Thursday, June 30, 2011

Decorating with Children

Look--a pond with ducks in it!

The kid came up with this entirely on her own and I thought that was super clever--to decide that she wanted a pond for her ducks, think of the fabric tunnel which is round and blue, and then go get it (it lives underneath the couch in the living room) and set it up.

It's part of a farm that she's been working hard on, and enjoying, for several days now.

We have a small house, and most of the kid's toys are kept in the living room. I like this fact, actually, that we are all integrated together in one living space, and that it's obvious that a kid lives here too.

But I struggle with it too. I'm torn between wanting to let her be a kid and needing to clean up the mess.

Especially because my kid often plays with things in an unusual/creative way--Mardi Gras beads are not used for dress-up, they're different flavors of "ice cream" for "Rody's birthday party" (which happens roughly twice a day). Which adds to the visual clutter of things being "out of place" from my adult point of view.

And she gets engaged by all sorts of things that aren't really toys at all--rocks, pine cones, a square piece of cardboard from Target that turned into a "mask." This all is great, and I don't want to get rid of things before she's finished with them.

But then our house looks like this. For weeks on end.

How do you draw the lines around kids and their stuff and their Very Important Messes?

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Strawberry rhubarb and rye.

As before, but muddle a big strawberry in the bottom of each glass.

This is pretty fruity, so I don't recommend using your best whiskey, but it's very drinkable.

Friday, June 24, 2011

My husband gave me that look again

The same stricken smile he made when I suggested painting that table.

Okay. He has a point. I mean, this thing is really big. And the kid's bedroom is emphatically not.

But she seems to be getting a kick out of it. She counted to 30! (I guess now I have to figure out the proper way to use an abacus.)

And $7.99! How could I not?

I think he should just be glad that it's not a five-foot tall metal chicken

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Another Sunday

It's amazing how quickly a tradition can get made.

Oh and also? Rhubarb syrup + sparkling water = scrumptious!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A proper Saturday night

 Earlier this evening the Mr. and I were trying to decide what kind of cocktails to have (hey, these are the discussions of which Saturday nights are made), and as he rummaged around in the refrigerator he discovered the rhubarb that I bought last weekend at the farmer's market and promptly forgot about.

So that settled it--something with rhubarb. The recipe below is based on this cocktail from Tilth restaurant via Seattle Metropolitan magazine, and we made the rhubarb syrup using this recipe from Eat Make Read.

Incidentally, Eat Make Read is a great little blog. I've made several of her recipes recently--asparagus with sesame and soy sauce, carrot and walnut salad--and each of them has been spot on, simple but perfectly calibrated.

I was surprised how easy it was to make a flavored simple syrup. I was also surprised at how distinct the rhubarb flavor was. It was great with rye whiskey for Saturday night, and I plan to try it with some sparkling mineral water on Sunday afternoon.


For each portion:
1 1/2 oz Old Overholt Rye Whiskey
1/2 oz Rhubarb simple syrup
1/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Lemon twist
Lemon wedge

Combine the rye, simple syrup, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Swirl gently and then pour into a glass over ice. Garnish with a lemon twist and lemon wedge. Repeat as necessary.

Friday, June 10, 2011

For Really Reals This Time

Earlier this week a friend (hi Tania!) and I were commiserating about our long, long project lists. I confessed to her that household and creative projects tend to sit around on my to-do list for, oh, six months or so...if I'm in a really productive phase.

So I thought I'd get started on one of those near-forgotten projects, and in the spirit of accountability I'm telling you about it. It involves all these paintings that my daughter has brought home from school over the past year or so. Somehow I find these fields of saturated color really lovely, and haven't been able to bring myself to get rid of them. But keeping a plastic bin full of indiscriminate toddler paintings is nuts, right?

I have a plan, though. An awesome little craft project that I'm going to use these for. The first step is to flatten out those crinkly sheets of paper a bit. Fortunately, I have a foot locker full of office supplies that I'm sure is up to the task. They're sitting underneath there now.

So I'll meet you back here in a few. I mean it. For really reals this time. If you don't see me...tell me to quit farting around on the Internet and get busy, okay? I'd do the same for you.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Monkey See

A few nights ago I was tracing out a sewing pattern on the kitchen floor, and my daughter was fascinated by the process.

So fascinated, in fact, that when it came time to cut the pattern pieces apart she grabbed one of them, ran off to find her scissors, and...cut straight down the middle of the bodice front piece.

Once I recovered from my shock and exasperation, I figured I'd take some scraps of the pattern tracing paper and make some big swoopy lines for her to practice cutting along.

By that time she'd lost interest, but she returned to the project last night and proceeded to trace over each of the lines very carefully (and impressively precisely!). She spent a long time at it, too. Funny to think about what's going on in her head and how she might be imagining "doing what Mama does."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Last weekend's sunny weather made me (and the entire rest of Seattle) absolutely giddy. On Saturday, I developed a raging case of Project ADD that I am sure was brought on not knowing what to do with myself in the sunshine. Cut out fabric to make tank top for self! Cut out cute summery pants for friend's to-be-born baby girl! But don't sew them together--move on to cleaning out backyard shed! Take pictures of stuff in shed to post on Craigslist! Decide to take most of it to Goodwill instead!

And then, inspired by the above piece of furniture, I had the following conversation with my husband:

I'm pretty happy with the results.

Sure, the chain-link fence is still an eyesore, and the chair is nothing special (though it's super-comfortable, which is really the main point).

But for $4.37 (the price of a Benjamin Moore sample paint pot in "Poppy") I now have a nice place to drink an iced latte and do a little writing outside on a sunny afternoon.

And anyway, the view is grand.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Recently I came across this picture of succulents that appear to be planted in seashells. (Also, how lovely is that table setting altogether, with the simple votives and what looks to me like kraft paper as a tablecloth?) I was instantly smitten with the idea, and decided to try it out myself.

This sedum (scavenged from elsewhere in the yard) is pretty slow growing so I'm not sure how well this will work. But for now the gnome is keeping an eye on things and seems to approve.

My husband did a little experimenting today too:

That's his iPad tucked up in the lilac tree, so that we could listen to the Red Sox game while working in the yard today. Ah, modern life!