Saturday, January 31, 2009

Busy busy bees today

R is building a sandbox:

I organized things that no normal person should ever organize:
Now, time to make a warm cup of something or other & read a bit in my book (it is a Saturday, after all).

Fearless Flying

Browsing the bookshelves in R's parent's house, I stumbled across a book co-written by R's Uncle Fred. It's a guide to help people with airplane-o-phobia. I enjoyed looking at all the early '80s photographs of airports, airplanes & stewardesses and was surprised to find myself sucked in by the remarkably lively language. At the very end of the book, the authors conclude with this sentence:

"We leave you with the hope that [this will help] you achieve an orderly, meaningful & optimistic life."

That's it, isn't it?

(Photo of me & my Dad, neither of whom are afraid of flying)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Spending Freeze: Week Two

Week Two of the Spending Freeze is over. I did not buy any souvenirs on my trip to Pennsylvania.

Most notably, I did not buy a certain Underwood portable typewriter, though I did fall deeply, madly, blindingly in love with it.

See? I even wrote it a love letter:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Pattern Language

Varnum's Quarters in Valley Forge is a beautiful house.

It is restored to what it might have looked like in George Washingon's time, but breathed such a timelessness that it reminded me of the patterns in Alexander, Ishikawa, & Silverstein's A Pattern Language.

Pattern #207: Good materials

Pattern #252: Pools of Light

Pattern #211: Thickening the Outer Walls

Pattern #159: Light on Two Sides of Every Room

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Spending Freeze: Week One

Ah, the end of Week One of the Spending Freeze. All in all, it went well. Of course, I had to get groceries & the usual bits & ends, but as we are heading out of town soon to visit R's parents in snow-dusted Pennsylvania, our needs this week were a little unusual.

Baby M needs new shoes in a bigger size, so I picked up a pair of (new) warm boots boots for our upcoming sledding adventures & walks in the woods. I also got her a warm pullover, navy corduroy pants & a warm (& austerely stylin') tunic dress that will be nice to layer over long pants. All of these last things I was able to find used at a nearby consignment store. I did not get her this dress. Or this sweater. Or this suitcase.

One thing I am proud of is that we have been eating very well. No eating out and no unnecessary convenience foods. We made every single meal at home and from scratch... except... On Sunday, I picked up my camera, a good book & headed out into the springlike weather for a good old fashioned ramble. I walked (Alone! And without pushing a stroller!) over to Enoteca, took a seat at the bar & then got busy taking my sweet time enjoying a little reading, a mocha & a blood orange tart. That was the only purchase. I also checked out the goods here and here & this incredible looking new hotel, but didn't buy anything, or book myself into a $450! poolside bungalow. (Wha??)

I did come home with a haunting memory of that out of the world tart, a bounce in my steps, and a few photos.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Studio dreams

my office
Originally uploaded by Castanet

One of my big goals this year is to carve out a little workspace/studio space that is just for me. Ultimately, I dream of this being a little space on its own with lots of windows & wonderful light, storage to keep my materials tidy & in one location, and to have a board to pin up ideas & inspirations.

With lighting like this, possibly?All images are out of my league and from YLighting

Until that day happens, I think if we move our bed & nightstands to the other wall, enough space will be opened up in the far corner to attach a small shelf to the wall for my sewing machine. I can use the bed to lay out my cutting board & fabrics. Also the light is wonderful in that room, which is an added plus. But really, all I really want is a permanent place for the sewing machine (currently kept on the top shelf of Baby M's bookcase) and a quiet place to work.

Feist sings 1-2-3-4 on Sesame Street

She is the cutest cutie:

Friday, January 16, 2009

Spending freeze

I am testing the limits of my willpower. Today, I did not buy a non-essential, yet undoubtedly delicious, burger & fry combo from P.Terrys. Feeling strong, feeling proud.

Photo of P.Terry's food by Pottywu

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Man, these guys are cool

I heart Buck Owens:

I also heart Roger Miller (on the Muppet Show, check it!):

OK, I already cracked...

OK. I cracked. Three days into my shopping freeze & I already made my first non-essential purchase. But! But! It's very special & I've been looking for a copy available for sale in the US for literally years. Not only did I find what I was looking for, but it's an original vintage copy. So, hmmm, vintage is used, is it not? Looks like I just squeezed it through one of my loopholes. Three cheers for loopholes!

Pluk van de Petteflet by Annie M.G. Schmidt & illustrated by Fiep Westendorp

I neither read nor speak Dutch, but I can sorta understand the international language of gorgeousness. Isn't Fiep Westendorp the most exquisite illustrator?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Der Struwwelpeter

Baby M is obsessed with this book and it's kinda making me worry. I know it's a classic, but dang. I don't know if it's a good idea for her to be looking at this. Every story ends with some naughty kid getting punished in some bizarre moralistic way. Death by fire anyone? Or drowning? Or how about that tailor who snips off the fingers of the bad children who won't let their parents trim their fingernails? I'm sure they had it coming.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Spending fast, not quickly

Joslyn of Simple Lovely issued a challenge: no new purchases for three months. I'm in.

Here are my ground rules:
- groceries, toiletries & house stuff (home improvement, gardening, etc.) are okay
- purchasing used things is okay
- gifts for others & items for my quickly growing daughter are okay, if done mindfully
- things purchased on trips are okay, if done mindfully (I am going to NYC in February (yay!) and it would be cruel, cruel, cruel to not allow myself to pick up a lovely thing or two from Muji or Purl Soho)

(Pretty forgiving, eh? Well, I'm hoping this will be part of a lifestyle shift, not just a crash diet.)

My reasons are five-fold. It is not, as my husband joked, to drive the knife deeper into our faltering economy, but to be more aware of the difference between want & need, to go on a consumption diet after the holiday gluttony, to make more & buy less, to keep a little more money in our pockets for a rainy day, and to bring less stuff into our teensy house.

The last reason is a clincher. We have a very small house & yet appreciate openness, light & airiness in a home, so the less we have, the better. We also must approach furnishing & decorating our home as an editor or curator must. Ideally, our house should have very few things visible and all of them must be things we love. The idea of my husband & I as curators is very appealing to me right now, especially after reading this article, which describes how some struggling museums have revitalized themselves in the weakening economy by looking into their vaults & reorganizing what they already have. It's such a basic concept & one that I hope to keep in mind as the years go by.

A scarf from my closet to change up a winter outfit. A dear old packed-away polka dot table cloth pulled out to freshen up the dining room. Things like these will be my secret weapon in staving off want.

Who else is in?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Life of Pianos

via lark-about

Ring Around the Rosy

This morning, Baby M kept looking at me & saying Asheh Asheh. It took me a minute to realise that she was asking to play Ring Around the Rosy, a game we had only played twice before and several weeks ago, at that. So, I took her hands, sang the song & walked in a circle with her & she sat down at the Asheh Asheh part. Of course, we had to do this over & over again.

It is so amazing to me how much she remembers & takes in. It gets me every time.

Illustration from Kate Greenaway's Mother Goose

Friday, January 9, 2009

A walk in the park

This morning, M & I went to Central Market on 35th Street to pick up what turned out to be many, many bags of groceries. Before I buckled her into the cart, though, we took a turn through the little park behind the store. M walked up & down the steep embankments to the wet pond, we greeted a few dogs & little old ladies, then stood on an arched bridge & fed the ducks (so many different kinds here this winter!)

It's a tiny urban park, but you'd never guess it from these photos.

Grackles & ducks:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Baby locks no more

Yesterday, I took M to get her first haircut. It was a bit sad to see those sweet, soft locks fall to the ground, but really, that mullet had to go. She has the cutest little bob now, very classic baby girl style. Here she is waiting to get her hair cut:
The shop has little cars for the kids to sit in while they get their hair done.
They have little video screens too. M watched her first ever Elmo show & got very, VERY excited... and then very, VERY agitated when Snuffleupagus appeared. Can you blame her? Creepy!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

More fun with pins

White paper doilies with orange thumbtacks: brilliant.

From citipix via Fieldguided

Newness Ends

(image of Austin's First Night Parade by the talented Gretchen O'Neil)

New Year's Resolutions:
1. Get a designated sewing area set up & my Pins & Needles business started.
2. Make more, buy less
3. Bring more of 'me' back into my life.
4. More rock, less talk.