laughter in april

1 04 2012

Best tiny sound ever?

When Bebe laughs, waking up from his afternoon nap, it’s almost stealthy – crinkly peeking eyes, a stretched-out drowsy smile, and a small clicking sound coming from the back of his throat. Where the usual rusty chuckles or peals of laughter would be if he were more awake. Weird + adorable + infectious laughter.

Completely unrelated, but this commercial quote also made me laugh a lot today,
“He has inside jokes with complete strangers… Mosquitos refuse to bite him out of respect.”
I’m not a beer drinker, even un-preggo, but DUDE I would love to be respected by mosquitos like that. A totally useful superpower, ne?

Hope you had some good laughs today, too.





farewell 2011

1 01 2012

You were a funny kind of year – exhausting in so very many ways, yet sprinkled with some wonderful grace notes – and I am relieved to see the end of you.

An interesting year lies ahead. We can expect regular blog posts again. We’ve lots to share & to celebrate. Tomorrow we’ll check-in briefly – we’re still traveling home across 8 states.

Right now I have a hotel bed to crash into, a tired three-year old who’s eager for his good-night story, and a new list to finish for another Year of Lovely Things.

For my Lovely friends from previous years, sorry for the holiday delays, sign-ups will go live Jan 2.

Wishing you all joy and well-being in the new year. See you again in 2012.





delightful things

12 08 2011

Savoring a few photo-less moments, as we wrapped up our home hunting trip and took a brief break by the sea:

swimming laps in the twilight just before dawn, and watching the sun rise in a blaze of rose and gold over the ocean;

sipping coffee with Mr P at a beachside cafe while Bebe happily devours scrambled eggs & a cut-up pile of small pancakes;

wading past the surf zone on a hot day and drifting in calm ocean swells;

building and rebuilding small sand castles around Bebe, who gleefully destroys them and then immediately throws his hands up in shock and pretends to be surprised by the destruction, dramatically howling, “Oh nooo! What happened? The sand castles are broken! What am I gonna do??”;

finding a couple absolutely lovely skeins of Madelinetosh DK at a local yarn shop;

watching evening fireworks with Mr P;

and heading home (current home) again.

Hope you have a lovely weekend.





lovely and wonderful

2 07 2011

It’s firefly season around here. Bebe and I are enchanted by their glimmers as we walk in the early evening woods. Given the option, he’d have us stay in one spot for an hour watching lights blink on through the trees and occasionally bumble into us, with the sound of birds rustling themselves into shelter for the night. However the rising tides of mosquitoes always drive us on and homeward.

Although much of our life is all upheaval these days, we are loving these simple summer moments: walking and hiking, sharing meals with friends, browsing through farm stands and farmers’ markets, swimming whenever possible, running through the rain, and – always – dancing.

[ lovely & wonderful : a bi-monthly meme wherein I share some of the things that have been inspiring my heart & imagination lately ]

WATCH


(“Brielle” by Sky Sailing/Adam Young, in case you can’t see the video here.)

LISTEN
getting my rock on lately with songs like this one by Ainu-Japanese artist Kamiki Aya (“Revolver”).

a little punk and a lot of pink, this song by Les Plastiscines sounds perfect for cool spring day dancing around in skirts and leggings AND for summer days heading to the beach (“Barcelona”).

really enjoying this live version of “My Boy Builds Coffins” by Florence & The Machine.

MAKE
There’s less impetus to knit with the deep heat of summer upon us, but there are so many lovely sewing and embroidery projects out there right now. A few of my favorites:

Dana of MADE is generously sharing a free & straight-forward tutorial on children’s striped summer shorts that I am eager to try for Bebe.

Also found a fun little tie-dye project for putting quick fireworks into a child’s plain t-shirt. Sweet! This free tutorial shared by Chrysalis of the Butterfly Jungle blog. Thanks 🙂 there will definitely be some impromptu t-shirt embellishment at our house this weekend.

a mini rainbow quilt pattern: what a sweet and simple idea! this would be a lovely project enlarged to a child’s bed or a picnic blanket, ne?

the embroidery designs are drawn straight from her garden and daily walks – love that – and her recent batch of mini stamps are completely adorable

and speaking of embroidery, bird artist Geninne Zlatkis has been creating some delicate embroidery and beaded embellishments of her bird watercolors that have been printed onto fabric. So beautiful!

if you find it helpful to have some craft structure/community, Christine has just launched her 2nd annual 52 crafts in 52 weeks, starting with different kinds of printing projects in July. Potato prints, here we come!

BROWSE

in a general summery theme, I wantwantreallywant a roll of these adorable gingham picnic linens from Neiman Marcus – blue gingham, please – they come in tearaway rolls like papertowels yet are actually cotton fabric and washable/reusable. How adorable and ingenious!

for your Etsy browsing pleasure, here’s a small collection of treasures I’ve found to celebrate this firefly season.

“Brighter than fireflies upon the Uji River
Are your words in the dark, Beloved.”

-by Amy Lowell, March 1917





shenanigans 2011

6 05 2011

Off for the weekend, with plenty of happy college-reunion silliness to commence. And for my crafty yarn lovers out there: see you at Maryland Sheep & Wool. WOOT!!

Not that I need more yarn. AT ALL. But it’s delightful to look and contemplate. Also, I am a huge sucker for merino wool, baby alpacas, Jacob sheep, little cashmere goats, and crazy fluffy rabbits. Last year I found a great vendor who makes hand carved brooms – he has a big truckload of broomstraw parked next to his tent. I’m hoping to get a mini-broom for Bebe, who has enthusiastically taken on sweeping as ‘his’ household chore.

If you’re there on Saturday around lunchtine, we’ll be the group of girls – possibly in silly hats hastily decorated with tons of silk flowers and fake birds – having a picnic in the grass near the music pavillion on giant blue Neat Sheets surrounded by bags of yarn.

Cherrs! and have a lovely weekend.





fields and flowers

16 04 2011

Spring is my favorite season – the renewal of energy, warmth, and light made visible. The burst of greenery reborn and the air full of flirty birdsong.

“when the world is puddle-wonderful.” – e.e. cummings

Bebe is delighting in finding dandelion puffs to blow. They are second-best to birthday candles, of which there have recently been many, but he loves being able to touch the puffballs with a careful finger, squash his cheek up to mine as we crouch together, and make huffing, spit and sputtering, laughing bursts of air that send each dandelion seed dancing away.

spring field

We visit gardens, yet he remains most impressed by the simple wildflowers we see in the fields and trees – small things he can touch or ignore at will.

spring tree

Spring is also the season when I most miss my old SLR. I like the convenience of a small digital point-and-shoot, but I miss the depth of field and layers of texture achieved with a good camera. Getting a nice digital SLR is far, far down on our list of priorities, so in the meantime we have pictures filled with flowery havoc.

And maybe a couple tiny flower fairies, too:

flower fairy - wip flower fairy - front flower fairy - back

I started working on a pattern and then realized there are already bunches of better ones out there. So if you’d like your own little blossomy friend, here’s a great tutorial by the creative team at Wee Folk Art.

What do you enjoy doing in your favorite season?





lovely and wonderful

2 04 2011

Between unexpected bouts of late spring snow – including today – we have been venturing to gardens, parks, and flower festivals; passing housebound rain days by muddling through art projects and indoor tent construction; cooking a lot of comfort food; and visiting with friends. Good times.

[ lovely & wonderful : a bi-monthly meme wherein I share some of the things that have been inspiring my heart & imagination lately ]

LISTEN
I have serious song love: following a tip from a blog friend, I looked up this song by The Civil Wars on YouTube and was instantly smiling and smitten by the vocals (“Barton Hollow,” live version – the official video is lovely, too).

I am putting this song on our 2011 spring soundtrack for those clear, early morning and late afternoon drives to wherever – those times of day when sunlight just floods everything and driving with the windows down is perfect, regardless of the temperature (“Ghosting” by Freelance Whales, live at SXSW 2010).

for something with a bit more groove, we’re really enjoying this collaboration between Japanese artists Tokyo No.1 Soul Set & Sara Mari (“接吻”).

I first stumbled across Le Hiboo videos last summer and have been a huge fan since then – I love how they set up their recording sessions all over Paris and host such a broad variety of international artists. This song by gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello is crazy fun (“Pala Tute,” live).

WATCH

I’ve posted an unplugged version of this song before (“Rocket Ship” by Big Rock Candy Mountain) – it was on our 2010 summer soundtrack – and that’s still Bebe’s favorite: he gets superexcited to see his uncle. “Go Uncle — !” he says, dancing and smiling, “Go! Let’s dancing!” I really like this new video, it’s from one of their live gigs in New Orleans.

MAKE
Purl Soho/Purl Bee has had so many great craft tutorials and projects kits for spring – how adorable are these bunny fingerpuppets? and also these knitted bunnies with accoutrements: teeny tiny veggies, bird nests, and shawls. !! the cuteness is overwhelming me here. (pssst….family: if you gift me either/both of these patterns, you’ll get some supercute stuff in return… Just sayin’ 😉 )

TASTE
Valarie from A Place Like This reminded me of my love for crepes this week, sharing her perfectly sized recipe – and who doesn’t love crepes stuffed with Nutella & strawberries for breakfast and/or tea?

like peanut butter? here’s a nice spin with almonds: honey & cinnamon roasted almond butter, recipe at The Chic Life

delicious parsnip soup, recipe from Orangette

the ultimate veggie burger, recipe from 101 Cookbooks. BTW, have you seen her new cookbook? Absolutely chock full of yumminess.

one of my favorite cookies? Hamentaschen – this is a great recipe from Not Derby Pie

GEEK OUT
I’ve been on a Doctor Who kick for the past few months. If you geek out over Doctor Who (as I do), you will appreciate these projects:

a toddler-sized iteration on the police-box-as-toy-playhouse;

this baby blanket by Wendy Moon Designs;

Gallifrey Rising, a collection of DW-inspired goodies at Etsy

STYLE
dreaming over the vintage-inspired line of children’s clothes over at Olive’s Friend Pop. We really can’t afford to buy boutique baby/toddler clothes, but the designs are delightful fodder for my sewing imagination.

HELP
Tomodachi Calling (tomodachi = friend in Japanese) is a charity webshop pulled together by a group of international friends who were living in and/or visiting Tokyo when the earthquake and tsunami struck to the north. They’ve gathered designs by various artists that can be printed on a variety of Cafe Press items – t-shirts, mugs, bags, etc. – and 100% proceeds go to the Japanese Red Cross Society. I really like the Swedish Baustudio design, it reminds me of the giant, puffy chrysanthemum blooms that I saw during winters in Japan.

According to estimates updated this week, at least 250,000 people are living in refugee shelters – as in, gymnasiums and the like. Japanese officials have also said that in the 3 most-impacted prefectures – Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima (a Japanese prefecture is the equivalent of a US state or Canadian territory) – at least 28,000 homes were destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami.
I’ve volunteered in a lot of Red Cross and similar municipal shelters, and I also worked with many families who lived in FEMA trailer parks for several years after Hurricanes Katrina & Rita hit the US Gulf coast. So time and again I’ve seen the impact that, for anyone who’s suffered such a catastrophic loss, getting your own living space is a huge step toward emotional and practical recovery. I’m intrigued by this innovative housing project for getting folks out of shelters and into more permanent housing. It’s one of many other rebuilding initiatives that I’m watching.

Reminder: If you’ve helped out with the Japanese relief effort, I still have 22 small Thank You tokens to give away. If you don’t want them for yourself, they’d all make cute little Easter presents.








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