Thursday, October 27, 2011

plastic animals, two ways

Over the past few weeks I came across two projects involving plastic animal figures. In this house these toy animals are loved for what they are right now, but someday down the road, I will have older children and flocks, prides, and packs of miniature toy animals collecting dust.
When that day comes (or perhaps if I purchase my own tiny farmyard family beforehand), I am going to try both of these ideas.
The first is so simple and a really sweet and colorful way to organize a playroom. The site featured this concept- animal figures glued to the lids of glass jars and then painted in various vibrant shades. Voila! A tidy and cool way to store beads, crayons, and all sorts of supplies.
The second project I saw, was a bit more complicated, but definitely worth the extra steps. The site thesweetestoccasion explains how to create your own party animal candleholders. I just loved the golden she noted that using even the little figurines from the dollar store still resulted in a delightful, shimmering cake topper. What a truly clever idea.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween and "E.T." (but not really)

{Warning: This whole post was supposed to be about how "E.T." is such a great fall/Halloween movie and that I'd love it if it became a tradition for my little family to watch every year like "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," but that goal quickly got away from me as this post became a childhood confession instead.}

When I was seven I was obsessed with the movie version of the musical "Annie." I could not get enough of it: the music, the dance numbers, the hard-knock life. I swore up and down that movies did not get better than "Annie." It was not possible. It could not be. One of my brothers, however, told me that "E.T." (which I had not seen) beat the pants off "Annie" and I swore to him that he could not be more wrong. 

You can guess where the story goes from here.

Wanting to prove myself to be a pint-sized cinephile (and my brother to be an idiot), I went to see "E.T." with a serious agenda. Watching the movie with the rest of my family and with the unique type of stubbornness that belongs to very cranky old men (or hardheaded devotees of movie musicals) - I refused to show that the story got to me on any level: I did not laugh at E.T.'s drunken behavior, I did not express fear about the mysterious "keys" man, and I did not cry at the end when, you know... everyone cries. I sat there in my theater seat and revealed nothing. But, of course, I loved the movie. How could I not? It took everything in me to not lose it at the end of the film. While the world was falling down around me and it seemed as if everyone in the audience, including my siblings, were utterly lost in their sobs - I chocked mine down because, goddamn it, "Annie" was better. I was locked into a rightous claim and I could not get out.

Anyway, it's been 30 years and so I'll say it here. Oh my god - how beautifully done and heartbreaking is "E.T."? I'm not necessarily saying it's better than "Annie" (hello? there is not a single dance number in that Spielberg flick), but it is a really, really good movie that breaks my heart in half every time I see it.

"E.T." screenshots via Halloween Addict

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

"anything can happen on halloween"

A friend of mine did the most amazing round-up of classic Halloween commercials and television episodes including the likes of "Roseanne," "Valerie's Family," and "The Facts of Life." The playlist, titled "anything can happen on halloween," is over 7 hours of pure spooky Halloween awesomeness and it's here for you to revel in too.

black cat via ffffound!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Paper Halloween

We always seem to have a surplus of paper in the house and I'm constantly looking for ways to use and re-use it. There are so many DIY paper-based Halloween decorations out there and the internet gives you access to quite a few tutorials, making it a one stop spot for creativity.
I found the perfect set of directions for paper pumpkins at
Vivi forwarded me a link to the blog How About Orange where these intricate origami bats are featured (for those with lofty paper craft aspirations).
At the blog, simple, but perfect brown paper bag invitations and treat holders were posted.
If you have a pile of paper looking for a purpose, it is really Halloween decorations waiting to happen...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stanisław Wyspiański and children

 via wikipedia

Stanisław Wyspiański (1869-1907) was a Polish renaissance man. Poet, artist, playwright, designer of stained glass - Wyspiański did it all and did it all beautifully. I have a great appreciation for his talents, but I love his paintings of children. I'm drawn to the color, patterns, roughness, and folk-like quality of the pieces, but also how he is able to capture children in vulnerable moments of play, sleep, or reflection. His paintings feel both intimate and sweet to me. They make me happy too.

 via art mundus

 via galeria


Pez is so weird.

It is also a super popular gift from Nana in this house....a dispenser in the Easter basket, in the Christmas stocking or even just because it is a Tuesday. As a result of this prolific gifting of Pez, we (rather unfortunately) have many dispensers in one of our kitchen cabinets and it got me thinking about how long the company has been around and the sheer volume and variety of Pez heads.
Just because I actually spent the time looking at some of these things- a few links....
-The history of Pez.
-A tour of the Pez factory
-These Pez dispensers of the Prince William and Kate Middleton made me laugh aloud. They would be a perfect, silly gift for those crazed Royal Wedding enthusiasts!
-The new 2011 Halloween design
Images courtesy of and

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

lovely laundry rooms

Not too long ago I posted about my love of pretty entryways. Well, here's that companion post that features the other space I'd love to organize in my own home - the laundry room. I'm lucky enough to have a laundry area/hallway, but it looks nothing like these spaces. While mine feels like a dumping ground for dirty clothes, I love how organized, well-stocked, and crisp and clean these laundry rooms are with their white or minty-colored walls. So much promise in these spaces!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Owl Pumpkin

The plan for an afternoon creating an owl pumpkin for our porch is coming together. I have narrowed it down to three possibilities, but I can't stop smiling about those sunflower seed eyes- so I am betting he is the one for us!
I am including links to all three choices in case a pumpkin owl is in your future. The first is from and the latter two come from a beautiful carved version (with template) and some sweet owls of all sizes for your fence or rail.

Before we jump into our afternoon of pumpkin carving, I figure a few owl books would be inspiring. My choices are Good-Night, Owl! by Pat Hutchins, Little Hoot by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson.

I will wrap it all up with these owl cookies!
Now you know what my Saturday afternoon will look like.....

Friday, October 14, 2011

"Never Let Me Go"

When I read Kazuo Ishiguro's novel "Never Let Me Go" I remember I liked it, but not enough to add it to my library or even recommend it to someone else that passionately. Once I got the twist - I was over it.

On the other hand, the movie version of the book is so captivating. Knowing the plot I figured I wouldn't enjoy the film as much, but I found it so much more moving and lyrical in its melancholy and brokenhearted-ness than the actual text that I actually want to watch it again. That fact surprised me since I tend to fall into the literature purist category where the original literary story HAS to be better than the film adaptation. This movie turned that theory on its head - it's lovely to look at and the story is beautifully told - whether you've read the book or not. (Oh, and here are some film stills to entice you to rent it.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bittersweet Wreath

Bittersweet grows in abundance around here and I love the look of it. A ring of bittersweet berries or a full wreath of them on the front door is the ultimate welcome to autumn in these parts.
If bittersweet does not grow where you live, it is readily available at florists this time of year. Of course, the queen of all things crafty has a comprehensive tutorial on how to put together the perfect wreath for your entry. It is like a breath of crisp fall air every time you look at it!

LinkImages courtesy of vmolloy/flickr and

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

color block boxes

One of the consequences of forcing my poor sweet husband to paint virtually every wall (and ceiling!) in my house is that we have accumulated a tidy little stack of those paper cards of paint samples. Not wanting to throw them away (they are just so pretty and I hate to be wasteful!) I was happy to stumble upon an easy tutorial by "What About Orange" on how to turn those paper cards into cute little gift boxes. It looks like everyone wins because of my hoarding tendencies!

{Images, instructions, and inspiration courtesy of "What About Orange"}

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Missing Mousekin

I heard Mousekin's Golden House by Edna Miller for the first time at my neighborhood library's story hour when I was in kindergarten. After that, my mum bought the book for us and we read it surely hundreds of times.
It is the story of a mouse who makes a home in a discarded jack-o-lantern. It is a simple and wonderful tale and looking back now, as one review I read noted, it is a fantastic example of how nature recycles and of the life cycle of a pumpkin.
While looking for Halloween/ Autumn tales for my own kids, I was disappointed in much of the selection and my mum reminded me of Mousekin. We were both excited to share it with the kids, but, like so many great picture books from my childhood, it is out of print.
If you come across Mousekin's Golden House at your library, I strongly encourage you to check it out. The text and illustrations that Miller created are a perfect celebration of the season. It is definitely an autumn classic.

**It is a little ironic that I was/am so crazy about this book, because if a mouse moved into our jack-o-lantern, you would hear my screams from wherever you are!**

Monday, October 10, 2011

"On Discovering a Butterfly"

"On Discovering a Butterfly"
by Vladimir Nabokov

I found it and I named it, being versed
in taxonomic Latin; thus became
godfather to an insect and its first
describer – and I want no other fame.

Wide open on its pin (though fast asleep),
and safe from creeping relatives and rust,
in the secluded stronghold where we keep
type specimens it will transcend its dust.

Dark pictures, thrones, the stones that pilgrims kiss,
poems that take a thousand years to die
but ape the immortality of this
red label on a little butterfly.

“A Discovery” (December 1941); 
published as “On Discovering a Butterfly” in The New Yorker (15 May 1943)
"Hand Crochet Alpaca Butterflies" by Oeuf


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