February 28, 2009

Look what I made!

(Well, she is sitting on my craft table, after all!)

February 25, 2009


Remember this hat? I'm happy to report that it's still in the dress-up rotation around here. I also love that Lara now poses for the camera like a pro. It's actually sort of amazing - she is just all girl. Stereotypical, pink-loving, mirror-gazing, jewelry-fancying, makeup-curious girl. Where does it come from? Definitely not from me - I don't think, anyway. I am certainly very conscious of the aesthetics of my environment, and highly interested in design, but not in particularly gender-specific way. I am comforted by the thought that taste is an evolving concept...

February 24, 2009

Recent Happenings

Am I the only person who has an issue with Play-Doh? Lara loves this stuff, and I inwardly cringe every time she wants to play with it. I mean, on the one hand, I know I have what is probably an unusual sensory issue with touching things that are mushy or creamy (lotions are a problem, as you can imagine), so there is that. But what I really don't like is that weird smell that stays on your hands after touching Play-Doh - even after you wash them. Is it just me?

The upshot of my distaste is that Lara pretty much only plays with the stuff when someone less squeamish is around. Thanks, mommy!


On an unrelated note, I forgot to post these pictures from Misha's birthday dinner. I made a whole bunch of chocolate-dipped fruit (strawberries, raspberries, bananas, and apples), and it was a big hit with the small person. I think her face speaks for itself!

Oh, and incidentally, making chocolate-dipped fruit is really easy and delicious. It's my go-to dessert if we ever have to bring one to a potluck:

- put ten-twelve squares of dark chocolate (no more than 70%) and a tablespoon of olive oil into a non-plastic bowl
- place bowl into about half an inch of water in a pot on low-medium heat and wait for the chocolate to melt
- wash fruit and dry off any excess water (ideally, wash fruit earlier in the day so it can just dry off by itself - have you ever tried to dry a raspberry?)
- stir chocolate and olive oil, dip fruit, put fruit on wax paper to cool/harden
- don't worry if the first few come out less than attractive - they'll still taste delicious!

A few more thank-yous

My sincere gratitude to DailyCandy, for featuring me on their Philadelphia Kids site; to Candi at Dolce Chic blog for the wonderful write-up; and to the Craft Magazine blog for the link to the art smock tutorial (link under "Free Instructions" on the right)!

February 21, 2009

The Week's Flowers

Flowers - irises and green daisies

Some irises and green daisies (right? or are those not really daisies?) to brighten our apartment. I love standing in front of the flower racks and figuring out which will complement each other, don't you? This combination is particularly fortuitous, especially now that the irises have opened (I try to buy flowers as tightly closed as possible for longevity).

Martha Clip Online!

Hey everyone! Just found out that the Martha Stewart show is online! You can see the whole show here, or click through to find me in the "Cardboard Doll Furniture" clip!

February 19, 2009

Nearby Treasures

Corners - bedroom dresser

The display on our bedroom dresser. On the far left, behind our favorite wedding picture is our ketubah. In the vase are some of the dry twisted willow branches we used as centerpieces in our wedding. A Murano glass pear from our trip to Italy, behind which is a little display case with the print of Lara's feet when she was born. A first edition of Vanity Fair, held by glass bookends hand-blown by Misha's sister Alexis. Photo of San Francisco by Misha's cousin, Emily.

Corners - Lara's art wall

One of the benefits of building an art table for Lara is the large art pieces that roll of paper makes possible. I love them just tacked onto the wall, especially when the colors are so soothing. Doesn't that top one look like a whale spouting?

Corners - black and white art arrangement

The black and white grouping in the living room. A nineteenth century presentation sword from Misha's collection, below which are two pin-hole camera photos from a street vendor in Soho. A large figure study by Misha's mom, next to an antique ivory number tiles sliding puzzle.


Thank you all so, so much for the lovely comments about the show yesterday! You made my day (all the more so since otherwise I've just been lying around miserably wallowing in my viral infection). And I have to admit, with some level of egotism, that it was quite thrilling to see myself on TV!

February 17, 2009

Tune in Tomorrow!

Just wanted to remind everyone to tune in to the Martha Stewart Show tomorrow to see me in all my cardboard glory! If you go to her website, and scroll down the page a little, there is a section on the left called "Local Show Schedule," based on zip codes. Also, if you can't watch, all the shows are archives on the site itself so you can watch online. A caveat - I'm the very last guest on the show, in case you need to more precisely time how to watch :)

Also, in honor of the show, I have made my Cardboard Doll Furniture instruction booklet available for free from now on - check out the new link under "Free Instructions" on the right!

Happy Day

30 years ago this man was born.

12 years ago I met him.

5 years ago we got married.

And now every day he makes me truly happy.

Happy birthday, my love!

February 16, 2009

Lara's Doings

Guess who learned to ride a tricycle?

Misha came to pick up Lara at daycare one day and found out that she can ride all by herself! I love these discoveries. I love that she lives a small part of her life away from our eyes and has her own experiences that we don't share. It feels so grown up and independent. And at the same time so adorable - because, look at her, she's such a tiny baby still. Ahhhh...

The other day in the car she kept laughing and telling me to put my hands in my ear with a funny rising inflection. "Come on, Mommy, put your hands in your ear! Put your thumb in your ear!" Then I suddenly realized - we had just taken her to see the Sesame Street Live show where they kept trying to pump up the crowd, yelling "Put your hands in the air!" Hah! The best.

We've started telling her about how she is soon going to be a big sister, which she now is really into, but which initially prompted this exchange:

Lara: What's in your tummy?
Me: Well, actually, there's a little baby in my tummy. It's going to be your baby brother!
Lara: (looks at me with a mixture of pity, disdain, and sadness at my intellectual inferiority, then looks at her own tummy) No, Mommy, that's your belly button.

More recently, she has started to refer to "the baby in Mommy's tummy whose name is My Little Brother," but whom she thinks we should name "Lara."

February 14, 2009

Happy Valentimes Day!

That's what Lara calls it.

Valentimes Monster with Sunbunnies

This is her "funny Valentimes monster on a sick, for a present for Daddy! I love Daddy soooo much!" I threw it in with the sun bunnies* I bought yesterday - lots cuter that way, don't you think?

* That's what we call roses with this coloration around here. It started when I told Misha that in Russian, when you catch the sun with a shiny object and make a little reflected light spot on the wall, it's called a sun bunny (why is there no good word for it in English, anyway?). Then he decided that these roses look like they should be called sun bunnies too.

February 13, 2009

Thanks for all the love

Recently, there's been quite a bit of cardboard love out there in the internet! So a huge thank you to Care2, Etsy Stalker, BabyCenter, and CafeMom for featuring the Little Kitchen and the Little Washer/Dryer!

February 11, 2009

New Pillow!

Anthropologie-esque leaf pillow

Why, yes, I did totally shamelessly steal this Anthropologie design, thank you very much for asking! However, in my defense, this one turned out to be free, all made with around-the-house scraps. The back is an envelope closure (really the easiest way to do throw pillows, isn't it?), and I made and stuffed the pillow form inside as well.

February 9, 2009

The here and now

Leaf WIP

One of my recent promises to myself is to focus more on mindfulness. I am generally very drawn to the idea of fully absorbing the experiential - it's one of the reasons I really enjoy yoga (but not prenatally, as it turns out... can't wait to pick it up again). I have been intrigued by the practice of meditation, but for some reason it seems too intimidating, like something you need to first read books about before doing.

Mindfulness on the other hand? That's just lingering in the moment, living through the process, having the ability to dismiss distractions just long enough to actively capture the here and now. I can definitely do that, especially since life with children is so consistently filled with interruptions that almost any project you undertake is more process than result. You really have to be able to shift attention away from your vision of the finished product and just accept the beauty of the act of doing. Which, admittedly, is difficult, especially for the slightly more type-A accomplishment-driven folks among us.

Leaf WIP

But when it happens, when you will yourself to let it happen, the quiet delight of the everyday is enough for a happy peacefulness.

February 7, 2009

Brightening Up

I think because they are sold in the supermarket, I always forget how beautiful alstroemerias actually are. There was something about this color combination that struck my fancy. Now I'm amused that they apparently match our house, or at least our couch.

Pink and white astromerias

I always feel better when there are flowers in the house, don't you?

February 4, 2009

February 3, 2009

Cranberry Gifts

That cranberry syrup turned out so well, I decided to give some of it away. This is why I tend to save glass jars that don't have any text printed directly on them.

Cranberry syrup gift jars

Both are labeled "Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!" (Jabberwocky, of course.)

One, a hostess thank-you for my lovely mother-in-law, says "Containing a Cranberry Syrup most eminently useful for expressions of Gratitude. May also be liberally administered for the Alleviation of Bitterness from particularly tiresome days."

Another, a birthday present for a dear friend and fellow grad student, says "Containing a Cranberry Syrup most eminently useful for the judicious Celebration of Birthdays. May also be administered for any Discomforts experienced while wrestling with Victorian fiction."

Can you tell I've been spending a lot of time doing dissertation work? Soon this whole blog is going to permeated with randomly capitalized nouns.

February 2, 2009



Earl Grey tea
Banana bread baked yesterday
Cranberry syrup stewed last week