Sunday, March 30, 2008

design sunday

Partners Xenia Taler and Steven Koblinsky work from their Toronto studio to create these great tiles. Xenia designs the tiles while Steven crafts the clay and glazes. They have been working together since 1996. The tiles are pressed in molds made of wood, or extruded. Glazes are mixed from scratch. All the tiles are decorated by hand.

I love how these tiles almost have a Scandinavian look to them. I have been looking around my house for the perfect place to hang one.

"We hope that one day, a long, long time from now, your children fight mercilessly over the wonderful tiles you had so wisely purchased."
-Xenia Taler

Friday, March 28, 2008

kraken n' coffee

Can anyone out there tell me why I am so incredibly fascinated by Jacque Cousteau? I mean really, I have never even been diving. I do, however, narrate to myself with a French accent when I snorkel. It seems more exotic that way. I love to find old publications of Cousteau's books. The colors in them are so bright, so unreal. He fancied himself a serious biologist, but he interpreted things the way he wanted to see them. I guess I'm a little that way as well.

Jump with me now from Cousteu to just plain crazy. What's with sailors and their legends and superstitions? They're worse than baseball players. Did you know that Scottish law once required fishermen to wear a gold earring, which was used to pay for funeral expenses if they were drowned and washed ashore? Sailors gave us mermaids and kraken, that oh so mythical octopus like creature that attacks ships apparently to devour the people aboard. Now that's just silly. But I couldn't leave something like that alone. I had to immortalize it in jewelry as I have a tendency to do.

So there's all that swarthy sea business, and then there's Fin. My mocha cappuccino cutie pie. He's irresistible.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I honestly try to be a fun mom. I take Thom to Disneyland and Lego Land. I buy play dough and finger paints. I even bought him some Incredibles pajamas and I really hate characters on clothing. It's not easy when our style sense clashes on a daily basis.

But I had to draw the line when he wanted "John Deer" fabric. I just couldn't bring myself to, not only buy it at $8 a yard, but then spend time sewing it into a blanket. So we compromised.

Thank heaven for "surfer" style.

I used "minky" fabric on the back. It is soooo incredibly soft, but let me tell ya, it's a b. to sew with. The fish, name and surfboard are all embroidered. I wonder how long it will take him to spill grape juice on it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

easter sunday

On the way home from church today, we asked Thomas what he had learned in Sunday school about Easter. He said, "I learned that the wicked people stapled Jesus to the cross."

As for design Sunday, I would like to plug my new favorite t-shirt company. Sugar Daddy doesn't know this yet, but the Easter Bunny brought me one.

Gypsy 05 is a Los Angeles based clothing company owned and run by a brother and sister. They do a lot of tie dye and grunge type designs.

Friday, March 21, 2008

the big idea

Last night I was brushing Thom's teeth before bedtime. We talked a little about how if we don't brush our teeth the "sugar bugs" will eat holes in them.

"Mom, I know why the sugar bugs make the holes."

"Why's that?"

"For tunnels and doors for their city."

"Oh, you're probably right."

"Mom, we shouldn't kill the sugar bugs because they are nice."

"But they eat holes in our teeth."

"Yeah, but I think they are nice. Do they have legs?"

"Humm, I don't know if they have legs, but, we just brush them off our teeth and spit them down the drain and then they can build their city in the drain and not in our mouth where they can ruin our teeth."

I tucked Thomas into his bed and laid down by him. He likes someone to lay with him for a while, and it is a good time to talk one on one so I humor him.

"Mom! I know! We can get one of my teeth, when it gets loose, and put it in a jar and whatdosugarbugseatagain!?"


"Oh yeah. And then we can get some sugar and sprinkle it on the tooth andthenthesugarbugscanliveonthattooth!!!!"

"Oh well that's an idea, but I think sugar bugs would prefer to live in peoples mouths."


We laid there for a while. Thomas wiggled around and kicked me a few times.

"Mom, the road outside belongs to God."

"Really? Time to go to sleep now."

"Mom, when our China baby grows up she will be my sister, right?"

"Yep, your little sister. Good night Mr. Bean."

"Mom, is my bike outside?"

"I don't know, go to sleep."

"Mom, I'm thirsty."

"No you're not. Go to sleep."



"What Thomas? What is it now?!!"

"I love you."

just do it

I was thinking today in spinning class that, damn, this is rough, but also about gumption in general. More often than not, things seem harder than they really are. Most projects worth doing may seem from the outset very complicated and time consuming. And they may be just that. But they might not.

It has been my experience (for what it's worth) that if you break something down into small steps you will be able to work through it. Now, I don't expect to be really good at many things. For instance, I suck at origami and lego construction. Try as I might, my pasta sauce is acidic. This is just to name but a small few. But I carry on, folding paper and cooking tomatoes on a regular basis, because I like to do these things.

The purpose for all this prattle is just to put out to the universe the good energy I had today as I sweated my brains out, proud of myself for making it to the gym one more day. I just want to say that if there is something you have been thinking about trying to do- for heaven's sakes, get off you kiester and do it. Start small and work your way into it. For my part, I think Sugar Daddy might put a moratorium on any new ventures in a the near future. The quilting project is still taking up most of the kitchen island.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

i may have a.d.d.

As if I didn't have enough hobbies and projects to consume all of my time, I decided to try my hand at quilting. Last Friday Sugar Daddy went on a rock climbing over-night trip and so I decided to hunker down for a night in. I put a Disney movie on for the boy, ordered in a pizza, dawned a pair of old sweats, pulled my hair back into a messy bun and went to work on my first quilt. Okay, I must admit here that it was a kit quilt that I got on sale at the fabric store. The instructions were probably written for someone in fifth grade. But, hey, it was on my level. I think it turned out pretty good. I can't wait to wrap it around Mei Mei.

Unfortunately, I seem to have caught the quilt bug. I made another trip to the fabric store (a very stressful trip with a four-year-old boy playing rocket with the thread and begging me to buy a flannel with a John Deer print). I am combining a little embroidery into this one. I am thinking of giving it to my niece for her birthday.

I guess after this I will be making an incredibly ugly John Deer quilt for Thomas. Don't expect a post on that one.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

east meets west

Lately, I have been drawn to gold vermeil. Vermeil is when they coat sterling silver with 22-24 carat gold. Most vermeil pieces have an exotic, middle eastern look because the gold content is so high they are very yellow. Think Indian wedding jewelry.

For these earrings I used four different stones. The briolettes in the middle are natural emeralds. The other green stones are tsavorite (a type of garnet) and the blue stones are apatite. I used large citrine briolettes on the bottom.
I am finding that it is not easy to find the kind of vermeil components I really want. I am only interested in pieces that have a certain exotic look. I have been working on several sets of earrings. Watch my shop for further postings.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

design sunday

When I was a little girl, my family had a tradition of going out for an ice cream cone from Kirt's. Kirt's was a old fashion drive-in diner, where girls on roller skates waited on you while you sat in your car. This must have been an ideal set-up for my parents. Other than the inevitable spills on the seats (we had tan vinyl that our thighs suck to), and fighting over elbow room, my mom must have loved the fact that she didn't have to load four kids in and out of the car. I have many fond memories of these family trips.

Kirt's made their ice cream cones irresistible to kids by simply adding a cocktail drink animal to the top of the swirl of cold yummy goodness. I always requested a pink monkey, but I usually ended up with a yellow giraffe. It is because of this that I must, must, must own this cocktail monkey charm by Live Wire. Check out the shop, her jack necklace is also a favorite.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

the crafty crew

Let me introduce you to some of my wonderful friends. We decided to get together once a month and share our talents. I tried to teach everyone jewelry making, but it didn't go over too well. I guess it just isn't something you can master in a few hours. We have made cards, tied blankets for charity, painted and laughed a lot. Tami deemed our group "The Crafty Chicks", and it has stuck. This photo was taken on our "Girls Weekend 2008" to Santa Barbara.

Between the seven of us, we have 22 kids, and yet we find time to get together and craft our brains out. We are mothers, hear us roar.

From left to right: Jill, Me, Tami, Jenny, Rachel, Becky, Cami

On Thursday, we combined crafty chicks with Jill's birthday brunch. I made her this bracelet with her four boy's initials. Tami taught us all the fine art of crazy apron making. We had fresh fruit, bagels with cream cheese, salmon, tomato and capers. Rachel brought baked egg souffles from Panera. I brought tangerine juice and strawberry kefir. The kids played with bugs in the back yard while we sewed and chatted. We had a blast.

What will the Crafty Chicks make next? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

good grief

As I sit to write today, my heart is so heavy in my chest I can hardly breath. Yesterday, I lost my best friend in furry pajamas. Whitman had been struggling with kidney failure, and over the past few weeks it was getting the best of him. I decided I couldn't watch him loose any more weight or get any sicker. Our vet is really great and he made the experience a little easier.
I already miss the warmth of his little body nestled in the small of my back as I sit at the computer. He wasn't there this morning to watch me do my hair or put on my make-up. I didn't have to shew him off the bed to make it, or fill his water bowl. His sunny spot on the carpet sits empty. I have a headache from crying so much and I feel void of any creativity or enthusiasm.
One of my friends said she will never have pets because the pain is to hard to go through when they die. All I can say is that it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. I would never give up the memories I have just to save myself from sadness. Whitman was my surrogate child when I couldn't get pregnant. He relished my attention and purred like a motor boat.
So, although I wish I could walk past his sunny spot without crying or go an hour without second guessing my decision, I feel that this grief is good. The depth of my sorrow is only a measure of the joy he brought into my life.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

design sunday

"In the childhood memories of every good cook, there's a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot, and a mom."
— Barbara Costikyan

Ahhhhhh- Sunday again. Church came a little too early today, considering daylight savings time. I personally wish the rest of the country would follow Arizona's lead and just stay on the entire year. I can't take this switching back and forth.

I like to cook. I really like to bake the most, but I have warmed up to cooking considerably over the last few years. Today's designs will perk up your kitchen and your mood. You know what they say- presentation is everything.

Whitney Smith is a potter working out of Oakland, California. Her work reminds me a little of pieces from the arts and crafts/mission era that I love so much. You can check out her work here.

One of my earliest Etsy purchases, my Sunda Rose apron, was made custom for me and came in a darling box with a bow. I thoroughly enjoy wearing it. It makes me feel pretty, even with bad hair and flour on my face. You can get your own here.

Some day I will have these napkins. I have been looking at them on and off for a while now. The problem is, I will need a whole new set of dishes (set #10) to go with them and I am really running out of space in my cabinets. I don't know how much longer I can hold out though. If you love them as much as I do, you can buy them here.

I hope these things inspire you to cook in style. Be fabulous.

Make sure to click on the cupcakes at the top of the post. The cupcakes were blogged about on Cupcake Bakeshop , one of my all-time favorite blogs. They are herbal essence cupcakes by a really fun bakery called Whiskie Bits. Check them out.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

by the way, it's spring

When did Spring get here and where was I? Most likely working away at my bench. The bees are out in full force (or not) and as busy as, well bees can be. The ornamental plum in our front yard is absolutely gorgeous.

Who knew peach blossoms were so bright?

It seems that Spring has pushed its way into our little world. I am starting to glaze longingly at my shorts and linen tops. I changed out my black purse for my new Petunia Pickle Bottom (see previous post for full view of said wonder purse). Easter is only a couple of weeks away for heaven's sake! I have been shopping here and there already for Easter basket items. If anyone out there has any great ideas for a four-year-old boys Easter basket, please let me know. I'm a little stumped. If it were up to me he would get like ten T-shirts from Dress Me, but clothes don't go over too good these days.

Maybe I have been feeling the season change.

I made this the other day.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Export Business

Ni Hao! Last Saturday was the FCC (Families with Chinese Children) big New Year's party. As usual, it was a huge production with food, music, crazy decorations and a million darling Chinese girls running around in their dance costumes. This is our second year with the FCC and we love it.

There seems to be some confusion in our house about where babies come from. Thomas is under the impression that all babies come from China and are then exported out, not unlike many, many other Chinese products. How do I explain that Mei Mei isn't like electronic gadgets and cocktail umbrellas?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

design sunday

My pick for designer of the week was one of my first purchases through Etsy. I bought a set of Dragonflies magnets and I have been enjoying them ever since. They are so simple, yet so much fun.

Also, I want to brag about my newest great purchase. I bought Petunia Pickle Bottom's touring tote when I was out shopping around with Amy last Friday. Let it be known that I know it is a diaper bag, but I am still using it as a regular purse for right now. I don't think very many people will know what it actually is, and besides, I'm just that pathetic and desperate to have a baby. I admit it.