Sunday, July 29, 2007


Usually when I sit down to write, I have something in mind to write about. Not today. Nothing big is going on.

Actually that is not true. J is building a fence as I type – that's big. The idea of our backyard as a habitable place is huge. I'll have pictures soon.

Until then, it's just the little things. Pleasures found, not planned. Like putting the borrowed child seat on the back of my new bike, strapping Iris in, and setting off on our maiden voyage to the sprinkler park. Like stopping by the thrift after a meeting on Friday and finding that someone had dropped off a raft of Mini Boden, size 3-4 years. Like they knew we were coming! I also found a vintage Pyrex mixing bowl, avocado green. You can never have too many of those.

Actually, since we've been working in the backyard, we have been spending time there as a family even though it is still pretty wild and woolly. It's not a very big backyard, but it's terra incognita for Iris, who often explores it in a pink dress, Chuck Taylor high-tops, and tiara. Today we found cicada carapaces on one of the fenceposts. Here are some other treasures that have turned up as we've been digging and turning over the dirt:

There was also a little rubber Charlie Brown figurine. Whatever happened to him? And a fork I finally threw out because decades of dirt had somehow melded to the metal and it would not come clean. And countless old coins. I love this kind of urban archaeology. Someday I'll do a whole post on things that were left behind in our house when we bought it. (That will be a long one....)

Not today. J and Iris are shucking corn on the porch, and I'm going to help.

Monday, July 23, 2007

in a nutshell

This was Boulder.

this was boulder

(created with fd's flickr toys)


is the Japanese paper I bought in Boulder which will be perfect for a companion project to the dresser in Iris' big-girl-room-to-be. The store was so amazing, it made me want to move there just to be close to it. Then I came back to Pennsylvania and filled my lungs with muggy, humid air and felt like I'd come home (which, in fact, I had). Because, for me, it turns out it's not the heat, it's the aridity.

And this


summer. So if posting continues to be a little slow and sporadic around here, you'll know what I'm up to.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

tomato pie in the sky

Thanks for all the dresser love. Jen even tipped off craft:zine and it was fun to see it pop up on their blog. I really appreciate the blue tape tips (and Amy H., as for purple tape, Iris came home from preschool today with purple-taped artwork, so I can vouch for its use as a kids' craft material) and ideas for drawer pulls. Yes, I am going to add some eventually....

Now, my girl and I are off to Boulder, CO to visit my sisters-in-law. My official duties consist of helping them pick paint colors for their new house (I hear there is a mauve problem that needs to be eradicated), but I am also looking forward to sharing Iris with her adoring aunties and finding out how a mojito tastes at high altitude. A certified-organic, free-range, collectively-farmed, solar-powered mojito, of course. This is Boulder we're talking about.

I'll be back next week. Toodles!

P.S. I like the name of the place in the photograph, Tomato Pie Café, because it reminds me of a story: the first time my mother ever heard of pizza, it was from her grandmother, who reported eating a new food on the boardwalk in Wildwood, NJ called "tomato pie." My mother thought it sounded awful. It kind of does, doesn't it?

Monday, July 09, 2007


I have to admit, it looks good in the picture. As I'd hoped. But if you detected a note of false triumph in the title of this post, it's because the blue tape let me down. I know! When I peeled it off, I found that primer had seeped under the edges, blurring the entire design. Gaah! J says it probably happened because the wood was too porous and I shouldn't retract my blue-tape-is-the-bomb post without sufficient evidence. Anyway, several tedious hours with a razor scraper (and several blades) later, I'm calling it done. Embracing, again, wabi, the beauty of imperfection. Reminding myself that it is destined for a child's room, after all, not a gallery.

Where did I get the inspiration? (Kirsten wants to know.) Well, unlike most of my craft projects, which are adapted, if not outright copied, from others, this one came all from my own head. The dresser was rescued from the trash, so it wasn't in very good condition.

Here's a picture I took of the top of the dresser when I was working on it because I couldn't bear to obliterate that decal without any documentation. If there had been more of it, I'd have tried to preserve it in some way.

Anyway, after scraping a layer of ancient, alligatored varnish from the whole thing, I discovered a veneer of beautiful wood on the drawers, but it was too dinged up to look good unfinished. I came up with the idea of the tree to let a little of the wood veneer show through a coat of paint.

See, it's really all right in the end. Even close up. That fabric on top will be the curtains for the room. I also painted a little bookcase headboard the same shade of pale green. It's not much to see right now, but I promise I'll include it on the virtual tour when, eventually, Iris' big-girl room is done.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

for this we kept the child up way past her bedtime

And it was worth it. Rather than watching paint dry, I thought I'd show you some pictures of a cool public art project that is going on right now downtown. Buildings have images of art glass projected onto them in light.

The Tiffany hotel is hands-down my favorite.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Not feeling it. Taping it. I want to personally hold an awards banquet for whoever invented blue painters' tape. Maybe he or she can help me commit to some paint colors, and then I might even be able to finish this excruciatingly prolonged project this weekend. But who will I be without this dresser hanging over my head? (A person less at risk of metaphorical cranial injury, perhaps?) How will I know myself?