Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Moroccan Pouf

I want like 10,000 of these, don't you?!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Those socks are too big for your feet

I finished our Christmas stockings with minutes to spare. Now I have a whole year to finish baby #2, Anoushka, and everyone elses... Two days ago, the morning we left for Seattle, Jack woke up to find that two elves (Frank and Jethro) had come early to fill his stocking because Santa heard Jack would be traveling for Christmas. Oh that Santa, he's such a planner. He filled Jack's stocking with all kinds of things that would make the plane ride more fun for Jack. 

Two days ago, the morning we left for Seattle, Jack woke up to find that two elves (Frank and Jethro) had come early to fill his stocking because Santa heard Jack would be traveling for Christmas. Oh that Santa, he's such a planner. 

He filled Jack's stocking with all kinds of things that would make the plane ride more fun for Jack. He got headphones and coloring stuff, and a super hero squad dvd. Our flight was delayed, and we pulled out the dvd in the airport. 

He wore the Sherif Woody costume that Brenda got him for Christmas.

He started coloring as soon as we got on the plane. The pilots didn't show up until we'd been on the plane for about a half and hour. He held out as long as he could, about 15 minutes. 

Merry Christmas everybody! 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Problems white people have at the Bauer Pottery Sale

For years I've gotten emails about the Bauer Pottery Sale, and for some reason I never made it over there. I have a piece or two, but I've always wanted a patio filled with jardinieres, and a kitchen filled with Winnie the Pooh style honeypots. So last week when Sadie told me they'd be having a 30% off their normal sale prices, I had to go. It was dreamy.

I bought a few gifts, but was completely torn about a butter dish. We have this fake jadite butter dish that I got years ago, that's all cracked and chipped and weighs 900lbs. It's pretty, but I keep thinking someone is going to end up with a sliver of glass with their toast. There were two butter dishes, both orange, one round and one rectangular. The round one was so unique, but was I really going to hunt down tiny round pats of butter? Also the little knob on top wasn't nearly as satisfying to grab as being able to palm the entire top of the rectangular one.

Dueling butter dishes.

The rectangular one is perfect with one minor exception. It's small. It only fits a half stick. Organic butter only comes in whole sticks. European butter and Tillamook come in half sticks. I paced the showroom looking at other things, while agonizing over this small dilemma that made me feel like a super honky. Do I contaminate my family with god only knows what kind of hormones contained in non organic butter so I can have a perfect butter dish, OR do I just get the organic butter and simply cut in in half before I put it in the dish. Sophie's Choice...

I have no use for these bitty ramekins, but I want a while shelf full of them

Sadie's basket of treasures. She got gifts for everyone!

She decided on a little tower of ramekins for her friend Kristen of Krev jewelry. What a fashionable way to organize your beads! 

I wanted so badly to buy one of these canoe planters for succulents, but I had to restrain myself!

Look at this wall of spice pots. Want. And the honeypot cookie jar...swoon. 

Look at all those cheery orange and yellow mixing bowls! They'd be so cute in my orange kitchen!

I have a dream of some day having a patio filled with Bauer jardinieres. But with one boy here, and one on the way, I had visions of soccer balls smashing these to pieces. I'll wait until they are in college.

How much do we love these colors!

Ok, I know I showed them already, but sersiously?! Orange mixing bowls! SO PRETTY! Note the Russel Wright pitchers in the background. 

This is whwat we saw when we walked in the door. It felt like Christmas morning.

Finally perfect candle holders for the adorable Ana Candles Nipper Knapp's mom gave me.

Look how happy butter looks in it's new home! 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Last thing I swear

Until Christmas day, when can show and tell all the the things I made this year. But I heard from a little birdie (my big brother) that my niece is getting an fancy bed for her American Girl doll, Julie. So I HAD to make a matching blankie for her doll. I know! I make myself sick...


A doll does not deserve a bed this fancy

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Old Music Thursday - 3

I haven't really been listening to a lot of music this week. Mostly I've just been driving around listening to NPR and crying (I double dog dare you to listen to this story and NOT cry). Yay pregnancy. I also cried at the end of E.T. last night, oh, and when Jack "read" The Villains of Villainville to us the other night at bedtime. Sheesh.

So here's a list of some of my old standbys. Songs that I never tire of, no matter how many times I listen to them.

The Underdog - Spoon
M79 - Vampire Weekend
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground - The White Stripes
Home - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Jesus Etc. - Wilco
Road to Nowhere - The Talking Heads
Sea of Love - Cat Power
My Baby Just Cares For Me - Nina Simone
You Ain't Goin Nowhere - Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
Folding Chair - Regina Spektor
Hotel Yorba (blackpool deluxe live version) - The White Stripes
Dreams - Brandi Carlile
Everyday - Buddy Holly
Whip-Smart - Liz Phair
I Turned Into a Martian - The Misfits
These Days - Nico
Gold Lion - The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Sabotage - The Beastie Boys
We're Going To Be Friends - The White Stripes

Ok, gotta run, I'm doing craft time at Jack's preschool.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Handmade Christmas

Here's the first in the handmade Christmas gifts this year. I can't really post the rest until Christmas day because it would spoil the surprise. (This is in the hopeful wish that my family deigns to read my blog)

I am not a good seamstress. If forced into sweatshop work I would surely be punished severely for my uneven stitches and sloppy seams. But I can't stop sewing. I keep thinking I'll get better with time, but I think it's just in my nature to not care too much about the details so long as the whole looks semi-alright.

I made a lap quilt for myself this spring that I love. It might be my favorite thing I've ever made. But again, I didn't have a piece of batting that was the right size, so I put two pieces in there. I also didn't sew the batting into one side so it would stick to the edges, so I had to sew all kinds of crazy lines across the middle. I don't care. It adds to my blankies "character".

When my niece came to visit, she liked my crazy quilt and asked for one for herself. So that's what she is getting from me for Christmas. I embroidered fairies and mermaids on it so as to distract from the sloppy stitching. Did I mention she really likes pink? I love her. I let her choose the fabric. If I feel up to it I'm going to make a matching quilt for her American girl doll. (kill me) It's in some small measure better than the one I made myself, but in other ways, much worse. Oh well, she's 7. She won't know until she's older just how bad it is...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My childhood silhouette

My mom's been doing a big cleaning of her house, and true to most mom's she's finding all kinds of little things that were ours when we were little. Nipper Knapp's mom has a whole barn filled with who knows what kind of amazing finds from his families youth. I've heard stories about a trunk full of matchbox cars in their own individual cubbies.

Some of it is indeed trash, but also so many little treasures. Nipper and I are debating about the thumb print clay turkey I made when I was 6. For now it sits on the windowsill above the kitchen sink. This is my favorite thing she sent. It's from when I was 6 or 7. Check out my sweet ponytail, with built in bump-it and bangs! Yes!

Friday, December 10, 2010

old music Thursday-2

Ok, I know it's Friday, but you guys are used me to totally letting you down and being a flake, so let's just let it go...

Duffy - Smoke without fire

All I've been listening to this week is, surprise, surprise, NOT Christmas music, but the soundtrack from An Education. SO good, and sexy, and cool. Which I totally needed this week because I feel FAT. I'm at that weird stage of pregnancy where I'm not showing yet, but my boobs are bigger than my head, and I can only wear what my friend Sadie calls "buffet pants". Blurgh. Come on belly!

Beth Rowley - You've got me wrapped around your little finger

Mel Torme - Comin Home Baby

Juliette Greco - sous le ciel de Paris

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Paperball takes on that little f*%#er Caillou

I borrowed this picture from this site
I posted a link to this on the nerdmom facebook page. But I decided this morning it's too good not to re-post here. My dear friend Andy who writes at ThePaperBall wrote this to read at the KGB in NYC last week. Andy is a genius. I read the novel he wrote for his thesis when he was getting his MFA at Columbia, and I have to admit that I cried for oh I don't know, the last 40 pages. Genius. So here is his take on kids tv. Love...

“22 Minutes of Plasma — Stat!”

To T.V. or not to T.V. that becomes the question.
At least that becomes the question when you have kids.
Not there yet?  Never plan to be there?  Don’t want to even jinx it by remotely considering it?  I understand, but you will at some point have a child in your charge and you will ask that question.
It’s nearly impossible to resist the urge to grab those slices of sanity which Television provides when you’re raising a kid.  I couldn’t.  Can’t.  Even when I let the kids grab a dvd off the shelf at the library, the first thing I look at is it’s running time.
“This one?  75 minutes.  Works for me, let’s go.”  It’s in the car, while driving back home, giddy at the thought of having an hour and fifteen minutes of freedom when my daughter extends her arm between the two front seats holding the dvd and asks:
“Is this a scary movie?”
At the red light, I take the dvd and reassure them both that “Pilates versus Yoga – it’s Go time!” is not scary at all, realizing full well that in my haste, I harpooned my 75 minute bubble.  Defeated, I pass it back to my daughter who now huddles with her brother over the cover intrigued more than ever.
“Is the man in the diaper Pilate?”
“Yoga is a jedi, right?”
“I am so excited to see this story.  Thank you, Daddy!”
“Me too!  Thanks Dad.”
A moment like this makes you feel like Father of the Year.
Some people sidestep the guilt of “plopping them in front of the Television” by going out of their way to justify the program, as if defending a dissertation.
“Oh, Baby Einstein is so interesting, it really pushes your child to understand the abstract—awakening sensory appreciations that will solidify in the frontal lobe of their ever-absorbing brain.”
I’ve watched Baby Einstein with my children and hurdled the coffee table to hit the stop button because something was solidifying in their frontal lobe that made them scream, cry or stare wide-eyed but not in a “I’m so fascinated” way but more a frozen question of “oh the humanity, why have you laid such horror before me?”
I’m not sure how beneficial these dvd’s are anyway.  Does a spinning fan blowing colored streamers underscored by Chopin really instill a deep understanding of the abstract?  But then, I remember the chicken.  If you plan on watching these, you may want to close your ears for this spoiler.  When you and your child least expect it, a chicken will appear on a black stage, clucking sans music, slowly working its way across the screen. There’s your “abstract” I guess.  Oh, and as soon as that chicken crosses off camera, there’s a smash cut to a Jack in the Box fully sprung with garish clown makeup accompanied by what must have been a “boo” done in post.  The extreme close-up the clown is more startling than the “boo” which sounds as if a relative was in from out of town visiting the studio and wondered if they might have a chance to “lay something down.”
Images random.  Weirdness hypnotic.  The only thing it awakened in me was annoyance.  All of which, however is cradled in brilliant compositions brought to life on an electric synth—my guess, a Casio that ran on three double A’s.  But, for as much as I rail on it’s production value, lack of cohesion and its overt manipulation of anything bright, flashy or furry—it provides a good thirty minutes to feel domestic again— to strangely enjoy the freedom of using both hands to wash dishes or fold laundry.
My generation grew up watching two shows: Sesame Street and The Electric Company.  Of course there were others tossed in the mix, but when I mention “The Friendly Giant” “Romper Room” and “Hot Fudge” I realize that these shows may have been of a more regional fare.
Today, thanks to research and academics (the hell with story and entertainment) every cartoon or I should say “educational animation experience” pretty much follows the simple three-part model: loss, search, reunion.   You’ll have to find your own turning points, rising action, falling action—but for broad strokes, here it is:
Part 1.  Baby animal is lost, looking for its “mama.”
Part 2.  The journey to find the mama.
Part 3.  Baby finds mama.
Part one is tearful, devastating, there is no rhyme or reason why the baby squirrel got separated from its mama.  Was it an argument?  Was it a mistake?  Did mama squirrel just reach her limit?  We don’t know.  We’ll never know.
Part two’s journey to find mama is far from perilous…maybe it involves getting stuck in some mud or encountering a silly troll, who never even asks a riddle but dances around with messed up hair repeating, “I’m the grumpy troll.”  “I’m the grumpy troll.”  No danger.  No heightening.  I’m just asking for some drama.  He IS a Troll.  Issue a quest or threaten their lives, give us something to keep us watching.  Like, “I’m the grumpy old troll who needs the crack and crumble of small children’s bones to survive” maybe then, an audience would perk up and realize, “Yeah, you wanna’ reunite this baby squirrel with its mama?  Well, it’s not going to be easy.   You gotta’ get passed that troll—and you gotta’ want to do a thing like that.”
Of course, no sooner than you blink, part three arrives and all is right with the world as the story wraps.  The mama and baby are brought together and thank you’s and gumdrops rain from the sky as everyone, even the grumpy old troll and the puddle of mud who rises from the earth into human form join the celebration as everyone dances until the credits roll.  What’s in store for the next episode?  The same episode.  The same episode that plays for a week.  This so the child will remember and get rewarded while watching something that they can recite, recall and predict.
Yay, we’ve cut the balls off Clifford.
I won’t go into my difficulties accepting Dora the Explorer into our household—she is there anyway, but when she comes on, I leave the room.  It’s a civil relationship if nothing else.  Basically, it comes down to this:  I do not like being yelled at.  She yells.  She stares at you and yells.  With her intonation and the way those chocolate brown saucers drill through you, it’s as if she’s adding just enough space at the end of each question or statement for the word “dumbass.”
“Do you see the mountain?”  “Well, do you?”  “Do you see the mountain, dumbass?”
“Can you say ‘Abuela’?”  “That’s Grandma in Spanish.”  “Can you say ‘Grandma’ in Spanish?”  “Can you, dumbass?”
There’s also a sense of peer pressure when she commands you to do her bidding.
“Say run.”  “If you want the armadillo to survive, say run.” and then the monkey with the oversized snow boots (hey you’re wearing snow boots in Mexico, dumbass!) starts jumping up and down chirping in.  “Say run.”  “You can do it, say ‘run’.”  Soon every creature of the jungle is screaming at you to run.  “Do it!  Say run!  Say run!  Say run dumbass!”
But even Dora, the girl who steals my daughter’s heart and is still able to siren my son’s attention from homework, gives me a twenty-two minute break and for that, Dora and I understand each other, tolerate each other, even, respect each other.  She gets airtime, I get me-time.
Some cartoons are simply throwaways.  Whip cream teetering at the top of the educational food pyramid.  We won’t actually learn any forensic lessons from those kids in the Mystery Machine.  Daffy duck’s beak isn’t an example of a mallard’s remarkable cell regeneration.  He gets his face blown apart by a double-barreled shotgun.  Okay.  Big cats chase mice.  Coyotes chase roadrunners.  Anvils flatten heads.  Not a lot of lessons, but there is something to be said for entertainment.
There is a show, however that is dangerous and must be yanked off the air.  This show unlocks something sinister in our children.  In our house it is the name that must not be spoken…a show that I personally would swap out for an animated version of SAW.  This show from Canada is called “Cailou.”
Cailou centers around a 4 year old boy who gets upset, whines, and then gets his way.  Great.  That’s fantastic.  Thanks Cailou, next time give childcare a peck on the cheek before you screw it.  My children didn’t whine nearly the amount they currently do before the little bald headed kid came on the scene. Oh, yes…he’s bald.  Something to do with his name meaning “smooth pebble” in French.  That’s fine, but let’s compare bald-headed characters for a second.  Charlie Brown v. Cailou.  First of all, and let me be clear, Cailou couldn’t carry Charlie Brown’s shorts.  He shouldn’t be mentioned in the same breath as Charlie.  In Charlie Brown, we had the angst, the pathos and reality. He never whined when things went bad, he just screamed to the heavens with a barbaric yawp of his own: “ARRGGG” or “WHY?”  So, what does a kid learn from Charlie Brown?  Shit happens, that’s what.
Let me give you an example of a Cailou episode.  Cailou wants a hockey stick.  The one he wants is for an adult.  Cailou whines and whines because he wants the big stick.  After gentle responses of “but Cailou, that’s a big stick, for big people” he continues to pitch a fit.  That’s right, baldy, keep whining and soon enough, you’ll get your way.  Presto.  Cailou walks out of the store with a stick that’s too big.  He tries it on the ice and falls down.  Cries.  Realizes that this stick is indeed for big people and goes back to the store and gets one that he should have gotten in the first place.  By the way, in real life, no store’s return policy says, “Oh, the little fella scarred it up on the ice?  How cute?  Let me just take that as a loss and give him a brand new one.”
Charlie Brown would have tripped over the stick, lost the game and laid motionless on the ice until he worked out the whole turn of events in a dramatic soliloquy:
I bought the wrong stick.
I should have listened.
I didn’t listen and now I’ve lost the game AND I’m stuck with this big stick because hockey sticks are expensive and the minute you drive off the lot, you lose over half the value.  I’m stuck with this and I have no one to blame but myself.
It’s all my fault.
Good grief.
There’s tremendous value in “Good Grief.”  Grief is Good.  Expose the kids to the “sometimes things don’t work out the way we’d like them to” aspect in life and that’s not a bad thing.  Instead, this generation is weaned on the wussy whine of a French Canadian four-year-old.
“Mommy, I want a cookie.”
“But, Cailou, it’s almost dinner.”
“But I waaaaaant ooooonnneee…”
“Oh, okay, Cailou.  Here you go.”
Maybe Cailou is dying.  I never thought of that.  Maybe they’re just trying to make this kid as comfortable as possible until the ink runs dry on the storyboard.
If you are not a parent, if you don’t intend on being a parent, if you have no reason to believe that this affects you in any way, guess again.  These are the children of the future.  These are the people who will be at the reigns of industry, commerce, invention, technology and diplomacy.  Are you willing to elect a future president who will begin to whine at a NATO summit because we don’t like other countries being meanies?  Will we be on the brink of finding a cure for cancer, but never succeed because suddenly the scientists “didn’t feeeeel liiikkke runnnning the control group.”
But here’s the problem, even the whiner gives me time…but the sacrifice for the present, bites my future in the ass.
Is it worth it?
At the very least, we can lead our children out into the yard and hold a football with a finger and tell them to give it a kick.
What happens as they approach the ball—is your choice.