Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Stumptown with kiddos

We were in Portland for the weekend. Last week before we left I had planned to do some super fun write up about all the hip, eco friendly, design we would experience in the city. You've probably seen blog posts like I was envisioning: gorgeous photos of interesting food, cool yards about to burst into spring, bicycles, tattoos, cute dresses, stationary shops, murals and endless coffee.And although we ate some great Barbeque at Russell Street and had a fabulous time at the Kennedy School soaking pool, I didn't photograph any of it. I just enjoyed being with my family. We were on an economical  visit with two three year olds in our crew, so mostly we stayed at our friends' home.
But as you can see, I was inspired by our experience in the city.  
These kids played tough all weekend, usually in some combination of pajamas and batman t shirts.Luckily our hosts had two of these shirts each with a detachable cape.
Back at home today, Franklin had to hang out in the studio with me. We pulled out his own thrift store t shirt and my new snap setter.
I used snaps instead of velcro simply because I want to try my new snaps. But also, when the kids played rough, the velcro capes would come off too easily. And the texture of the velcro tab on the shirt irritated Franklin when he was cape-less. He hasn't played around in the shirt yet, so I don't know if it was a better choice or just a different choice.
I love the way the symbol looks in reverse applique. Practicing this technique I use as moth and squirrel keeps the project interesting for me. I also love that this technique allowed me to use all cotton (just tshirt scraps) for the cape. I hate the texture of most kids' costumes and was glad to make something comfy and breathable not slippery polyester.
I left all the edges unfinished on the cape. They will roll with time but keep it a super quick project.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


blind contour drawings are still my favorite. as is a husband who knows I prefer daffodils to roses any day in february.
Hoping you have flashes of yellow poking through the grey and a minute or two to study the details of beauty all around you, because really that's where the beauty usually hides.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Bellingham Farmer's MArket This Saturday 10am-3pm

It's President's Day weekend and we are doing our ONCE A MONTH WINTER MARKET! I'll have some random presidential trivia for you that vaguely relates to my products and one abraham lincoln doll for sale.

Monday, February 11, 2013

This Stanley thermos makes me so happy. It is sturdy and utilitarian and bubblegum pink all at the same time. For this particular lunch it carried an "even more delicious three days later" bean and bacon soup that Matthew Clauer originally made for the Old Town Cafe. Nothing beats opening a steaming canister of something made with love on a cold afternoon. Definitely worth the investment in a well made product that inspires me to take a lunch from home, especially when it happens to be free soup.

Friday, February 08, 2013

President's Day gift guide

Yes, we are days away from Valentine's Day, but why not distinguish yourself by celebrating something a little different this year... Anyone can buy a box of chocolates, only a nerd would think of serving hoecakes* in bed wearing a stovepipe hat...Make President's Day one to remember with this inaugural moth and squirrel gift guide.

*Years ago I started making hoecakes on presidents day after reading a well researched and ridiculously detailed  article in Martha Stewart Living. I still have the smudged pages in my cookbook to reference how much cornmeal to stir in to these hearty pancakes that Lincoln could eat "twice as fast as anyone could cook 'em."

one of a kind Abe Lincoln doll from moth and squirrel. Available online! This doll is my ode not only to the president but to the tradition of depicting Lincoln in folk art.
Heirloom seeds like Jefferson planted at Monticello. Perfect for a gardeners interested in living (and eating) history.

Maira Kalman books, Looking at Lincoln and In pursuit of happiness. I would recommend any of her books for children or adults since she is my favorite artist, but these two are especially appropriate for celebrating American history with color and style.

      Something inspired by Presidential pets. Through the years there have been some truly wild animals at the white house (like when dignitaries gave tiger cubs or baby hippopotamuses upon visiting.) Lately its been dogs and cats making their home in our capital, but why not remind your loved ones about the sheep kept on the white house lawn by Woodrow Wilson with a lovely sheep pin?
      Don't forget to stop by the Bellingham Farmers Market February 16 for your President's Day gifts. Be sure to pick up a dozen farm fresh eggs while you are there so you can entertain like the Roosevelts. (Eleanor was famous for scrambling a mess of eggs for dinner right at the table in a chaffing dish while Franklin was fond of serving martinis...)

      Monday, February 04, 2013

      A toast to cardboard toys

      Welcome to a new series on toys made from junk. Not the fancy stuff I make to sell, the stuff we can all make from something in the recycle bin. There are some very impressive upcycled kids toy makeovers on design blogs and Pinterest, but in some ways those are more for the parents sense of style and accomplishment. Just tiny versions of our obsession with Personality Expressed through Home Improvement. I like projects that are scrappy, not too precious, that the child can participate in making too.

      First up is toast.

      Easy thing to make when you are hungry, easy thing to make when you are pretending to be hungry. Pretend food is a pretty common gender neutral play item. From plastic reproductions of McDonald's happy meals to heirloom wooden cucumbers that slice apart with Velcro action, you can find this type of toy in every price range and dietary niche. We have a fun selection of fabric vegetables from Ikea that Franklin was using to whip up pretend breakfast for me. And although cabbage is a refreshing breakfast item, his favorite food is toast. As I pretended to chew a cabbage leaf wrapped around an entire leek, I thought about some amazing faux bread I have seen around. But knowing that no respectable toy store would be open at 7am on a Sunday morning, I headed to our stockade of corrugated.

      We do have the advantage of Steeb bringing home an amazing selection of cardboard from the grocery store(see photo of watermelon box above) but almost every home has some cluttering up the recycle bins. I just cut a super basic toast shape free hand and then colored the edge to look more like crust. You could trace a piece of bread if you don't feel comfortable with intuitive loaf forming. Franklin "buttered" the toast and we were ready to play.

      I found another random box that could be a toaster. I thought about cutting holes in the top or adding a knob or covering it in tinfoil to look like metal, but in the moment, this worked. And it is still a box that could find some other use this afternoon.

      It doesn't take crazy craft skills or special tools to make simple toys. It's good for you, your kids' imagination and the earth. Now, what's for lunch?

      Friday, February 01, 2013