February 25, 2011

Jakey's Alphabetical Doings

Lara is Bob Ross

Here is the finished work:

The story says, "Once upon a time there was a family and we were in their house. Jakey was already born but then a baby sister was in mommy's tummy. And then she came out and we played together and I played with her and tickled her for a long time. Jakey is born but he is at the grocery store. He is at the grocery store with Nancy in New York. He ate a big dinner with her and then he crawled into his bed and he slept. The end."

I love that this is apparently what my hair looks like "when you need a haircut, mommy," and that Jakey's absence from the picture is explained by his jaunt to New York to do some shopping.

(Oh, and no worries, I'm not actually pregnant. This is all wishful thinking on Lara's part!)

February 18, 2011

Mosaic Mosey

So, first of all, it was 70 degrees in Philly today. To which I have two things to say: 1) YAY!!!! and 2) wow, I guess we'll have to start paying a little more attention to the groundhog from now on, huh.

We went to Isaiah Zagar's Magic Gardens this afternoon (and incidentally, if you are anywhere near Philly and you haven't been there yet? Dude, go.). It's an overwhelming place - crazy and wonderful and so, so, so perfect for experiencing through the eyes of little kids.

We actually caught a glimpse of Mr. Zagar himself today. He was working on a section of the gardens, and gave a chuckle at seeing Jakey pointing at each and every cemented bottle, saying "Boo botta waya. Yewow botta waya. G'een botta waya. Wed botta waya."

There was something really enjoyable about being in the space while knowing that the artist was there too. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that the most impressive part of this project isn't the fact that it took 14 years to construct, or the array of symbols and poems and phrases and random bric-a-brac that somehow coheres, but that this man made this huge artwork and then happily let random kids prowl around and touch the thing. I mean, I felt a pang of annoyance when I saw that the patches I put on Lara's jeans were already torn up themselves, and that was the work of a hour or so - and certainly not anything that would be called art!

But I guess the evolution of the mosaic is part of the point of the mosaic, since parts of it must get knocked off or broken all the time. Case in point: one of my very own darling children smashed one of the plates embedded in the ground. And felt terrible, terrible, terrible about it, even as a clearly well-practiced staff member came out and calmly swept the debris into a little dustpan. Sorry, Mr. Zagar!

On an unrelated note, I love that Lara's outfit was perfectly coordinated to the surroundings.

February 16, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

We heartily embraced the day (see what I did there?), and I can now safely say that there's nothing a cookie cutter can't make cute!

February 11, 2011

Three Posts in One!

I haven't been posting much, but we've been having a ball around here! With my much needed recent kick in the pants, I've started to slowly make things - or at least to patch and mend things where needed. I'd say creativity is still on the wane, but at least I'm doing some handwork! I think it'll all come back to me in due time...

Last week, Lara and I got cracking on our ever-changing seasonal dining room display. Good-bye New Year's tree, hello Valentine's Day garland! As modeled by the lovely girl herself:

Valentines Day 2011 - 4

Also modeled by the lovely girl is a Mardi Gras mask picked out by Mr. Forty-two Roads on a recent New Orleans business trip, which she now refuses to take off and has worn to school two days in a row.

And the third thing the lovely girl is modeling is a pair of ripped up jeans with patches courtesy of yours truly. A butterfly on one knee and two hearts on the other earned me the following comment: "Oh, mom, I love this butterfly! You made a pink swirl on it just for me! But maybe you could put more patches, maybe more butterflies and flowers here too? Like Lucy has on her pants at school? And look, you made hearts - I love hearts!" So, as you can see, Lara is already a master of the compliment sandwich - a crucial management technique. Look for her next in the big chair at the board of directors meeting.

Another sign of the future? She has dropped "Mommy" and "Daddy" and has adopted "Mom" and "Dad." Why? "Because that's what big girls do, mom." Her scandalized father said, "If you call me Dad, I'm going to call you Lar." Her response? "Ok, dad." Wow!

Anyhoodle. Hey, would you like to know how we made these garlands? It was a fun, kid-friendly-ish project. And certainly a good way to use up broken crayons.

1. Gather up said crayons and sort them by color:

Valentines Day 2011 - 1

2. Lay out a long (twice the length of the garland you're hoping to have) piece of wax paper. Fold it in half, unfold it, and start working from the crease out.

3. Get out a blade or sharp implement of some kind and start crumbling up the crayons, with some kind of color scheme in mind (trust me, it comes out better-looking than just a random smattering of colors - that just ends up doing the swamp-brown-mud thing). Try as hard as you can to get the crumbles onto the wax paper and not all over the floor.

Valentines Day 2011 - 2

4. Turn your iron on the lowest setting and make sure the steam feature is off.

5. Fold the wax paper over the crayon crumbles, thus sandwiching them between the two wax paper layers.

6. Start slowly ironing the wax paper. You'll see the crayon crumbles inside start melting and puddling. You can chase the puddles around with your iron until you get pleasing results.

Valentines Day 2011 - 3

7. After you finish the whole thing, cut out your garland in whatever shape you want!

February 1, 2011

Sidestepping Salad Dressing

This may well be a time-tested trick, but I just discovered this yummy way of avoiding salad dressing and wanted to share. I threw a pretty generous amount of olive oil on a pan, good amount of salt and pepper, and a bunch of cherry tomatoes (the bigger ones halved, the smaller ones left alone). About ten minutes later, you've got what I guess ends up being a kind of oil and vinegar-ish mix - since the tomatoes are so acidic - as well as some sauteed tomatoes to throw on top of spinach leaves, broccoli, feta cheese, pine nuts - or, you know, anything else you might want to throw on there. Scrape the pan over the salad to get all the oil, tomato juice, salt, and pepper out, and then enjoy!

Salad with sauteed tomato faux-dressing