Friday, May 31, 2013


I think it is a fairly common thing to think of your college days and miss them now and again.... that appealing limbo between being a grown up and childhood- so many learning opportunities at your fingertips, meeting people from all over and the first taste of freedom for many.
 I made some of my best, most treasured friends in college. I had the chance to take all sorts of courses and had a quite a few jobs (one of which would wind up being a career path), but when I think back on the experiences I am still grateful for today- I can't help but also miss the place.

I know I am bias, but my campus was/is beautiful. I am a little ashamed to admit it, but it was the viewbook sent to me via snail mail that first sparked my interest. It just looked idyllic. Lucky for me there was/is a fantastic education attached to this place.
Sometimes I wish I lived closer to the campus so that I could see how it has changed and visit it with my kids, but other times I just like to remember it how it was 20 years ago and be happy it was/is a part of me.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

folding dresses

These dresses created from folded vintage maps at Restoration Hardware Baby & Child are quite something. That something is out of my price range, but it is also a combination of two great design elements in a nursery- vintage clothing + maps.
Looking at the finished product makes me think that if you grabbed some beautifully colored maps and tapped into your own creativity (plus had a glue gun handy for the inevitable cheating that would have to occur)- maybe you could come up with something pretty close....

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Julia Child's cat

Cats! Paris! Julia Child! Cutaways! Beautiful illustrations! Why do I not already own this book? Why I have not gifted it to myself? "Minette's Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat" by Susanna Reich and illustrated by Amy Bates tells the story of when Julia began her training as a chef at the same time that it's about Minette, the cat, who prefers mouse to anything Ms. Childs' provides it to eat. It looks sweet doesn't it?

And I would love just a collection of the sketches that went into this book. The blog, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, was able to post a number of sketches and drafts by illustrator by Amy Bates that are just amazing:

Oh, and could this be the real Minette?

Picture of Julia's Parisian kitchen, photography Paul Child 

Monday, May 27, 2013

husband and wife collaborators

Recently I've gotten more intrigued by collaborative projects. Being a teacher can sometimes feel like such soul-crushing, solitary work (the grading, the lesson planning, the writing) that I forget that with just a little bit of effort, some planning, and the right partner - I don't have to do all of it alone. Yes, it is next to impossible for anyone to help me with the grading, but co-teaching? a conference? a co-written paper? Those are all possibilities to lighten the load and make the work of work a bit more fun. Anyway, I don't think my husband is game for this kind of collaboration, but I'm taking some inspiration from some pretty amazing husband and wife teams. I'm in awe of the beauty that a team of two can create.

One of my favorites: The children's book writing and illustrating team of Alice and Martin Provensen:

They made all of this
(and Martin was apparently responsible with creating an early version of "Tony the Tiger"!) 

And oh I cannot love the songwriting team of Tom Waits and his wife Kathleen Brennan enough:

They made this
(one of the greatest albums ever - I fight you to the death on this! And you need to read how he talks about her.)

And, of course, there is Charles and Ray Eames

They made everything you want in your house right now (I have these stamps so that's a start...):

And then there are the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude:

They made the world surreal and beautiful as a very large scale experience:

Christo and Jeanne-Claude images via

Friday, May 17, 2013

blueberry jewelry


The jewelry designer Amber Mahler has a whole line of jewelry that is composed of botanical casts. The pieces she has created from parts of blueberry bushes are my favorite. Her process is briefly described on her Etsy shop, ManiDesigns, page :

The seedpods, flowers, buds and twigs in my botanical series are collected from my walks in the woods near my home. They are lost wax cast silver and gold originals of the actual flowers and branches that I gathered. This commitment to "live casting" insures that I must continually forage for or grow in my garden new material to be cast.
The beauty of the lost wax technique is that each casting is entirely unique. By pushing the boundaries of what is considered possible with this process, I have captured very detailed organic matter, I think not yet seen before in metal. Each season, sprung from the live castings, I offer a number of new and limited edition production items.
- Amber Mahler

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

oana befort

 Oana Befort is an incredibly talented illustrator who, lucky for us, has an Etsy shop. She also has a link on her site called sketchbook, lucky for me, it captures her creative process. I love seeing work in progress-whether it be the initial sketches or an inspiration board- everything about a piece of art is fascinating to me. Ms. Befort records the unfolding of her creations and it is just as beautiful as the final product.
 All images: Oana Befort

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


“Happiness is excitement that has found a settling down place, but there is always a little corner that keeps flapping around.”

E.L. Konigsburg, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Monday, May 13, 2013

lemon goodness

A great dessert for this time of year is Lemon Bars. If you are looking for something to contribute to a dinner party or brunch- this is it! They  are fairly simple to make and are the ideal combination of sweet and tart....Recipe courtesy of Allrecipes.


1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 lemons, juiced

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and golden. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice. Pour over the baked crust.
  4. Bake for an additional 20 minutes in the preheated oven. The bars will firm up as they cool. For a festive tray, make another pan using limes instead of lemons and adding a drop of green food coloring to give a very pale green. After both pans have cooled, cut into uniform 2 inch squares and arrange in a checker board fashion.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

An Herb Garden for Spring

Forest & Kim Starr [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

An herb garden is that most wonderful combination of things: beautiful, delicious, sustainable and affordable. After years of avoiding recipes that called for fresh herbs because of the cost and mysterious age of those little plastic packets at the grocery store, I have an herb garden of my own. It was originally my goal to have a completely edible garden and I planted rosemary (for height), lavender (for scent), sage (to saute with butter for pasta), golden lemon thyme (for its looks), and chives (in hope of pretty purple blooms). But my plantings looked a bit puny and weren't the vision of glorious abundance that I'd hoped for (though this will change in a few years, I hope). So, after hearing a friend speak about the value of colorful flowers for attracting pollinators, I was sold. There would be flowers and herbs side by side.

For more about herb gardening, visit or the National Gardening Association's herb page. A few tips:
  • Most herbs like full sun and are perfect for container gardening
  • Plant what you'll eat (add herbs to salads, pastas, quiche--I've found those dishes do well with almost any combination of herbs)
  • Plant the herbs where they can be easily accessed if you need to grab a handful before dinner
  • Basil does well when planted with tomatoes. In hot climates it gets leggy and flowers at summer's end so I think it does better in a vegetable patch than with other herbs

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Week

Have you thanked a teacher this week? There is still time- Teacher Appreciation Week is the 6th-the 10th. Dimple Prints  has some cute free downloads (like the one above) to send in with your little one if want to express your gratitude. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

cinco de mayo garland

The blog Love +Cupcakes has a great, step-by-step DIY for this festive Pull Pinata Garland. This is an easy, fun, colorful way to spice up your Cinco de Mayo gathering!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

thirsty may

Well, let's hope so- we are shy about three inches of rain so far this year. I can't complain about the sunny days, but for the sake of our flowers, I would not mind a few sprinkles....


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