities - only one dance class between the two of them. I try to keep our weekends open and let our activities be guided by our moods. Our house is hardly spotless! But I do have a hard time saying "no". I am getting better. Practicing with the little bug helps!) I think it is more basic than that. A primal need to care. A need to keep some control over things. To have things done a certain way. To ensure that there is some kind of routine. Am I wrong? I like to be involved. To have a say in what is going on around me. But I think I need to "let go" a bit.

I told D I need to get a tattoo a la Lisa. And learn to live by it. To "Let Go". Really "Let Go". When she wrote this post eight months ago it so resonated with me. And I vowed to follow her lead and to try and "allow life to be as it is". I guess I am looking for balance. And with that the hope that things will slow down. And that more of those best slow days will come my way.

Monday, May 15, 2006

s t r e t c h (e d)


Feeling overtired. The weekend was full. Maybe a little too. The little bug and I are paying for it today.

We did have a lovely Saturday evening with a dear dear friend who is moving back to Ohio tomorrow. She came here two years ago for a job opportunity at LACMA. And now love, and I think quality of life, are taking her back. It has been such a treat having her nearby. Though we still didn't get to spend enough time together. Is L.A. just too big? (We are about a 45 minute drive away from each other.) Does one put off seeing friends that are close by, taking it for granted, not thinking that this may not always be the case? Does life just hurry by too fast? I think here I am guilty of using all these excuses.

But I do love you Jennie! And I will so miss you!

We met over 10 years ago at grad school. And it is such a blessing to feel that she will always be there, in my life, no matter how far apart we may be.

How long of a drive is it to Oberlin anyway?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I know it reads "MOM", but when I look down at it hanging around my neck, I see "WOW"

Happy Mothers' Day!

Friday, May 12, 2006

“For all those who want to dress their children practically and cheaply, yet with individuality…”

I [heart] Gillian Lockwood.

I realize after my apron post, I should have tempered it by saying that I love the Shimmy, Shake & Bake apron, and if what I was working on had looked anything like the picture in the book I would have been thrilled.

And that many times I absolutely require a pattern. Either for the entire production – or as an essential jumping off point.

So when I found this little book by Lockwood second-hand, I was thrilled. It is chock-full of great patterns for kids’ clothing.

clothes for young children - front

The outfits, the kids, and the photo-styling, are adorable.

clothes for young children.2

The patterns and the instructions clear and concise. (There is even a section on hand-smocking that make it sound not too bad. Maybe, if I get really ambitious!)

clothes for young children.4

I have used her pattern books before. This little piggy being based on one in her Making Soft Toys that I found at our library and have since picked up used. (Her books seem to be very easy to get a hold of.)

And the text on the back of the book. Priceless.

clothes for young children - back

I hope you have a lovely weekend. And to all the mamas out there an extra special day on Sunday. Happy Mothers’ Day.

Don't forget to mail your Kids' CD Swap this weekend if you can!!

And, if you are in So Cal and looking for a Mothers’ Day treat, head over to Felt Club at Meltdown Comics Saturday. Being billed as a “mini craft fair”, Lizette and many other talents will be selling their wares. Check it out if you can!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Corners of Our Home 14

I was recently asked - in response to my statement regarding the ample supply of linen we have around the house - whether or not my husband is an artist. He is. His work graces almost every wall in our home. I love it. (I am probably his biggest fan - or at least in a tie with his mom!) Through my work I know too well that the "art world" isn't an easy place. Too much these days depends on persona and personality and too little on talent. D has not ventured into that big bad world. Not for lack of desire. Or talent. But, I think, to time and obligations. To its loss.

You have seen glimpses of his work in other corners - but here are some better views.


I know that it has been the subject of much concern for him that he hasn't had the opportunity to pick up a paint brush (not the kind you paint walls or fences or... with!) since our first daughter was born. We moved into our home right before her arrival almost 5 years ago and every spare moment has pretty much had him working on the house.


I try and tell him that the house will be his masterpiece. His greatest work - a testament to his enormous talent. And I am serious. I know that it doesn't bring him the same satisfaction that paint on canvas does. But I think that is because, right now, he is caught up in the deadlines, in the mundane bits and pieces that have to be addressed in order to move on with it all. (Baseboards, window mouldings... Melissa , Stephanie and I have commiserated. And joked that we could start a flickr group of pictures taken in homes without baseboards!)


And I bug him (too much) that we have to keep on track. That he has to keep busy with it. I know at times I seem frustrated that things are not moving more quickly. (Yes, ahem, I can be a little, ahem, impatient...) But I do understand. And I do marvel at his abilities (woodworking, electrical, plumbing, tile work, landscaping, pool maintenance...) And I do want to see him enjoying making art again. Soon. Now. Let's try and make it so...

Our home is a masterpiece, honey. Our Home. And (soon?) it will be behind us and you will be able to sit back and say - "Look at this. I did this. This is mine."

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

letting go of apron strings


this one has been such a long and drawn out project. it feels so good to have it finished. it began last fall as a christmas present for (sorry to spoil the surprise c - but you know how i am with surprises!) someone very special. i was inspired by all the buzz around Denyse Schmidt's book, picked it up, and decided i would make the Shimmy, Shake & Bake Apron. gathered up some fabric, cut my strips, sewed them together. then it sat. and sat. and sat.

i was unhappy with the block. it just didn't grab me. i didn't realize that then but i do now. it was also (a lot) smaller than i think it was supposed to be and seemed too decorative rather than a practical apron pocket.

so last night i cut up strips from this sheet (again) and decided to piece them together. while cutting i noticed the sheet had a marking of a maple leaf and the words TEX MADE (hmmm, could it be canadian like us c?)- which i liked so decided to incorporate.

tex made

i love working this way. without a pattern. making it up as i go along. (although the method also causes many many failed attempts!) i think i work best this way. i had forgotten this. felt insecure about taking things in my own hands. during my bfa thesis year i made quilts instead of painting as i was supposed to - and received a lot of flack for it. i painted and silkscreened on them but that didn't seem to appease the powers at hand. (ahh art school. reminds me i can't wait to see this...)

anyway, the apron is finished. i promise i will (try to!) mail it this week!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

elliot smith tribute

have i mentioned that our girls are two of eleven granddaughters to my mother-in-law? we are blessed with having eight nieces all within a few minutes of us. they range in ages from our little bug (being the youngest at almost 2) all the way up to 21. they are roughly divided into two camps. the six 2 - 6 year olds. and the five 14 - 21 year olds. getting together is always a blast.

falling into the older set is one of the nieces that isn't (unfortunately for us) close enough to see regularly. she is an amazing girl. (can i call you a girl??) and sent me a link today to this elliot smith tribute where you can hear her performing i figured you out.

must say her uncle was extra proud!

love you morgan!!

Monday, May 08, 2006


lying in the little bug's bed reading stories with the windows wide open and the breeze coming in. quack. splash. a duck lands in the pool.

quietly we sneak outside for a closer look. cushions pulled up along the pool fence. duck swims and swims.

quack. another duck is seen circling the neighborhood. quack quack our pool duck calls in reply. their conversation continues. the quacks get closer together. louder. until another quack. splash. another duck in our pool.

the ducks swim and swim.

the girls are in complete awe.

the ducks exit the pool. shake off their feathers and fly away.

tears and sadness. duuuuck. quaaaack.


Friday, May 05, 2006

b l u e s k y


Happy Cinco de Mayo.

Looks to be a lovely weekend. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Corners of Our Home 13

at the big bug's bedside.


we are finally back to a point. where the clock can return to a spot. where the little bug can reach it...

and yes - she did draw all over her wall. and i haven't washed it off yet. (d loves its gestural quality...)

more corners here.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

this little piggy

had been sitting around for a while. and i finally got around to finishing him up.

it is based on a pattern in a book the title of which escapes me - found at our public library. it used up some of an old sheet i was given and a seemingly endless supply of linen we have kicking around. and it has been named petunia.


more pics here and here.

thanks for all the comments yesterday. sometimes i feel like i am the only one. now i don't. it is greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

when is "good" enough?

now today i had every intention of posting a self-portrait. i like the may theme. to introduce myself - to show something you may not normally see of me here in this forum. instead i am posting the rant i mentioned yesterday. it shows a part of me you may not have seen. a part that in person i do not so easily share. but that here i feel more comfortable. where my words can be chosen more carefully. deleted. then chosen again. i respect that everyone has their own take on this topic. that everyone wants the best for their kids. and that there are a lot of different "bests". this is just where we are now.

big bug will be off to kindergarten in the fall. i have written about this before. it is cause for many sleepless nights for me. not that i worry about her going off into the big world. she is ready for that. she wants to go out there. and i feel that we have given her the best foundation for that.

my most recent anxieties - the cause of my sleeplessness. the concern i have over whether or not the school we have chosen to attend in the fall is a "good" school. everyone keeps asking me this. even our pediatrician. and i don't know how to answer it. of course it is a good school. would anyone intentionally send their child to a bad school? to a mediocre school? i hope not. yet when you look at the test scores for this school, it ranks below others nearby. (though well above the national average.) it does not have a state of the art computer lab. or a dedicated art teacher. the yard hasn't been transformed into a gorgeous garden. california remains in the bottom 10% for per student funding in public schools in the U.S. many things that should be provided to schools aren't there. there isn't a strong pta or booster club at this school to offset what is lacking.

i don't believe in test scores. i question the value of my children spending time on a computer while at school. art is (very) important to me. and a big part of our lives. she, and her sister, will get an art education. at home if not at school. i think environment is very important as well, but also think that is something we can work on. i believe that parental involvement is - now more than ever - vital for the success of a school. and i am not alone. i believe (naively?) that this is also something we can work on.

the school is in our neighborhood. right down the street. we can walk there together. we can walk home. together. the staff there is lovely. dedicated. caring. wanting the best for all the children. our neighbor and friend is in the process of designing a new mural for the school. we have a lot of support from our neighbors - parents of prospective kindergarteners. together we dream of a garden. of more murals. of reading and painting and being. part of the school. the school is part of our community. i think there is a lot to be said for that - isn't there? to be invested in one's community. to be part of our immediate reality.

yes. i am sending my daughter to a "good" school. though it may not stack up to some of the more prestigious schools in the same way. i would say it is more than "good". it will provide more for our girls. it will teach them the importance of being part of your community. of understanding and accepting - better yet celebrating - differences. of being yourself in this great big world. and having your place to be proud of. it will show them that together we can make improvements. and that our involvement in the school, as a family, is a powerful thing.

god i hope i am right...

Monday, May 01, 2006

charlie and lola and lauren and us

over the weekend i penned a post going on and on about my feelings about public education (big time believer in the concept). i planned on posting it today. but rereading it i think i'll wait. i don't want to start off my week with a rant. i'll save it for another day.

so instead. here is a quick look at our adventure to the Festival of Books.

the big bug had been wanting to go ever since she saw the j. otto seibold designed program listing in the paper a few weeks ago. when i read out to her the list of authors that would be at the target children's stage her jaw dropped when the names "Charlie and Lola" and "Angelina Ballerina" and "Max & Ruby" were all mentioned. we carefully studied the schedule and decided that saturday morning we would leave early to make it to both Lauren Child and Katherine Holabird. (2 out of 3 wasn't bad.)

we arrived early, but not early enough. (hi-5 - who we weren't familiar with was first on and obviously very popular.) we did find a nice spot up on a little hill where we had an ok view. the Charlie & Lola puppet show would have been better up close - but it was still lovely to watch. the flat puppets flew around the stage and took us (once again!) through the trials of Charlie getting Lola to eat her dinner.

Where's Lola?

then the big bug decided she wanted Lauren Child to sign her Princess and the Pea book. so we waited in line. and waited in line. (the girls were soooo patient.) Angelina and Katherine Holabird took the stage and we could see them from the line so all wasn't lost. then the big moment. the big bug tucked her chin to her chest and handed over her book. when asked by Child if she liked dollhouses she quickly nodded. and we moved on. that was it. but it all seemed to have a big impression on my big girl. to make that connection that this lovely woman's job is to write and illustrate fantastic books. she spent the afternoon drawing at her craft table and out on our back patio. (stories about two sisters who have a pet store.)


just a bit of trivia from the post-puppetshow interview - Lauren Child is inspired by Roald Dahl and her favorite book as a kid was The Shrinking of Treehorn. she was a picky eater as a youngster. and still won't eat yoghurt or raisins. but does eat tomatoes. (and wears great shoes!)

Any favorite books from your childhood you'd like to share?