[raiding the toy bin...]

I find that fashion inspiration can come from just about anywhere...and at anytime. But I have to say, I didn't expect it to come from Little A's toy box. Today, while working on fine motor skills, I pulled out his lacing beads. I started to make patterns on one strand, and he did the same on another. After I was finished with mine, I thought "hey, I love these colors" and then, "hey, I might actually wear this". So I put it on and what do you know, I loved it, and wore it for the rest of the day.
Who knew my craving for chunky, geometric necklaces could be satiated just by raiding my sons educational toys?! I'm not sure if it will be obvious while walking through the grocery store that I'm wearing toys around my neck but I think I'm OK with it either way. Little A sort of wanted his beads back (I might have to purchase another set for myself!) but Baby O was all about it. Talk about a necklace that you are finally OK with letting your one year old play with!


[join Cafe Mom and the...]

For a little sneak peak inside our bat cave, fly on over to Cafe Mom and take a gander. Sheri Reed of Cafe Mom was kind enough to interview and invite me to give a mini tour of our new South Pasadena apartment, and truly, I was delighted to accommodate. It was a wonderful opportunity to document moments and places in my life that I hold dear. I hope you enjoy them as well!


[we've gone giddy for...]

Our Little A is a budding mathematician (or at least that is what his very biased mother thinks) and we are more than encouraging it (hey, the arts are great and all, but any other way to make a living and we say go for it!). He's been obsessed with puzzles for quite some time and is especially fond of shapes and matching, etc. We have a lot of Montessori toys that he enjoys but I've had this idea for a geometric art puzzle that I wanted to try with him. Last summer (yes I've had this project idea stewing for far too long...seems to be the way things go around here) I went to Home Depot and had them cut a large sheet of 1/4 inch hardboard into five inch squares. Just this week I finally managed to paint them into colorful triangular shapes. I used acrylic craft paint and a sponge brush (don't use a bristle brush, it will just frustrate you).
As soon as Little A saw them, he went to town and I loved what he came up with. The amount of beautiful designs is truly endless. I have to confess that I'm having just as much fun with them as he is!
My original plan was to apply Velcro to the back of each square and then mount them onto the wall as a movable art piece (an idea I got from a friend, Amy Palmer, while living in Brooklyn. She had various shades of blue squares hung above her couch and it was true eye candy). However, once I saw the "out-of-the-box" designs that little A made, I knew these were better suited as a floor activity.

I might still hang them on the wall as a visually appealing home for them while they are not in use, but for now we are enjoying sliding them about, mixing and matching, this way and that. Talk about just the thing to do while cooped up indoors during this week of California rain storms.

*To get the sharp diagonal I took a ruler and made a pencil line from corner to corner before painting. From there I just eyed it (taking advantage of the clean line a sponge brush can give you) but if you are a perfectionist you might want to try taping it off.


[he'll fit into it...]

As part of my New Years resolutions I'm trying to reuse as many things around the house as possible. Little A is growing by leaps and bounds as of late and has been in need of a new sweater/jacket/hoodie or two. So I scoured our closets and found a few sweater vests that Jon never wears (the fit is off) but that I have always loved. As the wheels started turning, the scissors started snipping.
Being jazzed about this and ready to go, I didn't want to go out and purchase a pattern (I don't feel comfortable enough to do it without one...yet) so I went through what I already had. I came across the Finish Ottobre pattern book that I have had for some time but have been slightly intimidated by (due to a lack of visual step-by-step instructions, metric sizing and the fact that you have to somehow decipher your pattern pieces from a frenzied maze of differing, overlapping pattern lines).
It was now or never so I dove in. The pattern sizing is all in cm so I took a wild guess based on what I thought would fit Little A. I know, I know...taking a random chance isn't the best idea when you are planning on investing time, fabric, effort and more time...but I was ready to go, and ever so slightly impatient.
So after piecing together Finish pattern instructions and various discarded sweaters found around the house I ended up with a very fun yet very over sized sweater hoodie.
He still looks darling in it and when he's, oh say, five or six years old...or even older...he'll fit it perfectly. And as excited as I am for him to wear it, I certainly can wait...a very long time...for him to grow up and into it.


[Christmas 2009 round up]

For Christmas this year (or I should say this past year) Jon and I decided to exchange gifts that wouldn't cost anything. It was an exciting and delightful creative journey of suspense, surprise and serendipity.

We are going for an old school scientific/ecological environment in our living room and I've been obsessed with all things entomology as of late. Jon (who has always been an entomologist at heart) picked up on this and decided to create an insect showcase complete with butterflies, a dragonfly and a beetle. He did this by carefully selecting decorative/textured papers and then printing black insect drawings onto them. I was completely enamored when I opened the gift and from far away they actually look real (everyone thinks they are!). One of my favorite things about this gift is the story behind the shadow box frame. Because this exchange was not supposed to cost anything, Jon got creative. He found some old Euros from our 2007 Paris trip and took them in to be exchanged into US dollars. The total ended up being just the right amount for the frame. So technically it wasn't zero dollars, but I think his ingenuity makes up for it.
Jon has been asking for a painted family portrait for a little while now so I thought I'd better start working on it for his Christmas gift. I was originally going to have us all together on one canvas but I thought it might be more fun to have individual portraits scattered about the wall (which will also make it easier to add any new additions down the road).
I only managed to get Jon's completed by Christmas but I'm excited to finish up with the rest of our family. I am happy with how this turned out and really feel like I captured what I see and feel when I look him. When I walk by this painting I think, "that's my Jon". He likes it too. Win, win.

I think I like this zero dollar gift idea. Might just be doing it again next year...