backlog: shirt

i'm behind on documenting things i've made. in an attempt to catch up, i post this shirt which i made in may. simplicity 4589, same pattern as this dress, with adjustments again.


as i was making the shirt with this fabric, i was sure it would end up looking ridiculous. but, i like it enough to wear around the neighborhood (which actually means nothing- the bar for "things to feel good about wearing in prospect heights" is set very, very low. . .). but, i do also wear it to church, which does mean something.

the oh-so-smooth self-portrait in the car is shown to give you a sense of the actual colors. in the first photo, the white-balance setting for the camera was on (i have yet to actually "balance" the white). i couldn't adjust it enough in post-production without being too obvious (i.e. my skin turning green). and i now am realizing that the wind blowing distorted the actual shape of the shirt (less maternity than it appears) but you get the idea.

and because i like them alright, here is the rest of my family on the way home from church in staten island today:


p.s. if you haven't seen the video clip from on the previous post, do scroll down and watch it. you'll get a total picture of who my little girls are lately.


crafts of love: mary


chip's mother, mary, made this quilt for eve when she was brand new. i love this quilt. it reminds me of the magic that filled our lives when our very first little baby, our little eve, joined our family. it reminds me of the strange and incredible understanding i had of who she was as i carried her those nine months. i knew she would have the attitude and smile she has, i knew what she would look like and how she would remind me so much of myself. . . i just knew her. and each time i pull this out to sit under with eve, i remember that time and i appreciate the little magical girl just a little more.

i also appreciate the magic behind the quilt. this quilt began years and years ago as mary had the foresight and creativity to save all those shirts of chip's and his dad's. all those great shirts from the 80s that were unabashedly full of pink. i'm sure there were moments when she thought of tossing them, wondering if they were really worth the space they consumed in her ultra organized home (mary's homekeeping skills will put anyone to shame). but i'm so glad she didn't. i love looking at the little squares of strips and imagining pink-shirted chip running around with his mullet, knobby knees and a walkman twice the size of our video camera hooked onto his shorts. i love thinking of bob, chip's dad, on his casual day, sporting a pink plaid button up and maybe grilling some burgers. i love the bits of history that are preserved in this blanket. all the time bob put into working to pay for them, the time pre-adolescent chip spent checking out his triceps in the mirror while wearing them, and the time mary spent laundering and caring for them. i love imagining her as she cut them up years later. remembering those pink-shirt times, what her joys and worries were and reflecting on all the change and new life that has come to her little family. and then knowing the care and patience she took as she planned, arranged, pieced and bound. all to give something to this newest little life, to let the tiny baby know that she is welcome. that she is a part of a family that loved her long before we met.


maybe i am over-romanticizing all of this, but isn't that part of the glory of homemade? the thoughts, ideas, reflections and, ultimately, the love that is given through these things? these things we make and are made for us, or even better, for our children? i love it. i celebrate it. and today i celebrate mary for the many ways she loves us; her worry, her conversation, her heralding, her generosity, her intensity, her sympathy, her unquestionable care, and most of all (today at least) the time she gave to the blanket that warmed my first little baby girl. the blanket that serves as a continual reminder of who eve is, because it reminds her of who she came from.

happy birthday mary. i love you.

here is a little movie chip put together of the out-takes that happened this morning as we tried to record the girls singing the happy birthday song to their grammie. for some unknown reason, eve bawls at the end of this, no matter how many times she has seen it. it makes me want to bawl too. where did that tiny baby go?


camping, city style

every year a group of moms go camping to a beautiful little campground on lake whaley just outside of pawling, ny for a few days. we do camp in tents, use a campfire to cook hot dogs and kebabs and i even made some dutch oven peach cobbler for everyone, but that's as hard core as it gets at camp liahona. showers, bathrooms and refrigerators are involved, as are trips to the grocery store (10 minutes away) to restock the marshmallows. our five man tent was filled with our queen-sized aerobed mattress (that i used an adapter in my car to fill up) complete with sheets and quilt, and a pak-n-play for ruth.

this year, since the trip fell near the 4th of july, chip was able to come up and spend almost the entire time with us. so great. he put the girls down and fell asleep right alongside them each night, while i was able to inhale smoke around the campfire and watch stars with good friends.

i hardly took any pictures at all, which means that i was either too lazy or having too much fun. i choose having too much fun. the beautiful two hour canoe ride we took with the girls all around lake whaley, looking at homes, ducks, some fish and even a muskrat (gross) is not documented. neither is the fact that they were both sound asleep by the end of it. i'll have to rely on the kindness of friends to send me some pictures of the girls fearlessly swimming in the lake for hours on tuesday. this is a tangent, but the girls are awesome little swimmers. ruth is amazing at kicking and holding her breath. she's also surprisingly good at trying to get herself to air when the water goes above her head. never scared and always willing to go back for more practice. with floaties on eve, we'd swim eve out to the dock and practice jumping into the lake. she'd go all by herself, refusing any help or joint-jumping. down she'd go, pop right up, spit out some lake water and kick herself close enough to be pulled up again for the next jump. it wasn't until she got the idea that sharks were in the lake that she got a little nervous. unwilling to accept that they did not live in the lake, it was decided that they were asleep. with the sharks safely tucked in bed, eve kept on swimming all around like a little mermaid. i also missed, yet again, a chance to document chip being the sea monster. every year he pulls this out and every year he gets enough of a response from the kids to keep him going. happily, alysha got a shot of it, so check it out over here. the stuff is just as smelly as it looks. i also missed the running and playing with friends, the staring at the caught frog, the sneaking into others' tents and the amazement of hearing an owl in the night.

i did, however, have the camera out just long enough to get some shots of ruthie, who has been sadly neglected here lately.




we went home still terrified of bugs and hating s'mores (eve), more attached to our bink than ever (ruth), determined to make a better cobbler next year (me) and wanting a nice, long nap (chip), and all just a little sick. but we still love camp liahona and, as always, were glad to get a little of the quiet that comes with it.

and for the fourth of july fireworks we were back in brooklyn, sound asleep. like good americans.



evening attempts at documenting the latest cape were unsuccessful inside the apartment, so we headed to the roof.



superman on one side and t-man on the other, for eve's newly 4-year-old friend, t. if 18-month-olds are capable of crushes, which is starting to get a little creepy the more i think about it, then this guy was officially eve's first crush. she loved him. until he got his hair cut. after the long blonde hair was gone, she wouldn't look at him (which happened to look almost exactly like her own, minus the curls. . . maybe that was the fascination). but happily, a year and a half later, his hair is longer and she likes him just fine. particulalrly because he spent almost 45 minutes of a train ride home laughing hysterically as eve said (over and over and over) "i need to go potty!" in a crazy robot voice. her first joke. . . and boy, was it funny.

the boy is obsessed with superheroes, so i'm pretty sure he'll be in heaven with the cape, which is quickly becoming my standard gift for the 3-4 year-old set, and maybe even some special 2-year-olds.

-clever segue back to the roof-

we have dreams for this roof- part green roof, part deck, perhaps a hydroponic greenhouse, a la the science barge? the chrysler and empire state buildings and a good chunk of manhattan skyline can be seen up there. and after spending the last six years in either basement or first floor apartments, it felt so good to be above the treeline and movement of the street. this roof could be amazing. but, like most things in our building, it will take about ten times longer than it should or could and by that time, we'll have (hopefully) moved on to a bigger place. until then, we'll use the keys that chip is given as a member of the co-op board and go up there every once in awhile to hatch some new schemes, look over our little part of brooklyn and model some capes.



i feel like a pioneer

today i turned what was left of this:


into this:



i was so happy with that, i decided to turn what was left of this:


into this:


cinnamon butter!

10 minutes of shaking and i feel like i could have walked the plains.


*just in case you are feeling sorry for me, the poor girl who apparently went all the way through the mormon church's primary system without ever making butter in baby food jars on pioneer day, don't. you can rest assured that my primary leaders did not fail me. i'm just a little slow (16 years slow) to figure out real-life application.

i did, however, go all the way through the young women's program without ever once learning how to cross stitch, knit or crochet. how did that happen?


she's got skills

for the first two and a half years of her life, eve refused to do any art projects. she would, occasionally, be willing to pick up a black pen and scribble or draw a circle. but crayons? markers? glue? heavens, no. not unless i shamelessly bribed her, and even then it never turned out well for us. . . . until the magic of stamping with oranges. thank you, kids craft weekly. for the first time eve didn't complain or sit lethargically, and i didn't end up wanting to melt all the crayons down into one giant brick and throw it through the window. it was an art-day miracle.

since that glorious day she has totally developed as an artist. she is a minimalist, often drawing just a few lines in the same color as the paper, but she does it and really likes it. painting, drawing, cutting, stamping and sculpting, she'll do it all. she's intense and will occassionally get really angry about the outcome of a project and cry or tear it up, but for the most part she seems willing to accept the slow evolution of her abilities.


on sunday she reached a new level; she drew her first person! her daddy and then our whole family, right on chip's birthday poster. no arms, hair or noses. we have only the essentials- head, eyes, mouth and two long legs. i'm in love. . . with the art and with eve all over again.


weekend cakes

the weekend is over and i'm happy. with a talk and a lesson at church for me, interviews and a lesson at a training meeting for chip, sunday was busy and exhausting. not the best way to celebrate a birthday. but, all the busy-ness of the weekend aside, we were able to enjoy the incredible weather, eat some good food and have some birthday cake.

this time around i went for carrot cake, specifically "the world's best carrot cake." i love ridiculous claims like this. but, in fairness, this cake is so good. it's the orange zest in the cream cheese frosting that does it. eve was my special helper with the cake. she was sure that adding some linguine noodles would have really made it something special. normally i trust her judgement but i just wasn't so sure about this one. . . so, i passed on the noodles. but i am curious . . . just how gross would that be?


i went for a small 6-inch, three layer cake and had batter to spare for cupcakes. didn't have time to wait for the cake to cool completely, so the frosting melted and the layers kind of slid around on top of one another. and apparently, i didn't have time to wait for the picture before eating half my piece either. . . but looks aside, it was, and always is, really good.

World’s Best Carrot Cake

preheat oven 350. grease, flour, wax paper, grease three round pans.

1.5c whole wheat flour
2/3c white flour
2tsp baking soda
2tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp nutmeg
1/4tsp ginger
combine and set aside

1c sugar
1c brown sugar
1c buttermilk
3/4c veg oil
4 eggs
1.5tsp vanilla
stir until well blended. add to flour mixture along with following:

1lb grated carrots
8oz can crushed pineapple, drained
1c chopped walnuts (pecans)
1c flaked coconut
1/2c raisins
bake until tests done, about 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes then remove from pans and cool completely. frost with following frosting:

cream cheese frosting

1/2c butter, soft
8oz cream cheese, soft
beat, then add:

16oz powdered sugar
2 tsp grated orange rind
1tsp vanilla

and here we have last weekend's cheesecake. i can't be sure this is the world's best (but don't think it isn't amazing, 'cuz it is) but i'm willing to bet it is the world's fattiest, so here it is:

World's Fattiest Cheesecake

preheat oven to 500.

1c graham cracker crumbs
1/3c sugar
1/4c melted butter
mix and press into springform and chill

5 packages cream cheese
1 1/3c sugar
3Tbs flour
grated rind of one lemon
lemon juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2tsp vanilla
blend hi speed. then add, one at a time:

5 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4c heavy cream
bake at 500 for 10 minutes. reduce heat to 250 and bake for 60 minutes.


1 pint sour cream
1tsp vanilla
1/4tsp salt

remove cheesecake from oven, increase temp to 500.

spread sour cream mixture on top, bake at 500 for 5 minutes more.

cool in pan, refrigerate overnight.

i've been eating some sort of "weekend" cake for almost every meal for the last two weeks, which has been really good in that completely gross way. . .


belated to chipper


i love you chip. i love that you can make me laugh in any situation. i love (although it really does drive me crazy) your constant paranoia that one of us is going to choke. i love that the first four thoughts i ever had about you were "his name's chip?" "he's skinny" "i like his hair" and "wow, he's so friendly." i love that on one of our first dates you got lost and we ended up just driving for over and hour, listening to music and laughing before finally finding our way. i love the memories of going to your studio and reading my psychology textbooks on the balcony while you painted. i love that you are the most honest person i have ever known, and consequently, the worst liar. i love how you become completely obsessed with ideas or projects that "could be so great." i love that you are constantly wanting to make everthing around you better. i love that you are so complete in your forgiveness. i love the way you hit your hand to your chest and hold it there when you laugh really hard. i love your strange knowledge about the classic rock genre. i love, really really love, thinking about the time you thought you broke your ankle. i love your unreasonable fear of rats and sharks. i love thinking about what a terrible apologizer you are. i love that you can sleep anywhere. i love imagining us old together. i love watching you dance with the girls. i love that you love them so much, and that they adore you in return. i love the stiff-arm stance you get whenever your are trying on a jacket or shirt. i love that you talked me into marrying you, because you were just sure it would be great. i love it that you were right.

happy birthday, chip . . . two days late.


a dress and a dork


the dress. i made this several weeks ago but keep forgetting to get chip to take a picture. this is the same pattern i've used before, simplicity 4589, with some adjustments (lengthening the shirt to a dress, lenghtening the sleeves, and tweaking the collar part. the results of the pattern without said tweaking are not great). and eve wanted to join in the early morning photo shoot. . . what picture isn't better for having her in it?



and here we have the dork. today chip e-mailed these to me along with a note saying, ". . .me at work the other day. i just want you to be thankful for the long hours i spend toiling here at the office." oh, chip. you have no idea how thankful i am. mostly because i have another reason to make fun of you and another forum in which to do so.


artwork by ethan


the new banner was drawn five years ago by my nephew ethan. my sister, sarah, husband and two kids came to visit us in brooklyn for nearly five weeks during the hottest july known to man. to date, that is one of the best months we've spent in new york.

five adults (mim was also staying with us for an internship that summer) and two kids crammed into our 700 square foot railroad apartment in windsor terrace without an air conditioner. it could have been horrible but it was so great. i love remembering that month. . . chip was in art school taking one or two summer classes, i was in-between jobs, eric was on summer break from dental school, and sarah and mia (2) and ethan (4) were game for anything and everything. so we all just hung out together, wandering through the city. parks, bridges, coney island, museums, shops, regis and kelly, dana carvey, chinatown, broadway, bakeries, trains, zoos, massages and plays in central park, playgrounds, stoopsales, driving tours. . . we were able to do so much and were never rushed or anxious, just hot, exhausted and happy.


i really, really loved that time. i loved that we were really able to share our world with them. it is sad to know that it will never happen again. everything lined up perfectly just for that one month of our lives. but i'm so glad we took advantage of it, before life and bigger responsibilities carried us away.

back to the drawing. here is the explanation (and subsequent inquiry) as recorded by sarah on the back:

"7-21-02 by ethan. this is a picture of the subway. brown spots are gum. [after being told all the spots he was seeing on the subway platorm were gum] ethan asks 'so, long time ago people chewed black gum?' there's the train and mom, dad, kate, chip, miriam, mia and ethan standing behind the yellow line."

we've been in love with this drawing for more than five years, always trying to display it but never in a way that has really done it justice. so, i'll hang it here for awhile. of all the pictures i've seen capturing the city, i don't like any nearly as well as i love ethan's portrait of new york life and the family we were for that one summer month.