fledge capable of flying, from Middle English flegge, from Old English -flycge; akin to Old High German flucki capable of flying,
Old English flEogan to fly -- more at FLY
intransitive verb, of a young bird : to acquire the feathers necessary for flight or independent activity

Friday, December 28, 2012

No. Si. Si.

"Mom, can I make a Costa Rican dinner?"


(Kill my child's initiative just like that, right? Listen, it's not me...it's the kitchen... I've discussed our stove, Mr. Roper, before. And then there's the kitchen sink, which is a situation. Which is a $2000 situation to repair, so that it is no longer a situation, just a sink. Right now, I'm working with the situation. I call it The Sink-uation. But can the 14-year-old handle The Sink-uation? Yeah, probably...not.)

"I need to make a Costa Rican meal for Spanish class. It's worth, like, 100 points or 200 points or something."

"Let me rephrase: Yes."

Costa Rica is definitely on my bucket list. In fact, Costa Rica could very well be my entire bucket list. Let me be in Costa Rica and then I can die, that's fine. So, okay, well, why not? Make me a dinner costaricense, son, whatever that may be.


Whatever that may be was a savory beef stew (olla de carne), spicy rice and beans (gallo pinto) and corn pancakes (chorreadas).

Can you say "yum" in Spanish? Sabroso it was!

I kind of have to hand it to the kid: He did a pretty darn good job. Looked up recipes online, selected ones he thought he could handle, prepared a shopping list and actually did a good deal of the food prep and cooking, including corn pancakes from scratch! And he set a pretty table, with a pretty tablecloth...whole ten yards.

He even said, "Cooking is fun. Kind of Zen. Can we do this again?"

Yes. We can do this any time you like. Mr. Roper and The Sink-uation be damned.



And leftover chorreadas and gallo pinto for breakfast? Si!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The box is always the best part of the present

I know what you got for Christmas. Of course I do. The very best thing: boxes. The box a present came in is the best part of the present. This is true. The box, as we know, cannot be just a box, but a present box. Not just any box. A present box. Get it right.

So, you got boxes. Excellent. And you have several empty cardboard tubes from wrapping paper. Even better. And you have kids home for winter break. Maybe even relatives visiting. Everything you need for a little good natured violence. No more passive-aggressive; we want aggressive aggressive!

"So, the sweater? The one that I actually remembered the coupon for? The one I circled and circled and circled the parking lot to find a parking spot for? The sweater I think I may have actually been very, very, very near, perhaps in fact part of a pile of purchases belonging to another shopper? That one? You don't like it? Okay. SWEATER!"

"And the apple pie? The one, after years and years of failing, I actually made an excellent crust for? That one? You don't want any? You want key lime pie instead? I'll give you key. Lime. PIE!"


"You're not going to lend your brother your guitar tuner? Because he's your brother? And he's an idiot? The guitar. TUNER?"


May I suggest Cardboard Tube Dueling? Cardboard Tube Dueling is a real thing. It has a league and rules and a t-shirt and everything. It kind of looks like something hipsters, without the ability to grow ionic facial hair or room for a typewriter collection, came up with. Despite that, it is fun, really fun. Fun is good. A doctor discovered that.



This is our holiday tradition. Beats wassailing. Whatever that it.

Oh, and speaking of boxes being the best part of the present...if you have a real complainer in your realm of loved ones, perhaps one of these "presents" will fit the bill.

Hope your holiday was very blessed, happy and filled with love!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Write it on your heart


Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day,
and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt, crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a
new day;
begin it well and serenely,
with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.
This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays...

~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Merry Christmas 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

End of the World (as I know it)

End of the World by The Living End on Grooveshark

So, how are you holding up? Has the end of the world come your way yet? Vampires? Valcanoes? Fiscal Cliff? What are your apocalyptic plans? I'm depending on my son to figure out what to do, all that video game training should come to good use.

 Well, whether the Mayans were spot on or not, I do want to end the world as I know it. So I will. Just like that. Actually, it will likely take more than just that. I have been a bit disengaged. I've visited a web site on depression and I could pretty much tick off most of the boxes on the chronic mild scale. So, I am chronically mildly depressed for some time now and I am not happy about it (hee hee, that's depression humor...). I don't like being 45. I think 30 was much better. 25 was pretty good. 45? Yech. Chances missed, opportunities neglected, sins of omission, no turning back. I bicker. I nag. I scoff.

And I would also like to point out that there is a lot in this world I would like to see ended: Violence of all kinds toward children, whether in Connecticut or Houla. The miasma of divisiveness that is current American politics. The Pacific Gyre Garbage Patch. The Mississippi Dead Zone. I have a feeling that all of these things are part of a collective human-wide mild chronic depression. Otherwise, we wouldn't just let these things happen, right? Right? These things and other things can stop. Right?

And those Kardashians. They need to be gone by now, too.

All kinds of Christmas cheer here, eh?

Well, I'm going to end that world today. Right now. I'm going to go for more walks. I'm going to stay away from hulu. Make stuff. Make friends. Connect. Laugh. Volunteer. Comb my hair. Risk being open. Pray. Write. Hug. Try. Atone. Forgive. Love.

And this is also a Public Service Announcement. The adventures of Hansel and Gretel is not a fairy tale! As I have discovered today, gingerbread houses do exist! And seemingly kindly old witches do live inside! As evidenced here...


Okay, okay, okay: NOT a witch. This lady is quite, quite lovely, in fact. And I do very much appreciate all her yard decorations and I want to share them with you.


And this from Jimmy Eats World, because I need it. So there.

The Middle by Jimmy Eat World on Grooveshark

If this is the end of the world, just know that I love and appreciate you. Even if it is not, I still love and appreciate you.

Monday, December 17, 2012

"Knitting Clothes Kids Love" by Kate Oates

I did some photography work this past year, photographing three craft books for Quayside. The first book is this one, Knitting Clothes Kids Love. Quayside continues their children's handmade apparel series, this time with knitting. Quayside asked if I would take the photos to make the book consistent with the look of Sewing Clothes Kids Love

The beautiful knitting projects and the authorship of this book are the work of designer Kate Oates of Tot Toppers. Kate created 25 small knit projects for this book that are so versatile and eye-catching. They add just that right amount of texture to an outfit. And they are so super cozy, too. Furthermore, Kate, the mother of three boys, made sure there are just about as many boy projects as girl projects in there (unlike a certain preceding book...hmm...).

The projects are generally for kids about 4 to 12 years old. But you knitters are good at adding/subtracting rows and makin' it work, aren'tcha? 

From head to toe...

- Hats
- Hair accessories
- Scarf
- Capelet
- Backpack
- Glovelet
- Wristlet
- Leggings
- Slippers
- Socks

Photography is really easy. Really: Click. Boom. Done. Playing the piano is easy, too: Press several keys and voilá. I do a lot of manual metering and so on, but really, the cameras these days are better at it than me. And a good hunk of Carl Zeiss glass can make toenail clippings look amazing. But photography (and playing the piano), because it is so easy, is really hard, too. I, myself, do not call myself a photographer. I take photographs, but, of the thousands of photos I have taken, I haven't yet taken a single photo that transcends beyond the image captured. Once I finally take that photo, I might call myself a photographer. (Like this guy is a Photographer.) But I try and try and one day, maybe, I will take a photo someplace and then that photo will take someone else someplace else, and then, finally, I might be a photographer.

When photographing my own Sewing Clothes Kids Love, the risks I were taking were mostly my own. If the reader didn't like my styling, well, it was my photography styling of my clothes of my designs (and Sabine Pollehn's, of course) and I was striving for something back then that was different from other books on the bookstore shelf. If a reviewing reader said it looked like "weird drama clown-like clothes" (like that's a bad thing...?), I'm fine with it: Everybody is entitled to an opinion and I appreciate even that feedback (...maybe not the first time I read it...or the tenth...but, now years later, yeah, okay, there's a point of view I can respect, I s'pose...).  But in photographing someone else's work -- sheesh -- that's a huge leap of faith. I wanted to tell stories, as well as feature the items. I hope it worked. I hope Kate is pleased and I hope the knitters of the world like the book as well. 

The projects are quite adorable and there's something in there for everyone: From cutting edge to classic design. I am quite humbled to have been entrusted with someone else's very personal, from-the-heart work. And for that I want to thank the folks at Quayside/Creative Publishing International.

Here's a taste of what is in Knitting Clothes Kids Love.





And, as always, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my wonderful girl. She is such a trooper and actually enjoys being in front of the camera. She'll put on a Red Riding Hood Cape or Cinderella slippers or kiss a frog, no probs, mama mia. (And my son is in there, too, and I love that kid to pieces, too). My daughter's sweet, sweet friends, who modeled for us, were also marvelous, marvelous models. Kids are just awesome, is all I'm saying.


Knitting Clothes Kids Love is scheduled for release on January 1st and is available for pre-order on Amazon now.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Twelve Twelve Twelve

Okay: 12 days until Christmas Eve. 9 days until the Earth crashes into the planet Nibiru at the conclusion of the long-count Mayan calenday. BUT only 2 days until the theatrical release of The Hobbit!

I just watched REM's Micheal Stipe sing with Coldplay's Chris Martin on the 12•12•12 Robinhood disaster relief fundraising concert. That, and once I see Peter Jackson's Hobbit, I think I will have lived a pretty full life; Nibiru can come.


Since I am confident all things Hobbit will be The Next Big Thing, this will be my Christmas present to you. I need to draft up the size set, hadn't gotten to it today, but I will get to it before the world ends--

OMG! I interupt this post to geek out over Paul McCartney singing Helter Skelter live!

Okay, I'm back. Anyway, this is a simple capelet. Four pattern pieces total. It is simple, simple, simple thing to sew. I did add welted pockets, because, well, I always add a few vegetables on the plate, even if you don't eat them...Welted pockets are good for you! Just try a little.


It has some Middle Earth flare. And a lot of varied wearing options. Well, I better get to drafting. More on this later.

Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Giving Thanks



Does anyone here remember the sit com "Three's Company"? Stupid 80s stuff, but do you remember Stanley Roper? Anyway, Mr. Roper was this lecherous landlord, who flirted with the hot young things renting his apartments while rebuking the amatory advances of his wife Helen. Mr. Roper, in other words, got hot in the wrong ways at the wrong times in the wrong places.

Much like my stove, also named Mr. Roper.



As such, cooking is not much my thing. But Thanksgiving is the one holiday, much like dear Helen Roper, on which I have to get it on with Mr. Roper as best I can, for better or worse.

With Mr. Ropers's assistance, we've continued our Thanksgiving traditions this year again:

Tradition 1: I burned the apple pie.
Tradition 2: I did not defrost the turkey long enough and opt for Cornish game hens *ahem* "personal poultry".
Tradition 3: Toss the leftovers and head out of town for two days of no cooking.



Thank you, dear friends, for sewing, sharing, caring and being plain groovy.

Happy Thanksgiving (a little late, yeah, but I'm still grateful).

I'd be grateful for any new gas range recommendations you might have, too!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Halloween, is what.

My gal wanted to be "cupid". Cupid? What is a cupid costume? A diaper?

"No, like a girl, who flies around shooting love arrows."

Right. Whatever.

Rummage...rummage...rummage through my fabrics... A bit of red velvet--yes. Black velvet ribbon--okay. Wait, this silvery coated twill--I like the way it looks with the velvet and the ribbon...what about gingham...?

Anyway, this is what I came up with. More of a steampunk love warrior. She was happy. I'm happy. All good.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bad Mummy!

For you, a little Halloween treat I thought up. Your treat is also a trick.You'll see how in a minute.

These little bendable, posable, glow-in-the-dark mummies are a fun Halloween decoration to place anywhere around your haunted house. We play "Boo" in our neighborhood, and these are  great for that, too. And easy, easy lemon-squeezey to make. So lemon-squeezey, that you can make them with your kids together (but only after you trick them first, deal?).

Hallo Deutschland! Bzw. Der deutschsprachige Raum... Tolle Feiertage habt ihr eigentlich ausreichend. Für den Fall, daß auch Halloween mal bei euch auch ausnahmsweise vorkommt, diese Halloween-Deko-Treat ... und Trick! Ganz, ganz einfach gemacht...

Pretty self explanatory, but I'll explain nonetheless...

Here are the supplies you will need:

• 12 gauge aluminum floral wire (yes, a wire hanger could work, but, dang it, if that kind of wire isn't hard to manipulate and bend. This floral wire is much bendier, much better).

• Some batting.

• Some googly eyes.

• And glow-in-the-dark Duck Tape (brand) duct tape.

Du brauchst 

• Dicker, doch schön biegsamer (Alu-)Blumendraht

• Watte

• Glubschaugen

• Nachleuchtende Panzerband. Bei uns gibt's die Marke "Duck Tape" und hat alle mögliche Farben und Muster, auch nachleuchtend. Vielleicht gibt's das inzwischen bei euch auch.

Bend your wire into a body shape. Bend the wire back into loops for the hands and feet, so that no wire is pokey. Make sort of a cage of wire for the head. Nothing really fancy, just enough to get a basic body in proportion.

Biege den Draht in Form eines Körpers. Forme doch jeweils Schlingen für die Füßchen und Händchen. Für den Kopf einen Käfig aus Draht formen. Muß alles nicht perfekt sein.

Tear your batting into strips and wrap it around your wire body frame. Wrap a little extra batting around the torso.

Reisse die Watte längst in Streifen. Die Streifen um die Drahtform wickeln. Etwas mehr Watte um den Bauch herum wickeln.

The Duck (brand) duct tape is cloth, so it tears easily into strips. Tear pieces of Duck Tape approximately two feet long and then tear these strips further into long strips anywhere from 1/8" to 1/4" in width. Nothing scientific here: Just long, thin strips.

Diese "Duck Tape"-Band besteht aus Stoff und lässt sich einfach längst in schmalen Streifen reissen. Solltest du "Duck Tape" nicht kennen bzw. nicht besorgen können, kannst auch diese chirurgische Band aus Stoff benutzen. Hat doch jeder Apoteke.

Wrap these Duck Tape strips around your body. Make sure you cover all the batting.

Also, lange, schmale Streifen reissen und diese um deine Mumie wickeln. Muß wieder nicht perfekt sein. Hauptsache, die Watte ist überall gedeckt.

Glue on the googly eyes.

Glubschaugen ankleben.

Add bits of Duck Tape over the edges of the eyes or hanging from the hands, as you think look best.

Nach Wunsch etwas Band um die Augen kleben. Auch Stückchen Band von den Händen etc. kleben.

Now...for the fun... These are glow-in-the-dark Bad Mummies. So go and be a bad mummy yourself: Hide these restless souls in your child's room in places within eyesight of her sweet sleepy-time pillow, maybe her closet ... or peeking from between her books ... or hidden among her dolls on the shelf ... so that when she turns out her lights to go to sleepy-sleep...


Und für den Trick: Diese sind Leuchtmumie. Also, verstecke diese Mumien in Ecken des Kinderzimmers, dort im Schrank... bzw. im Bücherregal ... eventuell zwischen den Puppen... So dass, wenn Kindlein das Licht ausmacht um einzuschlafen...


She'll see these funny mummies glowing and get the begeezus scared out of her!

Hey, they take our social lives, our careers, our figures and every last ounce of our patience--and even though we'd never have it any other way--you, as a loving parent, have to mess a little with your kids when you get the chance, right?

Remember, this is a decoration and not a toy for the littlest ones, okay?

Ach was, diese Kinder entnehmen uns unser Sozialleben, unsere Karrieren, unsere Figuren und jede Unze unseres Gedulds--und anders hätten wir's natürlich nie haben wollen, absolut nicht--trotzdem, als liebendes Elternteil muß frau doch die Kinder ab und zu mal ein wenig überwinden, nicht?

Und denke dran: Diese sind Deko-Teile und nicht für die Kleinen als Spielzeug geeigent, gell'?


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