our weekend. brought to you by the letter "C"



Cucumbers. grown right on the science barge. i took a tour friday. such a smart idea and great tool for educating. if new york made use of its rooftops for hydroponic greenhouses and green-roof gardening, we would be able to grow enough food to feed the entire city, if not most of the metro area. incredible. complete space efficiency and no importing!

the barge and its components are constructed almost completely of re-used or recycled materials and operates on the power its solar array panels and wind turbines collect. no pesticides, no chemical treatments, just vitamins and minerals fed to the plants through the recirculating hydroponic system. the water they use is a combination of collected rainwater and water pumped strait up from the hudson, which they filter using a reverse osmosis system. the whole thing was amazing and exciting. the tour guide was british and used the word "reckon" which made me love that little barge even more. the tomatoes, butter lettuce and cucumbers grown right there on the barge (and graciously given to our little group) made a great salad with friday night's home-made pizza.



Cape. eve's good friend turned three on saturday, so i made him a reversible cape. one side is superman while the other is personalized for said friend, whose name happens to begin with a "C." i was inspired by the reversible superman/batman cape my mother-in-law gave eve on her third birthday, which is worn daily around here. this was a lot of fun to make. i love felt. i love cutting through it. i love sewing on it. and i love love love superheroes, especially when they're three years old.

eve was adorable during the process, "you working on my friend's superman cape, mom? you workin hard. ooh, i love dat cape mommy. so special!" she also loved trying it on and testing it out before it was wrapped up and given away.

Cheesecake. happy father's day chip. since you are one of the skinnier men i've ever known, let me try to fatten you up by making you this unbelievably good cheesesake that just happens to have 514 grams of fat packed into it's pretty little cakey body. 514!! FIVE bars of cream cheese, 1/4cup heavy cream, one PINT of sour cream, SEVEN eggs, some butter and some graham crackers and you've got 514 fat grams begging to be consumed and double the size of my love handles, while adding nothing to chip. but, it is really, really good, and i fool myself into thinking it isn't so bad for me if i have a few fresh raspberries with it.

no picture with this one. after all the revealing of its fat contents i'm too emabarassed (and horrified) to show how much we've eaten in just two days.


Console. oh, fine, it's a desk. we've been planning to have the desk stretch from wall to wall since we moved in a year and a half ago. this weekend it finally happened. one and a three-quarter solid-core doors painted and joined together. a chair for the computer and a chair for the sewing machine. now chip and i won't have to breathe down each other's necks asking "are you finished? are you almost done? so, how much longer are you going to be working here? . . ." every other minute when one of us is in the chair and the other wants to sit and work. it's no craft room (sigh) but it feels good. . . almost as good as when we got our couch and realized we could both lay down, fully stretched out without having to touch each other. now we just need to find a way to upgrade the double bed. . .

the weekend. there it is, or at least the "c" parts. you're missing out on the tantrums, the general destruction and the drawing everywhere with pen and marker, but i'm going to pretend that none of that ever happened.




i love you, dad. i love that when bitten by a rattlesnake you killed it, sucked the venom from your hand and kept right on working. i love that you were in a band called "wildfire." i love that you get choked up. i love your loud laugh- the chuckle is nice too, but i prefer the loud laugh and how it is only lasts a moment. i love that you called us "knuckleheads." i love remembering you pounding on my bedroom floor (your celiing) when i was talking too late and too loud on the phone. i love your wheat pancakes. i love your chopped off finger and wish, oh wish, i had real memories of looking for the tip of it before mom rushed you off to the hospital. i love that you played the guitar for us to sing to. i love your donald duck impression. i love that very, very loud clap of yours. i love the many memories of playing volleyball or performing in a concert or a play and hearing that clap in the crowd. i love that i can't buy buttermilk without imagining you putting a little pepper on it and gulping it down. i love thinking of those talks you used to have with me when i was punk teenager . . . oh, i hated them then, but thinking of your concern now makes me teary-eayed. i love that you have always encouraged us to be happy in life, and that success is not a word with narrow meaning. i love your self-control, your incredible example of hard work and patience, and the fact that i've always known that you love me, even when i was at my worst.

so, thanks dad, for all the reasons you've given me to love you. happy father's day.


"my byself!"

eve has a new passion; photography. she grabs the camera, finds her subjects and shoots away, entirely on her own. "i do it my byself, mommy." ok, eve.

here is a sampling of her work:







happy birthday bobby


i love you bobby. i love that you let me dress you up as a girl over and over and over, makeup and all. i love that you made a "treasure hunt" for the family by drawing dollar signs on the all the walls and carving even more into the window sills. i laugh every time i think of mom making you run laps around the house with the hope of calming you down. i laugh even harder when i think of you walking down the hall complaining to mom that none of your "panties" were clean. and i secretly love, although it is completely disgusting, to remember all the meals you created with ranch dressing as the main course.

it is hard for me to think of you and not immediately picture the chubby 13 year old i left at home when i went off to college. . . but now you're all grown up. you're married (to someone i'm legitimately looking forward to being friends with) and have a life all your own. but you're still so fun to be near. you are so easy to laugh and joke with. and you still have the amazing gift of making people feel welcome and at ease. i'm lucky to have you for a brother and even luckier that you've forgiven me (you have, haven't you?) and like me after all the torture i put you through as a child.

happy birthday bobby. come to visit us soon.


saturday is a special day. . .

it's the day you get an air conditioner (if yours has been kind-of stolen) and then take off to governor's island for a wretchedly humid but happy day.


ferry ride to the island, just off the southern tip of manhattan.

when i told eve we were going on a boat to spend the day on an island, she went silent. eyes wide, she whispered "like pirates?" "yep, like pirates, eve." "well [pause] i need a pink pirate hat mom." if only. . .


fancy show from one of the harbor's fire boats.


old-timey music.


a quiet firetruck. "i like a fireman. help! i save you!"

randomly running into good friends from staten island and spending the rest of our island time having fun with the rasmussens.


hula hoops. nice form, chip.


craft time. eve and chip worked the front half while ruth and i handled the tail. the sequins for eyelashes! the red lips!

a lot of wandering for all, some napping for ruth, then back to brooklyn. back to summer cleaning, a little sewing, grocery shopping and sleeping in a freshly cooled apartment.



each memorial day weekend chip and i have a special tradition. we talk about going somewhere, doing something extra special only to end up sitting around for three days. but this year we went to boston with the beans. it took us awhile to finally commit to going (tradition and all. . .) but i am so, so glad we did. we fell in love with the city.


gorgeous. some of the most beautiful neighborhoods i have ever seen. brick sidewalks, overflowing flowerboxes, stately architecture and beauty. . . block after block after block. beacon hill and back bay were particulalry impressive with their gold-leaf "7 Eleven" signs and regal homes. south end, while not as posh, was also charming and lovely.


the coolest mormon church building we've seen. it is as great inside as it is out. no carpeted walls (the church is renting the space).

happy people. it almost made me uncomfortable. no creepiness involved, i'm just not used to strangers actually engaging in conversation, for several minutes.

"wicked cool." used by native bostonians in conversations mentioned above. loved it.


the size. the city is little, but full. perfect for walking.


the history. all those days sitting in elementary school and high school classes learning about the beginnings of america almost paid off. historical ignorance aside, it was great to take it all in.


old cemetaries. of the things i love, the haunting beauty of simple, faded gravestones is among the top five.

the charles river. wow. sunday evening we took a two hour stroll along the river. the sun was low, the perfect lighting for admiring the world. the sun skipped and danced on the water, sending soft golden light everywhere. a few sailboats were out, one rower and even a gondola, complete with accordian player/singer. perfect. the camera battery died before i could get a shot.


the subway. clean and user friendly.


swan boats. this is one of eve's favorite books, so the ride highly anticipated. the experience lived up to the hype (the hype we created to help out during some rough patches on the drive up) and was eve's favorite part of "botson."

sailing. if you live in boston and are between 10 and 18 years old there is a (government?) funded program that teaches you how to sail. during the summer you can go anytime during the week as often or as little as you like and learn how to sail. and it only costs $1.00 for the entire summer. $1.00! that alone makes us want to move there.


universities. amazing universities. the life and vibrance of college towns is exciting and so full of possibility, especially when the town is home to MIT and harvard.


great friends. they always make everything more fun.



remember that amazing spring weather i was telling you about? well, it's going and summer is on its way. i'm not happy. i do not like summer and when it is here i complain about it. a lot. i try to stop myself but i just can't. i'm miserable when i'm sticky and hot. i think i have reverse seasonal affective disorder. do they make that? if they do, i've got it.

my summers in new york usually go like this: run air conditioner full blast, try try try to get the girls to love being inside. shows! forts! projects! books! treats! tumbling practice! games! dancing! anything! until i finally give in to their incessant requests ("let's catch the sunshine, mommy! come on! nice and warm!") and go to the park. while at the park i sweat more than any female should, squint, wish oh wish that i could tear all my clothes off and sit in a garbage can full of cool water like i did when i was a kid, try to stop the girls from burning their little thighs on the red-hot slides, come home with a headache, and dream of living in a world whose temperature never rises above 78 degrees. . . i'm dreading the summer days ahead.

of course, there are things that help. the red hook pool often saves the day. free, enormous, cool water, giant wading pool complete with sprinklers, ridiculously strict rules about what you can wear and take on deck thus making everything clean and the pool offensive-shirt-free. i love you, red hook pool. except when you are too full of people and won't let desperate me and my girls in. then i hate you. i also hate you when we have to get out because sombody has gone #2 in you. although, that really isn't your fault. but can't you come up with some rule?. . . oh wait, you already have, rule #2 (ha!) : "No urinating or defecating in the pools." clear and concise, well done.

and then there is the beach. sand to scoop and pile, cool breezes, waves to watch and occassionally jump into. i love you, jacob riis beach. except when it's so windy that sand is pelted into my eyeballs and gets stuck to my watermelon. then i hate you. i also hate you when the helicopters overhead fly so low that i feel like i need to duck to avoid decapitation and poor eve is huddled in terror under her towel with her arms over her eyes and head, just waiting for the torture to end.

but, happily, there is one saving grace of summer that i just can't hate, no matter how low the helicopters fly and regardless of the bowel movements of others. and that is a good summer dress. an entire outfit in one fell swoop? heaven. minimal contact with the skin? perfect. nice air flow and circulation that almost lets me forget i'm clothed? brilliant. summer dresses, i love you. and, conveniently enough, i just happen to like making you. for little girls there is nothing easier than whipping up a simple little summer dress. and for myself, even if i don't have a dress pattern that i love, but a shirt pattern that i do, i just lengthen the shirt and, voila! a dress fit for a middle-class, stay-at-home brooklyn mom.

here are a few that i've come up with in preparation for the hideous heat ahead:


vintage fabric from the humane society thriftstore in brookings, oregon. $0.50. i wish i had enough to make something for ruth and myself.


i actually made this last year for eve, but it fits ruth's little body perfectly now. the strapless is really darling but just about as practical for an 18-month-old as you'd think. however, i refuse to put straps on this one. for the 1 minute and 20 seconds she wears it before pulling it down around her waist, i am absolutely in love.


one of ms. wendy mullin's patterns again. that inset is a little tricky, but manageable. this is an example of a shirt pattern that i lengthened. i also did a little sleeve alteration- opted for making cap over the flutter in the pattern. i've been concerned it looks too much like a hospital gown, but this picture makes me sure that i really do like it.


this is from a vintage tunic pattern, with some adjustments like buttons and little cuffs, inspired by (fine, copied directly from) alysha's adjustments to the same pattern. who doesn't love a dress with pockets?

summer, i hope you're gentle and kind to me this year. but if you aren't, at least my girls and i will have some cute dresses to wear that just might stop me from complaining for the first 20 minutes i'm outside.


i love spring

the weather has been amazing. we're in heaven. here's a little view of how we've spent our time the last few days:


making little shorts and pants for the girls to run around in.


sitting around. lying around.

*i love chip's spindly legs here. i could blame it on camera distortion, but that's exactly what the man's legs look like. the shot of ruth and i sitting (one of her favorite past-times) is included only so you can see how cute her little feet are, not to showcase the fact that i didn't brush my hair once this past monday.


loving the fountains and museum.


checking out new flowers and visiting favorite playgrounds.

smiling and jumping. a lot.

a good week so far.


feliz cumpleanos jeanie


i love you jeanie. i love thinking about all the time you spent braiding my hair when we were younger so i could look pretty on the first day of school and valentine's day (heart shaped french braid, anyone? jeanie's your gal). i love that you made my wedding cake. i love your laugh, and how easily it comes. i love how kind and gentle you've always been. i love going to garage sales with you, or any kind of sales. i love how fun and easy it is to spend time with you. i wish i had more of that time.

although it has been 15 years since we lived in the same house, you've made your mark on my life. i make no-bake cookies, know a ridiculous amount of erasure songs, and think of you every time i buy smooth peanut butter. is there another child in the world who requested smooth jif peanut butter for christmas?

happy birthday jeanie, can't wait to laugh together again soon.



tuesday night i taught the art of freezer paper transfers to a group of women at church. such a fun project. friends and family, if you don't know how to do this, we should talk. it is so so easy and a great option for gifts- particularly for the babes. in fact, if you are having a baby anytime soon, you now know what's most likely coming your way . . .

here are some examples i made for the ladies to see:


and here are two of them in action:


all you need is some freezer paper, an x-acto knife, a shape, a shirt/onesie, fabric paint, an iron and you are on your way. . .

i first did freezer paper transfers last year. for father's day i made a silhouette of the girls and painted ruth's on one t-shirt of chip's and eve's on another. i won't be shy, i think the idea is pure gold. you should do it. better than a tie, right? although if i could figure out how to make him a tie. . . or maybe it's time to enact my secret plans and make him the bright yellow sweatsuit?. . . could be the best father's day known to man . . .

*if any of you do plan to try this out freezer paper transfers, do a little research online or talk to me, there are a couple things you need to do to prevent total frustration.

UPDATE: see here for a solid tutorial with all necessary details included!