Friday, September 28, 2012

In addition to all the drawing (with markers) we've been doing. I recently brought out the watercolors for the first time. We made a huge mess, but R loved it. Though, she was more interested in the mixing of colors than actual painting. And, that murky water she's holding eventually found its way across the table.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My mom bought this adorable dress for R a while ago and she's just growing into it now. Before I add it to her fall wardrobe rotation, I am feeling compelled to add this pompom detail. Am I crazy?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My sister made this amazing sweater for her son when he was about R's age. It was handed down to us this Spring. Since pulling it out for the fall, R has asked to wear it every single day (you may notice it from posts past). In fact, it's the only way I can get her to come and get dressed. "R, come on over, it's time to get dressed". . . . no response. "You can wear your new sweater!" She comes running. I've asked my sister for the pattern so I can make the next size up in preparation for a growth spurt, but so far, she's not giving. Maybe there's some magic to it she's not quite willing to give up yet.
P.S. R's boy band hair is getting a little out of control these days. E keeps threatening a hair cut, I'm just hoping for the next phase.
P.P.S. yes, that's a balloon she's using for a chair. Do you think that's safe?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Aw jeez. Remember this old thing that I've been trying to finish since March?! Well, we just hit another snag. I decided, about 5 inches from finishing the second sleeve, that I really didn't like the way the seed stitch was looking and thought it a much better plan to just rip the thing out and start again in stockinette. It's the right thing to do. I swear.

Monday, September 24, 2012

R has gotten really into drawing - with markers. I usually have her table lined with one nice big sheet of construction paper, but she prefers small sheets. She gathers up all my old receipts & bits of scrap paper and hoards them at her table for a future masterpiece.

Friday, September 21, 2012

R is somehow, miraculously, really into green vegetables lately - broccoli, zucchini, peas. Whenever I have a salad in front of her, she begs for a bite of my lettuce! Needless to say, we've been cooking a lot of asparagus around here and I recently learned a great trick for getting rid of the tough, woody base. Instead of trimming off the ends with a knife, gently bend the stalks, with one hand at the base and the other at the tip, it will naturally break right at the point where it becomes tender, leaving the woody base behind. Brilliant, right? Not to mention really fun.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I don't know where the motivation came from, but I woke up yesterday morning ready to tackle some projects. I think mainly I've been itching to start some new things and I know that I am not allowed to add to the stash until I've taken some things away. I decided to go ahead and get quilting.
The very first craft project I worked on back when I was still temping at Martha Stewart was about quilt repair and care. For the story, we re-edged a quilt that had been hand-pieced by an editor's grandmother. It was a postage stamp quilt, originally pieced in the 1930's, and I fell in love. I decided that even though I had never done any patchwork, I would try to make my own. I collected dozens of fabric swatches & cut hundreds of squares, but when it came to actual sewing, I didn't get very far. The finished piece is about 30 inches square. This was 7 years ago. Three years later I took another go at it, accepted its small proportions and started quilting. I figured since I hand-pieced the squares I really should hand quilt too. I didn't get very far with that either. Today I gave up all ghosts, revved up the machine and went for it. I cannot believe that I can actually say the quilting is done. It is still waiting for its edging, which I'll hopefully get to some time in the next 7 years.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Another great project I worked on for Real Simple Family was these fire breathing dragons, made out of toilet paper tubes. The full instructions are here. Painting the eyes was the most fun. They each came out with their own distinct personality. We all agreed that the red guy is kind of a dope.

Friday, September 14, 2012

I worked on a few really fun freelance craft projects this summer that are just out now and I am so glad to finally be able to share them with you. The most fun were these pasta necklaces, made for the Real Simple special Family issue. I found a great technique for dying the pasta and had a blast mixing the colors and shapes. I think the necklaces turned out surprisingly sophisticated for being such a classic kiddie craft. In fact - almost all of them got snatched up after the shoot by the adults on set!


To make the colors, mix one tablespoon rubbing alcohol with about 15 drops of liquid food coloring, or one good squirt of gel in a resealable plastic bag or glass jar. Add the pasta and shake until coated. Let sit for about 3-10 minutes, shaking periodically to keep the color even. Remove pasta and place on a towel-lined cookie sheet. The pasta should dry in about 5 minutes and you're ready to string! I had about 10 different types of pasta and made loads of colors, so the mixing & matching for the finished necklaces was really fun. I loved experimenting with all the different shapes and seeing how they worked together. What combination would you make?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

R has become the keeper of my collection of plastic bead necklaces. She loves to wear them around the house - and never just one, it's got to be all at once. Until of course she's ready to take them all off.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

 When in Ireland, we spent an afternoon wandering the halls and grounds of Bantry House, a historic mansion overlooking Bantry Bay. It was all a little bit wild and over grown, inside and out, but gorgeous nonetheless. Lots of great patterns and colors inside. E and I were both particularly taken with a small collection of eggs on view in the parlor. I also loved the carpet on the second floor.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

 We are just back from a week and a half visiting E's family in Ireland. We spent a couple of nights in Dublin and then rented a small farmhouse in West Cork. As usual, I hardly took any pictures at all. Here are a couple of r stomping around - - please notice the sweaters, the wellies, and the tights. It was not warm, but it was actually a really nice relief from the sweltering NY heat. We bundled up and slept under the big duvet covers every night - we even considered turning on the heat but thought we should try to get through a summer holiday without it.
Back home now with a busy, busy week ahead.