"fifty cents a cap!"

caps for sale palette: round two 


rainbow skirt + grey shell top (any chance the girls have to call something "rainbow," they're taking it.. also, ignore wrinkles).




red denim shorts + checkered cap top 


ruth has declared she will "never ever never take pictures again for mommy. not until tomorrow ever. forever!" luckily, eve is still willing. even on a morning when she is rushing to get to school to get the bus to get to the museum of natural history to get to the butterfly exhibit to stretch her little finger out in the hope that a butterfly finds it a nice place to rest. 

no such luck, the butterflies went to the teacher's head instead. but eve was glad to have a rainbow skirt "because butterflies really love rainbows. for real. and when they see my rainbow stripes it makes them happy and that's better than dead." so true. 



waiting for the heat

i say that we are waiting for the heat now, as we search for socks to warm our chilly toes just after peeling off three sets of wet, cold clothes from our morning walk to school, and i mean it. but really, when the heavy heat of new york summer hits i will hardly be welcoming it. for now, though, on this shivery morning, we are waiting anxiously for some warmth and we are preparing. 

ruth wears her skirted swimsuit and practices "swimming" in the bathtub daily. eve discusses our upcoming summer stay in oregon and prepares for the risk of tsunamis (she asked for an example of a word that started with "ts" and out came "tsunami". we're now going on week five of tsunami-related conversations... if only i had thought to say "tsar"..). little charlie remains blissfully unaware of plans beyond his daily task of finding the colored pencils and distributing them as far and wide throughout the house as possible, but his little legs are practicing standing on their own so he can be ready for the summer playing. and me, i am sewing. sewing for the day when we no longer need layers or socks or something warm to drink. 


summer sewing is my favorite. skirts, easy dresses, uncomplicated shirts, jumpers and shorts. done. 

these shirts will be repeated in several different fabrics for the upcoming season. maybe with different details, or maybe the same. i'm a sucker for rolled sleeves and ribbon loops.. 

there will be more shorts, too. i always forget how easy pants and shorts are. in fact, i'm almost tempted to say they are easier than skirts.. they come together so quickly. testing my pattern by making three pair in one day was easy and totally do-able, not torture, for me or the kids. and even if only the final pair fit the way i wanted (flowered denim wins), i can tell myself that the other two pair are great too. after all, they are shorts, and shorts don't need to be perfect. shorts just need to allow little legs to run and play and dance in the sprinklers. and that is the glory of summer sewing. 

someday little charlie will be included in the sewing. i have no choice, really. soon all he has will be too heavy and too short for his skinny legs. and soon i will not be crouching in front of this computer, rubbing my feet together for warmth, i will be on the playground watching as all three red-faced kids run and jump and scream in the heat while i tap my toes in the spray of bursting water balloons, wishing for cooler days.  


tutorial: flower collar

so, i had a birthday yesterday. in honor of this new year and decade of my life (which i think should be pretty good), i give you the gift of a previously promised and overdue tutorial. i'm generous now that i'm in my thirties. 

here we go. how to make this collar (or something like it):


you need: lightweight fabric (i used shot cotton on the easter dresses and will be using it, in a different color, for the tutorial today), scissors, needle, thread, thimble. that's it. 

:: with fabric folded, cut a strip. the size varies depending on the size of flowers you want in the end, here i cut a 3" strip. keeping fabric folded, cut strip into squares. (you do not need to be exact with any of this).


:: trim the corners off the squares, making a flowery square. these "squares", with two layers each, will be used to make one flower.


:: making the individual flowers. pinch and gather first layer of "square" in the middle so it looks (wow, you're going to get tired of this word) flowery.


:: while holding the middle of the first layer secure, bring second layer to it, gather around the pinched part. move and gather fabric until it looks good.


:: stitch the flower through the pinched stem to hold it all in place. i usually run the needle and thread through four times or so, just enough that all the gathering/ruffling is secured. knot and cut thread.


::repeat many many times. you'll need a lot of these flowers.


:: attach flowers to fabric (shirt, dress or whatever you're making flowery) one at a time. if you have children who, like mine, are really good at pulling on things, you'll want to secure each flower very well with several stitches before moving to stitch on the next. this is where the thimble comes in handy. pushing that needle through again and again gets rough on the fingers. 


:: depending on the look you want, you can either pack them really tight (i did this for the easter dresses) or you can keep it a little bit looser and let each individual flower show a bit more. here i have 15 flowers. the first picture shows them tight, the second a bit looser. great either way. 

that's it! just stitch them on in the shape you want and you're done. so easy, right? just plan on spending a little time on it. it's one of those great projects to do while listening to this american life. especially act one of this episode. break-ups, phil collins and starlee kine. so good. 


also, there were some questions about the specifics of the easter dresses. unfortunately, other than the flowers (kaffee fassett shot cotton in blush) i don't know what the fabrics are, exactly. ruthie's light blue is either kona or p+b color spectrum while eve's yellow dress is a lovely cotton twill from my stash. 


once there was a peddler

crammed on the shelves, piled on the table, clutched in little hands, tucked under pillows and covering our laps... books are everywhere in our little place; freshly read, forgotten about and waiting, or being scoured for inspiration. eve studies the animal books and grabs her pens, ruth finds the illustrations of her favorite dresses then runs to the closet, charlie listens to the clack of the wooden book's turning pages and dances. the picture book inspiration is not for the kids only; occasionally there is a book that i cannot stop looking at, cannot stop reading and cannot stop thinking about. 

caps for sale is such a book. each time i pull it out - and i pull it out a lot - i am struck. not by the simple story or the giggles the peddler and naughty monkeys elicit from the girls (although these are constant and wonderful), but i am struck by the handful of bold, lovely colors chosen to tell the story. i often feel this way about books from the 40s, but this book is an exception even among its fine peers. a perfect and simple combination of bright colors, with plenty of white thrown in the mix. 

after years of staring and admiring i decided to make a quilt based solely on the palette of this fun book. the perfect solids were found, but after several months the quilt has yet to form- in my head or otherwise. in its place plans for little, simple, clothes highlighting this palette gestated and are being brought into the world just in time for the warmth that has finally arrived. 

round one: dresses for the girls.



if we can tolerate not taking in every second of the spring glory going on outside, these dresses will soon be joined by play clothes in ms. slobodkina's inspiring palette. but, as ruthie says, "we have some business too. like the monkeys. but that business is outside. ya, playground business." 



today is tuesday.

today i am doing the laundry. 


ruth is being "mama bear".


charlie just wants to be held. 


chip is on a business trip. 


and eve bowled a 36 on her class field trip. highest score in the group. 


not a bad day. 

. . .

thank you, all, for the easter dress love! to those who asked, if i can get myself to speed up and focus a bit, i plan to put some sort of instructional for the flower neckline together soon(ish). you'll like it, it's time consuming but fairly simple. 


easter dresses '09


church, new dresses, singing, family, cherry blossoms, food, egg hunts, baby brothers, sunshine and wind. easter was wonderful. and with eve now teaching ruth how to dance the merengue, our spring break is off to a hilarious start.


three days

as the girls wait impatiently for the first easter egg hunt of the weekend i'm realizing that i have only three more days to scramble in hopes of being mostly prepared for our easter celebration. 

the onion skins have been collected and the turmeric on hand. a trip to the market for eggs and red cabbage and i'll be ready for our annual egg dyeing.

a few possible prototypes for the dresses have been made and scrapped for another time. a little too complicated for now. the simpler versions (only the tiniest bit more complicated than last year's ) need to be cut and assembled and the girls convinced that the color i have chosen for each of them is just right (this might be impossible).

the books are ready to give, including creature which is enormous, but so beautiful. the girls will eat it up. with a full week of vacation ahead of us the "baskets" (which, i'll be honest will probably end up being paper sacks) will be filled with materials for projects: shrinky dinks, unpainted wood people and dowels for fairies and wands, origami paper for mini airplanes, ribbons for eve to keep practicing her braiding, plaster of paris, crayons, coloring books, and, if i can find some really colorful kinds; wigs. a little bit creepy? yes, but i think it's time. 

i'm kicking myself for forgetting to get a lamb cake mold yet again. next year. for this weekend, a regular cake it is. with some embellishments; the girls are calling for edible bird's nests, gummy worms and a chocolate animal or two. it's going to be something. 

now, if i can get the girls to play nicely, stop obsessing about death and "bad guys in our world" we just might be able to have all the easter fun that i have planned in my head.  


from the archives: shoe money

one day, back when we were babies and had lived in new york for about two months, i came home from work to find a surprise on the kitchen table.

chip's parents had just come and gone for their first visit to see us in our new city. while here they outfitted their fledglings with new coats and, for chip, a pair of shoes. their sweetness and generosity compelled them to leave money behind for me, for my own pair of shoes since my working had gotten in the way of the shopping. chip's amazing presentation skills (and the flexibility of his graduate program in painting) compelled him to do this with that money left behind for me: 

these pictures carry a lot of memories- so many sweet, and a few hard- from that first year of marriage, that first year of brooklyn. but even more, they make me realize that we need more of this in our life. more making the mundane (if you can call money for shoes mundane) something special and celebratory. not overly complicated, but simple. chip is so so good at this. two pieces of paper, some ribbon and rubberbands and my return home from another day of work at an investment firm where i never felt comfortable was pure joy. so much better than a bill just lying on the table (although i certainly wouldn't have complained about that). this is what i'm after with raising my children. and with living life. making the normal, or even less-than-normal things something more. taking the time to celebrate our life. purely and simply, everyday.




unquestionably, the best part of living in this city is the people we are fortunate enough to call our friends. everyday we walk out our doors and find ourselves surrounded by some serious talent. add kindness, fun, smarts, and vision to that talent and you have some really amazing people. and amazing people do amazing things. amazing things like launch their own perfect clothing line. harvey faircloth. it has been so exciting to watch harvey come to life, to cheer from the sidelines as katie, abby and mara worked and planned and worked. when you visit their website and think to yourselves "really?" believe me when i tell you, yes. they really are that fun and great. both the girls and the clothes. welcome, harvey faircloth! i am so glad to have you around.  


april first

until this morning april 1st meant only the start of a new month to the little girls. but now. now a new world has opened up. a world of little jokes and happy pranks.  

of course, it took some explaining for eve to get that the noisy balloons flying all over as she first walked out of her room were a silly joke, something to laugh at. but by the time her milk magically turned purple as it was poured onto the cereal (thank you food coloring hidden under the cereal, please be as safe as you say you are) she was giddy with the april fool's fun. cries for "more! more april fools tricks! i wonder what's gonna be the next trick!" rang out as we shuffled her off to school. 

this is what's coming next: when eve returns home she and ruth will be greeted with a refreshing glass of undrinkable "apple juice" (lemon jell-o). i think she'll be entertained. and if she greets it with a scowl (even a five-year-old forgets over the course of a day) i know i can count on little ruth to get the joke and laugh enough for everyone until eve joins in.

happy april fool's day everyone. it has been a long time since i celebrated, and never has it been more fun than today with these little girls. i can already see the wheels turning in their little heads... for now i've got to get busy figuring out a way to make something that looks like mac n' cheese, but isn't. that would blow their minds...